Silent Savior: Daring to Believe He’s Still There
A. J. Gregory, Revell, $12.99
So how do people cope with emotional pain, disaster, loneliness, depression (not to mention, in Gregory’s case, also bulimia, problems with alcohol and males — and, she also mentions, several rejections of this manuscript by publishers!)?
The chapter-titles tell us what it’s all about: The Silent Treatment, Begging for a Miracle, The Terror of Trust, Faith: Where Is My Money-Back Guarantee?, When It Gets Too Loud To Hear, Seeing the Invisible through the Visible, When You Just Can’t Figure Things Out, He Knows, On the Road to Wonder, Glimpses of Glory.
Back to coping mechanisms when the sky falls in, but God is silent.
Fundamentalists/conservatives make it quite simple: Accept Jesus as your personal Saviour, go to church, read your Bible and ask WWJD?, pray, join a small group, read these six “sound” books (and, if they’re Pentecostals/Charismatics be baptised in the Holy Spirit and be available for God to do a miracle or three in your life).
Simplicity this side of complexity.
Liberal Christians start with one’s mind: either one searches for a rational apologetic, or God is not ‘personal’ anyway so there’s no interventionist Deity to help you: you’re on your own, perhaps with a little help from your friends.
Complexity the other side of simplicity.
Gregory prefers Buechner’s wisdom (as do I). Asked what he’d say to someone searching for God, he responds: “Pay attention. Listen to your life, and what’s going on around you.” And above all this: “What brings tears to your eyes?”
Simplicity the other side of complexity (beautiful!).
She continues: “Finding God, finding glimpses of his glory, does not always happen by following cookie-cutter religious rules … It happens when our spirits are open, when our minds are open, and when our hearts are open. I happens when we bow down to the wonder and mystery of allowing God to unveil himself before us any way he sees fit.”
I jotted down 20 other quotable concepts from this excellent little book, but I’m going to leave it there.
It’s excellent, readable, honest, passionate, sensible, and essentially true to the collective wisdom of the best (mainly Christian) saints who’ve lived with and through their pain, and got closer to God in the process.