I just read the news — Robert F. Capon died last week. Capon is a bit like the Austrailian writer F.W. Boreham. If you’re not familiar with Capon or Boreham, grab a bowl and mix in C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, and a bit of Steve Brown. Capon is the kind of writer who wrote the same way that he talked. As you read, you’re not sure if it’s prose or a transcript. As an Episcopal priest and seminary professor, Capon knew a thing or two about theology. As a chef, he knew the functionality of the kitchen and the artistry of food. He wrote many books that covered both topics — so dissimilar that they seemed right when sharing chapters. Capon had the unique ability to be absurd while admitting to his apparent absurdity, which led to a rather unique take on how the gospel works — make that wants to work — in the lives of Christ followers.
His book Supper of the Lamb is perhaps his best known, but I will never be quite the same after reading The Foolishness of Preaching, where Capon gives a powerful anology about a lifeguard that, midrescue, drowns with the victim he is saving. This paints a vivid picture of Jesus as the Savior who call us to die with Him. You can read it here — I highly recommend.
By the way — I have rock pianist and growler George Baum (of the hit band Lost and Found) to thank for pointing me to Capon. In an interview, George says something like “Everyone should read something by Robert F. Capon”, to which I said “I’m one of everyone, so I will read Capon.” It was likely one of the first books I bought on a then budding Amazon dot com.
Capon lived a grace-drenched life, a grace that he regularly admitted to needing. That’s probably what made him such an effective Jesus communicator — he was well aware of how messed up he is and how good the grace of God is. I always walk away from his books with the same feeling.