When Donkeys Talk, Book Review

When Donkeys Talk: A Quest to Rediscover the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity
by Tyler Blanski

With a medieval-style beard and an imaginary donkey for transport, Tyler Blanski wanted to recapture the mystical and wondrous qualities of Christianity often missing in our modern age.  He isn’t overly critical of trendy worship services, simply mentioning such things in passing.  Still, his desire remains to connect with the traditions of the past, for the awe andwhendonkeystalk for the liturgy.

Thus, Blanksi talks about going against the grain of feeling like we need to mimic the culture or capture the culture in worship.  Instead, he suggests we could attract Christ-seekers simply by being truly unique in our love of ancient ways—in the way we live every day knowing that God is present and active, powerful and miraculous, that donkeys can talk and the kingdom of heaven is near, yes even here.

Written with a slightly whimsical tone, Blanski’s book is essentially a spiritual memoir or journey.  It’s the conversations he has with friends over picking out Christmas trees or sharing a meal that lead to his consideration of topics like science, worship, the church calendar, the Eucharist, baptism, our covenant relationship with God and more.

His personal fascination with all things Middle Ages will perhaps leave many a reader distracted and uninterested.  Even for someone like me with a degree in British Literature and seminar work specifically on Medieval Literature, I found that some of his explanations left me more confused than when I started.

For those with a philosophical bent or a theological interest, this book will be in essence a dialogue of ideas, not to be sped through, but to be read slowly and considered over time.  For those with “old souls” and a longing for simpler days, the book will be a shared jaunt through the beliefs and histories of past eras.

Others might find it a bit jarring–the words he chooses to use, the explanations dependent on so much astrology, the way he chooses to call covenants with God “deep magic,” and the creation (in C.S. Lewis style) of an allegorical “Atomland,” where materialism and science rule the day.

Regardless, the author’s passion is clear.  He wants to live the Christian life wholly and with commitment, not boxing up religion into a cramped corner of his soul without it infringing too much on the rest of his life.  The subtitle says it well.  This is his “quest to rediscover the mystery and wonder of Christianity.”  It is what he terms a “holy renaissance.”

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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