Susan Isaacs is done equating success in life with God's favor—or equating her failures with him just being a stingy sugar daddy. After discovering Monty Python in high school, Isaacs, who grew up in a conservative Lutheran home in Orange County, California, delved into the world of acting, playing minor roles while living in L.A. and New York City. Meanwhile, she dabbled in all varieties of American Protestantism, from a huge Pentecostal church to an "Orthopraxy, Dude" church led by a former drug addict to a Bel Air church where the praise band wore Abercrombie and flip flops. After several near-breakthroughs in the acting world and some painful romantic breakups, at age 40 Isaacs went through what she calls a "middle-class white girl's Dark Night of the Soul."
Despite her self-deprecation, Isaacs's story Angry Conversations with God has hit a nerve with a brand of evangelical that favors authenticity over authority and messy narrative over formulas for success. In September she will be touring with Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and the forthcoming A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. CT assistant editor Katelyn Beaty spoke with Isaacs about her new book.
A major theme of Angry Conversations with God is facing disappointments—having roles in Hollywood that ended up falling through, going to churches where the congregants were unsupportive. What made you want to write such an unhappy book?
What was important in writing the book was going through the anger and disappointment, and God loving me through the process—God showing me my part in things, grieving the parts that were genuine losses, and still being able say, "Even if the fig tree doesn't bloom and there are no cattle in the stalls," I'm still ...