Elizabeth-Anne Stewart (formerly Vanek) is a Chicago-based campus minister and professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University. In this wide-ranging and thought-provoking book, the author uses the lens of holy foolishness as a way of examining the life and work of Jesus, ecclesiology, and Christian community. The archetype of the fool who scorns the conventional wisdom of the world is an ancient and reliable one. Stewart is also impressed by the literature of the Russian Holy Fool, the paintings of Georges Rouault (1871-1958), and the trickster tradition in Native American spirituality.
The author begins her exploration of Jesus the Holy Fool with a look at the strange infancy narratives, the rejection of the carpenter in his hometown, the disciples as bad company, and the teacher who confounds listeners with the way of paradox. Stewart then tallies up the price of Holy Folly in Jesus' ministry the name calling and the eventual mocking of him by the religious establishment, the mob, and the secular leaders.
Stewart probes the foolishness of the Holy Spirit and the so-called intoxication of believers at Pentecost. She then uses a thought by Richard Rohr as a launch pad for her own revisioning of Catholicism: "It will be 'Holy Fools' who will lead us into a new future and the next generation church."