A Review of
Lazarus, Come Forth:
How Jesus Confronts the Culture of Death and Invites us into the New Life of Peace.
John Dear, S.J.
Reviewed by Stephen Taylor.
The Rev. John Dear is no newcomer to the world of peace and justice. Many times in his life he has been arrested, mistreated, made fun of, and generally had a hard time because he does take a personal stand, based on faith in Jesus Christ, against what in this fine book he calls the culture of death.
We are not simply talking about abortion but about war, poverty, the entire structure that keeps us as passive participants in the culture of death. Our nation faces a nuclear standoff with Iran, and if anything qualifies as a culture of death, that situation is one.
In this book Rev. Dear uses the story of the raising of Lazarus as the base of his discussion. While I never contest how another reads and interprets the bible, I feel that to some extent he has stretched the story beyond the original meaning to a more inclusive meaning. In other words, Jesus made a decision to go back to Judea, where he had indeed barely escaped death, in order to raise his friend Lazarus. Yes, that is a decision to face the culture of death, very much, and Rev. Dear makes the most out of every aspect of the story.
Not only does he use Lazarus to expand and explain confrontations with cultures of death, he gives us glimpses into his own experience with law enforcement and being in jail for activism. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is also shown as one who confronts the culture of death, which we all know lead directly to his own death. Rev. Dear is very serious about the purpose of this book, and it is well worth reading.