I love books by Andrew Greeley, and this one is no exception. It’s way out of date, copyright in 1983, and in fact can only be found used on Amazon.com, but I generally write on this blog about what I’m reading right now, and this is one book. In the scattered way in which I have read Andrew Greeley’s books, this is not too surprising.
Normally I’m a strong advocate of enjoyment in literature–read what you enjoy reading. I’m not much for standards of literary value, though there are things I would regard as destructive. But in the case of Andrew Greeley, there is a bit of an ulterior motive in my enjoyment. I believe Greeley presents the gospel in fictional form as no author author does. Now he tells a very good tale while doing so, but the gospel message–God’s implacable love–runs through these books from start to finish.
In this book, Red Cain, the central character encounters God who is swinging a cosmic baseball bat. Having had a few similar encounters with God myself, I sympathize with the lead character in practically all ways. I can tell you what such an encounter with God feels like, and I can tell you that Greeley is accurate in presenting it. He’s also accurate in presenting other people’s reactions. I personally had a larger number of supportive people and a smaller number of people who were negative, but the whole range were there.
Do I mean that this is some sort of theological work? No, though it has both a theological note and a sociological note at the end. It’s good Greeley style entertainment, with the descriptions of sexual encounters that have made people question how a priest could write them, action, suspense, superb characterization. It’s not really deep stuff as in hard to read, but I’m not one of those who favor literature that’s obscure. I like it pretty straightforward. If I didn’t like the story and characters so much, I might find a bit too much human interest rather than movement of the story for my taste, but as it is, it’s all quite manageable.
With Amazon offering copies for as little as $0.01 (plus their shipping and handling) and copies in libraries around the country, you can afford to take the time to read this. It may help you renew your commitment to God. It might even help you with the more difficult task of renewing your commitment to your family and your community, both physical and spiritual.