Health, Money, and Love: And Why We Don't Enjoy Them Paperback – 1 Jan 1990
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About the Author
ROBERT FARRAR CAPON is the author of many works on theology, cooking, and family life. He lives on Shelter Island, New York.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In this book, Capon's opening gambit is to declare religion "no fun" (it's all creed, cult and conduct after all), and that its bailiwick is a false parallel universe, that you can make a religion of anything (especially health, money and love) and that Christianity isn't a religion. It's the end of religion because of free grace and besides, "...there is not a properly religious act in the Christian 'religion'"
"Our confessions do not earn us forgiveness: we had it all along by Jesus' gift. Our prayers do not con God into being gracious: he conned himself on the cross. Our Eucharists do not cause Jesus to show up in a place from which he was absent: he is already everywhere - in all the fullness of his reconciling work - before the service starts." And our baptisms! Oh man, our baptisms "...do not divide the world into the saved (us, inside) and the lost (them, outside)."
But I'll try to just let you turn that corner of this fertile valley yourself and not give away the punchline. You should get it from the Capon's mouth (definitely worth the ride).
But I could give you a clue on the infrastructure. Religion, you see, "...operates in a self-originated, parallel world rather than in the world as originated by God" (and as the author always reminds us, there is no ontological evil). Not only that, but the principal device by which original sin works is religion. If you think this is outrageous, read the book and see what an open and shut case it really is. Although the author's style is light, bantering, direct and engaging all at once, he doesn't say anything he says lightly. Lightfully, but not lightly.
My favorite little crosshatch is his interpretation of the Book of Job. Like his take on Luke 16, the unjust steward, I think Capon's cake that he bakes on his take is where it's at.
"But the fact is," says Capon of Job, "...it is God in person who finally confronts Job - and that Job is finally able to fall in love with God rather than with religion - is what makes all the difference."
At the beginning, everybody (Job included) is religious. As a result of Job's afflictions, he falls out of love with the system of control. He loses his religion. His so-called friends spend 34 chapters pushing religion. When God shows up, he speaks only to Job, "...because Job alone has finally gotten out of the false, parallel universe and into the real one that God himself has made." And Job is vindicated. And he gets sort of reimbursed "...just for accepting the real God of the real world rather than conjuring with the gods of the parallel universe."
"Do you see?" says the author, "Job starts out in religion, but he ends up in love...Getting rid of religion, therefore, is always the first step back to love! Given that, the love that draws everything home does all the rest."
Vintage Capon. This is the second time I've read this book, and it's much mellowed from the first time around. Highly recommended. Read it. You just might like it.
By no means is "Health, Money, and Love" a poor piece of writing. In fact, it is thoroughly entertaining. Yet, if Capon is not beating a dead horse here--the subject of Grace can never be dead no matter how woefully dealt with--then he is certainly abusing a tired one.
Don't get me wrong. One can never hear enough about God's immeasurable grace. It is just that Capon keeps recasting it in the same old tired metaphorical terms. This stuff was fresh back when he wrote "Between Noon and Three." Now it is just the same warmed-over hash.
Instead of an affair between a teacher and a student, we get an affair between a King and a servant-girl. Only this time, Capon's narrative voice is less endearingly wild and a little too defensive. This book lacks the boldness of "Between Noon and Three." It comes off a little tired and even a little less certain.
I usually don't like comparing different works by the same author. I find it leads to too much personal preference and too little interaction with the text. But these two books are almost identical twins; and one clearly got the weaker genes.
I cannot recommend "Health, Money, and Love: and Why We Don't Enjoy Them." Capon has done a lot better with the same material in a different book. Get "Between Noon and Three" instead.
It's fun, but also more than a little unsettling.
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