(My review for Facebook)
I'm aware that there's controversy, and as I was reading, there were a few places where I could see that someone might have problems. That said, I did not have problems with it. Simply put, this is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life.
This book discusses the basic structure of man's interaction with God; is it built on rules and limits and religion, on the law the demonstrates where we fall short of the ultimate goal of perfection, or is it, as the author would suggest, about a living, vital relationship with God? Is God a distant ruler aiming to strike us down for our failures, a cold and heartless judge condemning us to hell, or is it possible that God is, as John revealed in his epistle, Love, and moved by love, marked by love, in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine and that shatter our preconceptions, not only of God, but of what we are to be if we are to be called adopted sons and daughters of God?
If this book serves to call men and women into a deeper, truer relationship with their Savior, with the Lover of their Souls, with the Abba Father who loves us enough to create us knowing what it would cost... surely there is value in this book.
I know that the many tears I cried were bottled as I read, and I know that they will fertilize more rich growth in the garden God continues to cultivate in my soul.
I want to make it clear that while there are things in this book that I can't speak to theologically (the gender of God, for instance), I'm willing to dismiss them as creative license to accomplish the larger goal of giving the author a structure into which to write this discussion with God.
The core of the discussion? I have no problem with that. I can't tell you how many times I cried, but I'll tell you there was at least one time that I fell apart, sobbing, and had to wait for the tears to clear before I could continue (page 173)(I don't want to say too much lest I spoil things for those who haven't read the book).
God loves you. Desperately. God LONGS for a relationship with you... as I've seen before, "God thinks you're to DIE for." I know that's hard to wrap your mind around, and if you're asking "But what about the bad things?!"... you need to read this book.
Beloved, I've lived the bad things in life. I was raped repeatedly from the time I was 10 until I was 13. I was abused emotionally and physically by my mother and convinced myself that she couldn't love me... which meant I couldn't be loved. At all. By anyone. My father died in a car accident when I was 17. I can't have children. I've got a litany of reasons to doubt God's goodness or God's love... but I don't. I don't doubt God's love for me. I cling to it like an anchor in the storm. This book is the closest I've ever found to explaining how it is that I can find God still Good and Merciful and worth Loving (and all powerful) in the face of all the evil in this world (even in my life).
Seriously. This may be one of my new favorites EVER, and I hope to spend a good deal of time dissecting it and finding the places in Scripture that illustrate the soul-changing, life-filling, joy-giving power discussed in this tiny little read. If you haven't yet, pick this one up.