A mailbox review of Samuel Rodriguez’s The Lamb’s Agenda:
The Lamb’s Agenda is Samuel Rodriguez’s vision for a cultural transformation of America. The vision is almost utopic: “Envision,” he writes, “a village or town or suburb or city anywhere in North America on a lazy, late Sunday morning in May,” where every beautiful flower is in bloom and every last man, woman, and child (except the hospital’s “skeleton ER crew treating the occasional bee sting or broken ankle”) is in Church worshipping God. He asks us again to “envision” the victorious march that led America to that future, a peaceful and powerful movement he refers to as “the Third Great Awakening.” The impetus that is meant to drive this movement is a combination of two historical American spirits (and Rodriquez’s personal heroes): the evangelical zeal of Billy Graham and the social activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The “Lamb’s agenda” is an analogy within an analogy, like an awkwardly designed set of Russian nesting dolls, or perhaps the same piece from three identical sets of nesting dolls. The “agenda,” alluding to the better-known “agendas” of the Donkey and the Elephant, is restated as a cruciform relationship (unoriginal to Rodriguez). The cross, then, also serves as an analogy for the Church’s corresponding relationships to God (vertical arms, Graham) and man (horizontal arms, King). The book essentially reads as a repetition of one or several of these analogies, favoring reiterated platitudes to the development of a sophisticated thesis.
The Lamb’s Agenda is ultimately a disappointment. Readers can find more thorough and satisfying versions of the cruciform scheme in the work of Rosenstock-Huessy or, of course, John’s epistles. As for the visionary thesis, it reads as a kind of postmillennial vision that is awkwardly uninterested in being postmillenial and remains, as I’ve already said, sadly underdeveloped.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book gratis from the publisher, and was not required to give a favorable review.