So I just finished reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. Sharing a name with the author was a very large part of how I ended up with the CT Moore moniker. In fact, it’s also part of the reason I put off reading the book for so long. If I hadn’t, I might have made some life choices over the years a little differently.

Of course, I still had to rationalize not reading a national bestseller written by someone with the same name as me, and I did that by dismissing it as piece of light-hearted fluff – albeit clever and popular. The book, in fact, proved to be anything but fluff. Yes, it’s light-hearted, and its cleverness clearly contributed to its success, but the book wrestles with morality, philosophy, and religion on a level that many scholars and historians fail to: a human one.

The story is told exactly as the title suggests: by Christ’s childhood friend. Basically, Jesus (in heaven) decides that the world needs another gospel, and he sends an angel to earth to resurrect his childhood pal, Biff, hole him up in a hotel room, and make him write out his side of the story on hotel stationary.

What ensues is a touching tale of what Jesus did between the years of 14 and 30 – namely backpacking around Asia with Biff, learning Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Kung Fu, and Hinduism. In the process, the reader doesn’t only get a glimpse of how Jesus’ schtick wasn’t all that original, but is encouraged to reflect not on how they approach life and everyone they share in it with.

Overall, Moore demonstrates a shocking familiarity not only with the Bible, but with other major schools of thought, and in doing so, opens your eyes not so much to new modes of thinking, but old ones that underscore just how much we are all more alike than different. Simply put, reading this book may very well make you a better person. Not necessarily a smarter or more successful one, but probably a happier one.

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