I’m not particularly fond of writing book reviews. There have only been a handful I’ve written and shared publicly. Some, off the top of my head, were: What Good Is God? by Philip Yancey, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller (a book I heavily disliked), and now, A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd.
Mostly, when I started reading Zahnd’s book, I hated it.
Not the love-hate, like I really hate that I love this book kind of hate. No, it was more like the I really hate what he is saying kind of hate.
But that didn’t last very long.
Instead of writing up something convincing-like to explain the importance of this book, A Farewell to Mars, I thought I’d share what I was thinking as I read each chapter. Hopefully this will give you an idea as to how it greatly impacted me.
Chapter 1: “Brian Zahnd is a self-professed radical, orthodox Christian but I suggest he may in fact be a heretic. I don’t think I’m going to like this book.”
Chapter 2: “Yeah, I’m pretty positive he’s crazy. I don’t like this book … but I’m curious to see where he’s going with it.”
Chapter 3: “He has a few good points.”
Chapter 4: “I’m not sure if I hate this book … or if I love it.”
Chapter 5: “I didn’t realize just how big a deal this is. If Jesus really is what Brian Zahnd says he is, a nonviolent Messiah, then I have some serious thinking to do.”
Chapter 6: “Am I a pacifist?”
Chapter 7: “This book is messing me up. I can’t sleep.”
Chapter 8: “Everyone should read this book.”
Chapter 9: “I need to write a review.”
Much can be said of A Farewell to Mars. Some might label Zahnd unorthodox, a heretic. A pacifist, maybe. But Zahnd addresses this idea in his book:
“…I actually don’t claim the label of pacifist, and for this reason: pacifism is a political position on violence; it’s a position one could adopt apart from Jesus Christ — as for example the great writer and humanist Kurt Vonnegut did. But I am not a political pacifist. What I am is a Christian. And as a Christian we can talk about how Christ informs humanity on the subject of violence.”
I can’t say I’m willing to drink the Kool-Aid he’s selling but I was greatly moved by the book. More-so the idea that the way to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is a road of nonviolent peacemaking.
It’s a hard pill to swallow.