Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Skeleton in God's Closet

I don't often remember the circumstances surrounding the purchase of a book. But I do in this case.

It was my senior year in high school. I had gone to Praise Unlimited, the local Christian bookstore, to see if there was any new music in. There wasn't. Out of curiosity, I eyed the lengthy book section. I had never ventured over there before. So I decided to take the plunge.

As you can imagine, this being the early '90s, I didn't find much of interest. Lots of plaintive women stared back at me. But there was one with a provocative title: A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul Maier. Yeah, there was a woman on it, but there was a man too, digging something out of the ground. I picked it up and flipped it over to see what the back had to say.

I was floored. Basically, the back cover copy asked a tantalizing question: what if an archaeologist found something that would destroy Christianity?

I was on the fence. Should I get it? Well, a sticker from Thomas Nelson on the cover said that if I didn't like the book, I could mail it to them and get my money back. So I decided, since I couldn't find any music I liked, that I would take the plunge.

And I am so glad that I did. This book is still my all-time favorite. Dr. Maier brings his considerable scholarship to bear to make a great thriller centered around Jonathan Weber, a Harvard archaeologist who makes what seems to be the find of the century. But as they continue to work, they unearth more than they bargained for and, sure enough, their discovery threatens to tip the entire Christian faith into chaos.

Part of what I loved about this book is that Maier does an extremely good job of constructing his scenario. Weber's discovery is put together so well that you seriously wonder how Maier will get his characters out of the predicament. And he also does a great job of constructing what could happen if the foundation of Christianity was somehow ripped away.

I keep coming back to this book and re-reading it because I do enjoy it so much. Although there was a recent event that tracked so closely to the plot that I almost wrote to Dr. Maier to accuse him of being a prophet. Thankfully, that incident has been largely forgotten.

But as you can see, this book isn't all that forgettable for me. Give it a try.

So I guess my Maier binge is almost over. All I have left is More Than A Skeleton.

No comments: