Here is another fantastic reflection from Cody Gainous. 

the-supper-of-the-lamb-robert-farrar-capon-13647-MLA3050364760_082012-FI can’t remember where I first read the name Robert Farrar Capon — whether it was Mockingbird that led me to Capon or Capon that led me Mockingbird, I’m not sure. Classic chicken/egg scenario. But I can remember where I was when I heard that he had passed away. We are approaching the third anniversary of his death this September. That day, I was sitting on the couch in my tiny apartment, incidentally reading Between Noon and Three. When I put down the book and picked up my computer, the news came: Robert Capon, Who Wrote of God and Food, Dies at 87. I was smack-dab in the middle of a Capon binge. I had just spent that last few months plowing through his books as fast as I could — from the relatively popular Parables trilogy to the obscure, out-of-print ‘anti-marriage manual marriage manual’ Bed and Board. I was gripped.

It was a surprising connection, to say the least: Capon was a lifelong New Yorker; I was raised in the Southernmost tip of the South (Florida, of course, didn’t count as ‘the South’ for us). Capon was a chef; I could barely manage to boil water. Capon was an Episcopal priest; my most high-church experience would’ve been with the Southern Baptists. But somehow, I was obsessed with his writings. They spoke to me like no author I’d ever read, before or since. The way he talked about the Parables of Christ and the radical grace of St. Paul made the Scriptures come alive for me. I had found a true guide in the New York chef — a left-handed move of God if I’ve ever known one.

Capon wasn’t necessarily unique in his message — there are a few other grace gurus out there — but Capon was pretty unique in his ability to lay it all out on the line and make your jaw drop at the radical nature of God’s forgiveness. Consider one of his most famous paragraphs, from Between Noon and Three and quoted in no less a book than Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel:

The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.


You’re just not gonna find better writing on grace from anyone this side of Paul than that right there. Fr. Capon’s style is often described as outrageous or (more commonly) unorthodox. Indeed it is. His style was to proclaim, from every text he labored played in and in every situation life can bring, God’s outrageous grace that overturns all of our conceptions of fairness and orthodoxy. And it wasn’t just in how he spoke to you and I, either. Consider his prayer:

Lord, please restore to us the comfort of merit and demerit. Show us that there is at least something we can do. Tell us that at the end of the day there will at least be one redeeming card of our very own. Lord, if it is not too much to ask, send us to bed with a few shreds of self-respect upon which we can congratulate ourselves. But whatever you do, do not preach grace. Give us something to do, anything; but spare us the indignity of this indiscriminate acceptance.

The quotes just won’t quit. We could go on and on. But I write this to commend to you the writings of Father Capon, especially in celebration of the wonderful news for Capon-addicts like me that Mockingbird has its paws on some unreleased material from the man himself, along with some reissues of out-of-print books. Buy everything you can find, and devour it. And, of course, don’t go it alone. Bring friends, food, and drink along for the ride. After all, nothing less would do justice to the memory of the one who said that the greatest temporal blessing was a long evening of old friends, dark bread, good wine, and strong cheese. Grace, indeed, Mr. Capon. Grace indeed.