my last post I mentioned a new book written by a couple named Danny & Darci Cahill. Danny is best known as the winner of Season 8 of the United States edition of TVs The Biggest Loser. But Danny's story doesn't end, or even start there... like everyone else, Danny has a back-story that begins in childhood; his explains why he wound up so obese he could barely walk. And there are of course others in his life whose stories intersect with his, one of the most important being his wife Darci. Their book Losing Big is a double autobiography, a kind of team effort where their childhood narratives are told up until the time that they meet, and then their two stories are weaved together from that point throughout their marriage to the present. It's a very interesting way to write a book, laying out the whole tale in the third person so you never know who actually wrote the specific part you are reading. It almost has a voyeuristic flavor to it, as though you are looking at them through a window instead of having their story told to you by them personally, but it retains the flavor of having been written by the couple themselves. It is at times exciting, at times heartbreaking, and at times joyful... just like real life.
But for me, the book is a little different than it might be for you, because I am actually acquainted with Danny and Darci. And not via emails, phone calls, or interviewing them for a Web site... my wife and I know them personally, and have for several years (even before Danny went on The Biggest Loser). We sang on a church worship team with Danny playing bass. My wife taught Vacation Bible School with their daughter; my son and their son are friends. We've had a chance to interact with them socially. We already have an idea of what they are like, so when we read the book, we see it a little differently. Because we know the authors.
As a Christian, I know a lot of people who read the Bible, or at least who are familiar with parts of it. I've discussed it with people, and I've read other books discussing parts of the Bible. I've blogged about it here, of course. But there is a problem with reading the Bible: you can't truly understand what it is trying to say unless you know the author. Okay, okay, I know that pen was put to paper by Moses, David, Solomon, Paul, various disciples, and maybe a couple dozen prophets and other people, but as a Christian, I believe that the whole of the Bible was inspired by one single author, God Himself. The Bible is one one level an anthology of writings by many writers, but the whole thing is a narrative about God's redemption of humankind. That bigger story cannot be fully appreciated, or maybe even comprehended, until you become acquainted with God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ.
I perceive Losing Big differently because I know Danny and Darci (by the way, Danny does speaking engagements quite frequently, so check his calendar and you may get a chance to meet him too!). I'd like to think that I understand their book a little better because I know them, and maybe I understand them a little better because I've read the book. The Bible is the same way, and this is why prayer and personal worship times are so critical: when you know Jesus, you can understand God's Word better, and when you know the Bible, you can understand God a little better. Either without the other gives you an incomplete picture. Experience without knowledge only goes so far, and scholarship without intimacy only goes so far. Both are critical to live a balanced and successful Christian life.
Have something to say about knowing "the author" of the Bible? Do you think personal communion with God is more important than Bible study, or vice versa? Have I been name-dropping Danny too much? (I probably should tell him I've been blogging about him!) Sound off by clicking the "Comments" link below this post!