10/08/2012

Cabbages for the King (by Adrian Plass)

I have enjoyed everything that Adrian Plass has written, and as far as I know we have copies of all of his books on our shelves.  I like to re-read them all periodically.

I last read 'Cabbages for the King' in 2006, and enjoyed it very much. So it was more than time to get it out again - and I've re-read it over the past week or so.

The title, Plass explains, is because he thinks of himself rather like a greengrocer, offering his produce - in this case short anecdotes, poems, plays and more - to God.  And because one of the sketches in the book is about what might happen if a caricature of a charismatic prayer warrior was also a greengrocer selling cabbages to unsuspecting customers...

There are four overall sections to this book: Telling the Truth, Strength and Vulnerability, You, me and us, Redundant Rituals and Flimsy Fashions. As ever, Plass manages to dig into his own insecurities and concerns, expressed honestly and openly, and produces some very thought-provoking writing. There's gentle humour here and there, although not the laugh-aloud hilarity of the 'Sacred Diary' series; satire, some of it a bit silly, and much to ponder.

I was particularly struck, on re-reading, with the idea of 'positive graffiti' - perhaps more commonly known in the Christian world as grace.  Plass gives examples of three times that stuck in his memory when, basically, someone was unexpectedly nice to him.

It's not the profoundest of writing, not something to read at one sitting, and not necessarily even a good introduction to this author. Nor is it really of relevance to those who are not believers. But for those of us who enjoy Adrian Plass's books, and consider ourselves his brothers or sisters, well worth reading (over a few days) every few years.

Having said that, much of the humour requires an understanding of British culture and indeed the political situation of the time; it was written in 1993, so does feel a little dated in places. Not currently in print, but reasonably widely available second hand.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 10th August 2012

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