The optic through which Fr. John Dear chooses to view the life of Jesus seems to have a curious flaw, or perhaps merely blinders:
Fr. John Dear
He was on his way to Jerusalem, where he would engage in nonviolent civil disobedience in the Temple, an act that would lead the authorities to arrest and execute him. On the mountain, in that place of solitude and beauty, God transformed him and gave him a taste of the resurrected life to come. He became the Christ he would become.
I found the first sentence provocative and the second mildly disturbing. Did Jesus "become the Christ" or was He born as the Christ? I didn't know that Jesus was not the Savior from the time of His birth, that this title was only conferred upon Him as He "earned" it or merited it. Perhaps what Fr. John meant to say here is that He was revealed to some of his disciples as the Christ. But that is not my sense of this passage. I won't go on because my Christology is not exemplary, but it just struck me as a very wrong-headed way to go about looking at Jesus.
More than that, was it "nonviolent civil disobedience" that led the authorities to arrest and execute Him? Or was it something more? Certainly one could argue that Jesus did often commit "nonviolent civil disobedience" and it caused enormous discomfort among those in charge of things. But to reduce the cause of Jesus' death to this strikes me as reducing the cause of World War I to the single event of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.
Tom at Disputations pointed out currents in the book that worked to reduce the Gospel message to one of nonviolent civil disobedience, and this seems an overt instance of it. However, I'm still in the act of synthesizing and thinking about the argument, rereading and trying to understand the focus and the fullness of what is here.
One thing I can say is that the book is worth reading for the points it brings up and for the argument that surfaces. Agree or disagree, it will get you thinking about Jesus and His life and teachings, and that in itself, regardless of whether you end up agreeing or disagreeing with Fr. Dear's arguments, is a worthwhile pursuit.