Capon is, in a word, unorthodox. As a religious writer, he lands somewhere between the religion department and the pulpit. he takes a lot of freedom in attempting to determine what Jesus really was talking about and why, and i keep expecting him to slip into the academish/nonsense talk of religion professors (in my experience) and yet he always works his way out of that.
his perpective is fresh, well thought-out, and deeply rooted in the original language of the biblical text, as well, as much scholarship. i have no doubt that he knows the bible well.
Capon starts to write about the "left-handedness" of God's use of power -- backdoorish, subtle and tricky, doing things like dying to show his power, instead of direct authoritative, thunderboltish use. and i would like to read and know more about this, but he gets away from it, in order to talk about the first set of parables - parables of the kingdom.
his thesis about the nature of the kingdom revolves around its catholicity, mystery, actuality, and hostility. i follow this far, and some of his arguements to back up this thesis are good.
at times, though, i stare in disbelief at his tinkerings. like when he takes the treasure hidden in the field, adds a barn or two to the field, calls it a farm, then says that "buying the farm" is an adage for death, so the parable really is about death. yikes!
all in all, more good than bad here. he is refreshing, challenging, and i've come to recognize that when an author makes me uncomfortable, that's a good thing. this book is not as profound as I want it to be, but has offered some nice twists on old interpretations of the parables.
"Oh dear. I hear two objections. Let me interrupt myself to deal with them. The first is: "But hold on. Doesn't Scripture say that there will be some (or even many) who will reject the reconciliation?" Of course it does. But the very hell of hell lies precisely in the fact that its inhabitants will be insisting on a perpetual rejection of an equally perpetual gift. It will be an eternal struggle to escape from the grip of a love that will never let them go. And for that everlasting stand-off, I think, there is not a word in Scripture that is too strong: not the "fire that is not quenched," not the "worm that dieth not," not the "outer darkness," not the "bottomless pit." not the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" -- and certainly not the utterly fruitless "second death".
if you'd like to discuss this book with me, or anything else really, e-mail me at email@example.com.