Wineskins Archive

January 21, 2014

Book Review: God-o-lo-gy by Christian George (Jan – Feb 2009)

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by Pat Lucey
January – February, 2009

God·o·lo·gy, by Christian George (Chicago:Moody, 2009)

‘We’re on the verge of an awakening, trading a kiddy pool Christianity for the deep things of God. It’s time to crank up the bulldozer–bone marrow awaits!’ (p.14)

With a flare for engaging language drawn from contemporary reference, combined with insights from the likes of A.W. Tozer and J.I. Packer, Christian George explores the current, shallow nature of Christian discipleship as he views it. George’s audience is twenty-somethings who read The Message and Christians looking to apply the Gospel more meaningfully to their lives. With humility George describes himself after Mardi Gras as ‘another dehydrated Christian sucked dry by the fangs of worldliness’ (p.17). The challenge is to engage in a deeper relationship with Christ. George does not just theorize: he offers practical ideas as to how the reader can, for example, use fasting as a method of more meaningful worship. Although abstaining from food is one option, ‘[i]n a culture that is obsessed with entertainment, a digital fast is… refreshing’. (pp.83-4)

The author admits that ‘to perfectly articulate the glory of God requires tongues we do not have.’ (p.160) Christian George makes a valiant attempt nonetheless. Such gentle, even poetic phraseology is juxtaposed with vivid, everyday imagery (‘It takes a ton of sewage to clog [God’s] septic tank’, p.120). Though written to be accessible, God·o·lo·gy is full of facts and anecdotes which expose a rich intelligence. George deftly shifts from historical reference to popular imagery. Take ‘Chocolate for the soul,’ in which section the history of chocolate leads to an image wherin worship ‘melts like M&M’s in God’s mouth.’ (p.74)

George is not fearful of difficult subjects either, such as God’s jealousy. Nor is he afraid to place quotes from The Simpsons and 24 alongside the words of Jesus Himself. Surprising titles and subheadings such as ‘Jesus Ninja’ and ‘Feng Shui Faith’ complement his unusual approach.

At times his transitions between example and analysis are abrupt or strained, such as when he compares the fermentation of chocolate beans with our need for silence so we can experience God’s holiness. George is also guilty of telling us what we ‘must’and ‘should’ do. Such urgings can be irritating, though they are balanced out by the author’s candid admissions of weakness. Not only does he confess to a love of junk food, but he also exposes his own quick temper in order to demonstrate the chasm between human nature and that of God. For the first chapter, his extensive use of imagistic language to illustrate a point was a little bit tiring, but I soon became accustomed to the author’s verbal energy.

His conversational style is engaging and comfortable, making this an easy read despite the heaviness of some of his subject matter. He also places a positive spin on the state of North American faith, claiming to have seen a revival in the last few years, an encouraging perspective whether the reader agrees with his view or not.

God·o·lo·gy is not a reference text or even a book of apologetics, but a call for greater spiritual discipline and faith. There are other books about Christianity and God, but as happens with the Bible itself, a younger generation of believers needs its own translation. If, like me, you are not a part of the age group he has in mind, take heart: with practice the twenty-something language can be understood. For the sake of this book, persevere. Not only does George have some new things to say, but he does so with refreshing enthusiasm.

Pat Lucey

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