"Intellectual dynamite and spiritual joy" (Rohr); "wit, clarity, depth and surprises" (Williams); "deeply moving and liberating" (Radcliffe). Perhaps James Keenan has put it most memorably: "Not since C.S. Lewis has an English Christian summoned his readers into such holy conversations." And Andrew Sullivan has spoken for the community most touched by Allison's work: "a rich resource for gay Catholics trying to reconcile their own deep and profound faith with the hostility of the hierarchy." About half of his new book deals with lesbian and gay issues, particularly in light of the the latest Vatican ukase banning gays from seminaries, and the rest with a variety of tropes central to Christian faith and life: reconciliation, the Eucharist, psychology and evil, worship in a violent world. But whatever the topic Alison turns to he writes with the edgy brilliance of a "break-in" artist who is always full of surprises.
Like its two immediately preceding volumes, Faith Beyond Resentment and On Being Liked, James Alison’s latest title collects more of his recent writings and lectures. The sub-title not only hints at James’ penchant for television crime thrillers, but also reveals something more profound about Alison’s theological reflections. The notion of ‘undergoing’ “is the corollary of the Christian claim that we are talking about a happening irrupting into and upon the world.” The Son of Man also comes like that of ‘a thief in the night’, not as a Deus ex machina but as the divine break-in which really is Good News.