James White believes that "a knowing kind of love demands that we explore what we often do not wish to explore: the complexities of our relationship with God … the complexities that threaten its very existence." That life tension also energizes this slim volume on the puzzling maze that is faith.
In one sense, White, senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, has given us a summary of spiritual heartache. He devotes sections to the primary areas where people find themselves disappointed with faith: feelings of betrayal by God, the sense of spiritual alienation, recurring doubts, our stubborn selfishness, and so on.
The scope of the book is its strength and weakness. He covers the disappointment-with-faith territory, but he never digs deeply enough in any one spot to mine the problem for all its worth.
One refreshing emphasis: White does not wallow in pain and mystery. Although there are doubts, White says, "The key is where we allow our doubts to take us." And though much cannot be clarified, "God does not want to be wholly mysterious to us. If anything, human history is the story of God making himself known to us."
All in all, he balances well both angst and hope. A life of faith, he says, is "bold living in light of our fallenness and frank embrace of the realities of a fallen world."
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Embracing the Mysterious God is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.
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James Emery White is past of Mecklenburg Community Church.1