"Are there bushes burning all around us all the time, but we are too distracted to notice? Am I asleep to the God who is right here, right now?"
~ Mike Erre
This is one disturbing book. And I mean that in the best of ways. It shook me a little, and it made me look at things again that I had been ignoring.
Mike Erre is pointing us to the God who spoke about Holy Ground and the Gates of Heaven, where the humans thought that it was all just "plain" earth and sky. The God who told us we must worship in spirit and in truth, who definitively moved the debate right away from what we could control- our outsides and appearances and locations.
The God who told us that citizenship in the Kingdom is a free gift that costs us everything.
And who described that Kingdom in terms of "smallness and hiddenness" and yet established it to over turn all the orders of the world.
A God who says that His strength lies in our own weakness, and when we are frail he is mighty to save.
A God who allows desperation, instead of shielding us from it, and who draws faith out of that.
A God who is reliable- we can trust Him with everything, but who is never predictable.
A God who is everywhere present and always with you, but who allows lengthy stretches where you will feel nothing but empty and dry.
He is a God of truth and paradox and mystery and whimsy. And we need Him desperately.
Thank you David C Cook for my review copy of this book. It is well worth your time.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Cor. 4:7
Has our Christianity become a substitute for real, vital, biblical faith? Being uncomfortable with not being able to see, understand, or perceive God, we make Him controllable, understandable, predictable. Erre wants to reintroduce wonder, awe, and mystery into biblical faith.
He has divided the book into three sections. The first is on the nature of God. Erre says that the norm for the Christian experience is that God is hidden. There is an excellent exploration of why we don't see or feel God's presence - the why of it. We also need to realize that God reveals Himself sometimes in the most unexpected places and ways.
He next examines the nature of faith and why it is difficult for us. It requires surrender and acceptance of mystery and tension. Third is a look at the nature of a faith-filled life. It is a new way of seeing, a waking up to His presence and work all around us. It takes practice.
I am impressed with Erre's book. It is a thought provoking look at Christian faith, including my own. Erre asks us, "Do you want Christianity to alleviate mystery, paradox, and tension, or amplify it? Do you see Christianity as a call to comfortable security or to an unpredictable life?" Those are penetrating questions.
I appreciate Erre's teaching on several passages of Scripture. His look at Matthew 6 is enlightening. "Jesus' answer wasn't that bad things won't happen; but instead that if you treasure the kingdom, it won't matter if they do." Wow. That really puts a different light on that whole passage.
Here is another insight from Erre's look at 1 Corinthians 10:13. "God is all about giving us more than we can handle so that we'll actually have to trust Him."
This book will shake up your concept of God and faith, I think, as it did mine. Erre's teaching is not your typical Sunday morning sermon. He calls us to return to a God unpredictable, uncontrollable, full of mystery and worthy of worship.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.