I chose to read “Lazarus, Come Forth!” because I got a lot out of “Put Down Your Sword” when I read it. Dear is a man with powerful statements to make, including some biting criticisms of the Catholic Church. This book focuses on the story of Lazarus, taking it bit by bit, analyzing Jesus’ actions and John’s words very closely, to show how Christians should confront death and choose life. For Dear, Lazarus is a symbol for all of us, a dead man who needs to be resurrected, who needs to be unwrapped from his shrouds, and who needs to be an example to others. His comparative theme hits home in an era when even the Church gets behind the idea of violence as our primary strategy for conflict resolution.
This book could really infuriate a follower of the status quo, who believes that we can follow Jesus while also supporting war, tough-on-crime police actions, and the death penalty. But mad or not, it doesn’t change the seriousness and veracity of John Dear’s message.