Well, the last several weeks have been a whirlwind for Jamie and myself, and that has brought my blogging exploits to a standstill. I can think of no better way to get back in the groove than to write a review of one of my most recent reads, Strangers and Aliens by Trey Dunham.
Trey’s book is an interesting new approach and genre for writing. It’s a Bible commentary but it’s not like most commentaries. In the author’s words, it is an anecdotal bible commentary for people who do not like commentaries. It bounces back and forth between personal stories and reflections on the book of 1 Peter. In some ways the book is reminiscent of the NT Wright “For Everyone” series of commentaries in its use of personal story and experience as a way of understanding the context of bible passages.
Trey’s book is deviates from NT Wright’s commentaries in a number of ways. Trey is not, and does not attempt to position himself as a theologian. Strangers and Aliens as a whole walks through a myriad of life experiences for the author that show the uniqueness of individual stories and how scriptures can be a lens for understanding and unpacking one’s experiences. If someone is looking for a commentary or text with a high theology, this is probably not the book for them.
On the other hand, Trey’s book is a wonderful series of often funny reflections on how one’s life experiences can often be illustrations of timeless truths. Strangers and Aliens is sincere, heartfelt, and hilarious. If it were not categorized as a commentary, it might read as a wonderful series of short stories as the author reflects on his upbringing, life experiences, travels, and opportunities to strive to live faithfully to the Biblical text.
At its price, this book is a bargain, and for the time it takes to read it, it is a fun journey. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a book from an author who is willing to not take himself too seriously, and I am hopeful that Mr. Dunham will engage readers with future anecdotal commentaries.