A book review that almost is, by the legendary Franz Bibfeldt

I’m usually annoyed when a person reviews my book even if they haven’t read it (I recently received the dreaded three-star Amazon review for Toward a Hopeful Future that consisted of the frustrating albeit kind sentence “I have not had the opportunity to read the book, but I imagine it will be one that I enjoy and learn from as I am interested in the emergent church”), but, as is generally the case with all things Franz Bibfeldt, the normal rules don’t apply. Hence the reason Franz’s review of a book he had not read — Preaching After God — is still my favorite of all the reviews:

Over the years, I have seen too many reviewers lambast books they have never read. To offset this trend, I intend to heap my praise upon, “Preaching After God: Derrida, Caputo, and the Language of Postmodern Homiletics,” written by my dear friend, Phil Snider. I may not have
read the book, but that won’t stop me from recommending it to all my
friends.

At its existential pre-essence, this book falls within the tradition of Franz Bibfeldt. Instead of giving in to the all-too-modern pressure of advancing an either/or theology, Snider has split the proverbial theological curtain in two, reuniting God-talk and real-talk, the
sacred and the secular, the analytic and the continental. He accomplishes this by providing a hermeneutics of appreciation to Derrida, who provides a hermeneutics of suspicion to everyone else. Rather than demonize all of Paul Tillich’s ‘little demons’, Snider
transforms them into his hermeneutical daemons. In the process, he blesses Athens for the sake of Jerusalem.

While many – or, at least, James K.A. Smith – are left to wonder, “Who’s afraid of post-modernism?” Phil Snider is left asking, “Who isn’t afraid of post-modernism?” Well said, Phil Snider. Well said. If you are a Mainline preacher who isn’t preaching post-modern, you
should be very afraid, because that unassuming UCC church down the
road will start preaching hermeneutical circles around you when they get their hands on this book. Even Tony Jones won’t be able to save your mainline
church from becoming another Kierkegaardian cliche. “Without risk,
faith is an impossibility.” Take the risk and read “Preaching After
God.”

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