John Alan Turner has a way of taking something that you either didn’t know was in the Bible or wasn’t sure what in the world it had to do with your life and giving you insight to see your life more clearly through the lens of any given story (even the bizarre, wacky ones). I am pretty convinced that is John’s spiritual gift…the gift of granting insight and clarity to others.
I read through his forthcoming book, “Crazy Stories, Sane God: Lessons from the Most Unexpected Places in the Bible” and was surprised again and again just how relevant he made these stories. Whether it was a prophet calling out bears to maul taunting teens or a story about emergency circumcision John found the nuggets of truth and applicability buried in the story. The book is clever and creative but most importantly it has a real respect for scripture and its usefulness in guiding us closer to God.
When I read this book, I had just wrapped up teaching the book of Judges to our 20s & 30s ministry and I was really left scratching my head on why in the world I had decided to teach it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make it applicable, it was just that the stories were so hard to get through because they were brutal or hard to jive with the rest of scripture. It showed the people in the Bible in their rawest and most agonizingly brutal form. This book reminded me that these stories need to be taught too…that maybe the very things we so badly want to avoid teaching are the very things that need to be taught. It reminded me that we have to get over our comfort zone and be real about the Bible and not apologize for God or scripture…but let them speak for themselves and stand on their own and be able to present the stories in all their ugliness and brokeness.
So thank you John Alan Turner for having the courage to write this. Thank you for being real. Thank you for turning our attention to these often left out stories and helping us glean something beneficial from them!