Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
By David Gregory
Random House Large Print, (July 12, 2005)
Genre: Christian Fiction
In Dinner With a Perfect Stranger, David Gregory relates the story of two men sharing a meal. The point of interest is knowing that one man believes he is Jesus. What will the other man think by the time the evening is through? The conversation begins, as one could imagine, scratching the dry hard surface of skepticism and doubt, but gently and persistently goes deeper and deeper, spiraling in from that starting point until they are eventually talking about the true stuff of life; the career drifting off-track, the marriage experiencing its own kind of strain, the life being lived where the philosophical questions of youth have given way to simply coping with modern day-to-day living.
Gregory's book is a refreshing reminder of what evangelical Christianity is at its very best -- a faith enlivened by the personal relationship between the Creator and the created. In the end, evangelical Christians are focused on who Jesus Christ is, and more specifically, who He is to them. Doctrinal stances, theological conundrums, questions about literal or non-literal Biblical interpretation, these are all beside the point for the certain type of Christian whose central focus is the life and person of Jesus.
In the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis touched on some of the core questions of religion, from the Christian viewpoint (is there a hell? What is heaven like, really? How can other religions be wrong, and just one be right?) Taking his cue from Lewis, Gregory does the same, realizing that questions like these come alive when they're in the context of a story, and we can be the third party, watching with interest while they are put on the table and considered. In the end, Gregory's book succeeds because of his willingness to approach interesting, hard questions like these. He is always, undoubtedly, aiming for the heart, but he realizes that to win the heart one must never forget that the mind has to come along for the ride.