Book Review – God-ol-o-gy

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Last month I got my copy of God-ol-o-gy, a new book by Christian George.  Things were so busy and hectic leading up to Easter that I kept putting it off, picking up the book and not being able to get far, and not really being able to wrap my head around it.

Was that a mistake.

God-ol-o-gy is a well written, fresh call to greater intimacy with Jesus and a deep exploration of one’s self in that light.  George uses a light, familiar and casual tone, yet the book is rooted in rock-solid theological thinking and Biblical truth.  The author pulls no punches when it comes to “telling it like it is” and relating life to life in Christ.

It is clear from the introduction that Christian George is a talented wordsmith; not in the tradition of a William Safire, who wields vocabulary most of us have never heard, but rather crafting the vernacular in a way that really encourages thought, and hits home with profound accuracy.  One of my favorite passages comes from Chapter 4, Showing Some Skin.  Speaking of the Incarnation, George writes:

Jesus understands what it’s like to be in our skin. He walked a mile not only in our shoes, but also in our feet.” “…He felt the rush of adrenaline and the sneeze of a cold. He suffered from fears and doubts, and maybe ingrown toenails and acid indigestion.”

Right on.  In short, God became vulnerable for us.  We should become vulnerable for Him.

George also shares my discomfort with two things prevalent in the American church: the “prosperity gospel” and cyber-churches.  “Jesus came as a person, not a pixel.” he states, as well as “ Like a dirty window, the prosperity gospel blocks an authentic view of Christ.”   He mentions that the words “hell” and “sin” are disappearing from our churches at an alarming rate. He gives sharp criticism to aspects of what the church has become, encouraging a return to the “love feasts” of the early church.  He says “…a sinless sermon is the quickest way to get a monster crowd.”

Wrap it all up with some real advice on prayer (“And if we truly believe that God is truly with us, in every room, at every moment, prayer becomes less activity and more an attitude.“), fasting (“We surrender earthly nourishment for godly grub...”) and holiness (“We are holy and fallen at the same time.“) you have a great resource for leader, worshiper and disciple alike to come to a new and fresh understanding of life in Christ.

All in all, there is a lot here.  Individual chapters deal with God’s unity, power, holiness, creativity, vulnerability, love, jealousy, wisdom, patience, mystery and eternality. There are relevant quotes from sources as diverse as Charles Spurgeon and Carl Sagan.  (the latter is one of my favorites: “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you first have to create the universe.”) There are biblical references throughout, always taking us into the Word to argue or reinforce a particular point.  There is a lot of well-thought-out advice and information.

As George tells us in Chapter 2 (Jesus Ninja), God is not a safe God.  But it’s okay at to get a little dangerous.  This book is a great resource on doing just that.