In Ghana, it isn’t uncommon to hear many say their mother is the best cook in the world. That assertion has even found itself on to our TV screens: “My mother is the best cook in the world”. Familiar lines? It has also gained entry into our adages. To convince someone of say, the efficacy of a product, you could hear “if you haven’t tasted food from another kitchen, you think your mother cooks best”. The idea of a best cook was the imagery the cover image and title of the book TASTE AND SEE: AN INVITATION TO READ THE BIBLE, aroused in my mind piquing my enthusiasm to dig into the book right away!
The author, Annabel Robinson, in this small book calls for people who haven’t read the bible to give it a try. This in my opinion was done brilliantly well. She employs twelve historical bible narratives (5 from the OT with 7 from the NT) and masterfully weaves a concise overview of God’s covenantal redemptive plan in clear and crisp language. Very mpressive also is the matter-of-fact tone she employs in the whole narrative very reminiscent of an impartial arbiter. This in my view portrays her as a credible author who means business and won’t toy with the reader’s sentiments. So for instance she says rather expectantly; “you will no doubt have lots of questions as you read this. You are meant to.” She then goes on to suggest that skeptic readers write down any boggling questions or better still discuss them with their Christian friends for answers assuring such ones that “God welcomes honest questions” yet issuing a helpful caveat that faith does not require that we know all the answers before we believe.
This approach gives the book a very realistic feel which in my view is crucial if anyone wishes to reach a serious and thinking audience. In addition to the above observation, the author also provides very helpful subsections under every chapter where she attempts to situate all the narratives in their proper contexts while suggesting several practical applications and offering useful how-tos on growing in the Christian faith.
However let me add that I did not find every part of the book agreeable and even more frustrating were portions that were too choppy for my liking. Anyway, I guess this may be due to the fact that I am already a Christian and somewhat familiar with the bible more than the targeted readers she has in mind. Yet I am convinced this ‘flaw’ is purposive and is meant to goad the skeptic reader to actually pick up the bible to ascertain for herself the veracity of the author’s claims and to embark on further research starting with the numerous article/book suggestions the author provides at the end of every chapter for further reading in which case I think is a brilliant strategy.
On the whole I would say (while utilizing the same analogy from the start) that Annabel, unlike your typical stereotype of a doting mother who treat her children with excessive indulgence thereby spoiling them rotten on sweets and other confectionery, in a motherly manner invites her readers to feast on the banquet of scripture which does not comprise only of sweets and cereals but a wholesome balance of not so tasty vegetables and other essentials that every good mother knows is critical to the healthy development of her children.
TASTE AND SEE is a good book and I recommend it to all.