Transcript of that screenshot of the Preface:
I write this out of love for my readers—who are of many faiths, or none—and out of a love of the biblical stories that I see so often mangled and misused in our culture, the very stories I’ve spent my life writing into my own fiction. And I'm writing this because many readers have asked me for it. My hope is that this book will be healing to some and illuminating to others, that it will help peel away destructive ideas and prejudices that have barnacled themselves onto modern Christianity and unearth first- and second-century contexts that help us see and understand biblical passages in a very different light. We can be the church that gives sanctuary or the church that kills. May this small act of recovery aid those who yearn for that sanctuary.
The project of making this book is one I have pursued in fear and trembling, knowing well that I am dancing with sacred texts in my hands. I will share a lot of historical and linguistic research along the way—in this, I stand on the shoulders of giants, indebted to many researchers. Among such a crowd of witnesses, I hope I will run the race well.
But this book is not a dry list of dates and dictionary entries. This is not an annotated bibliography, though I will certainly point to toward many exciting things to read. But this book is more of a story—a story about people forgotten, and about ideas forgotten and unforgotten. It is a story about who we are or who we might be, those of us who say, “Yes,” when a rabbi two thousand years ago says, “Follow me.” So I will offer much of this teaching in the form of stories. Stories are messy and imprecise, but they are the tool our Teacher used; the good story—the “euangelion”—is the core of the Christian faith; and living this faith consists of emulating a man we first met in a story. Stories are the best tool I have available to me. I hope you will read with openness and compassion. If you have been wounded and hurt by the church, may this book be a balm for your wounds. If you are currently in the church and feel alone, may this book let you know you are not. If you are leading a church, may this book give you food for thought, whether some of it is new to you or a refresher. I offer it to you in love.