Reverend Gomes’s “Scandalous Gospel”

In his new book “The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus” the Rev. Peter Gomes pushes Christians to see beyond what he says is the “domesticated” view of the Christian Lord and embrace instead the gospel message of radical good and radical justice. Gomes decries the slogan “What would Jesus do?” as superficial and self-justifying, preferring instead “What would Jesus have me do?” “Unlike Dr. Phil, [Jesus] does not dispense free advice on television,” writes Gomes, “so it falls to us to try to figure out what we ought to do in our time, with our own skills and problems, based on what we think about Jesus.” The iconoclastic Gomes is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University and the minister of Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. NEWSWEEK’s Lisa Miller spoke with him. Excerpts: