Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book Review: Jesus on Death Row

A small disclaimer - while I've never met Mark Osler, I do follow his blog, Osler's Razor, and he did have my brother as one of his students at Baylor Law School.

What do the life and death of Christ have to do with the way Christians approach the criminal justice system? The death penalty? More than you might think according to Mark Osler, former Detroit prosecutor and current Baylor Law professor. Far from settling for worn clich├ęs and easy answers, Osler presents a thoughtful, reflective look at the United States criminal justice system through the lens of the crucifixion of Christ in his new book Jesus on Death Row. In taking this cruciform look at how we try, convict, and punish criminals, Osler provides compelling insights into the ways Christians can bring both justice and mercy to the criminal justice system.

His insights alone are worth the price of the book, but I also see great value in exposing believers to not just the content of the book but also Osler's method. As a pastor, Osler does what I hope every believer in Jesus Christ would do, he takes the life and the teachings of Christ and applies them in a reflective manner to his daily life (not simply his devotional life). Christ's invitation to follow him is, after all, an invitation to follow him in every aspect of our lives. Believers from all types of professions would benefit from following Osler's example of allowing the life and death and resurrection of Christ to inform, question, and challenge their own professions and areas of expertise.

Not only do I encourage you to pick up and read his book, but I also encouge you to think anew about your own professional life from a cruciform point of view. What difference does your faith make to the practicing of your own profession?

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