Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Finished: Knowing God

(Apparently this book requires a wide berth.)
J.I. Packer's classic book Knowing God has been sitting on my shelf for 5 years. Even though it had a nice enough cover, I just never read it and when I did read it a few months ago, it took me several months to read. You can't digest Packer too quickly (or God for that matter)--it's best to let the chapters of Knowing God simmer in your thoughts. Some of the topics he covers are well worn paths that any Christian has heard to some degree but probably not given enough consideration to such as the Christian's place as a forgiven, adopted child of God, God's role as our unflinching guide through all things, and simply the importance of knowing God more deeply. Other topics like the use of images depicting God are potentially more controversial and largely not talked about in a lot of churches and call us to look more deeply into the full implications of scripture.

Knowing God is full of wisdom and anyone reading it should have pencil in hand to underline and take notes.Throughout my reading, I felt like I was getting a fresh insight into the person of God and the relationship we are called to when we become children of the Most High God. It's nothing shabby. It requires our all and its depths are more than any of us will be able to plumb in our lifetime, which makes it all the more exciting. Here's a brief expert to give you a taste:

We are unlike the Christians of New Testament times. Our approach to life is conventional and static; theirs was not. The thought of "safety first" was not a drag on their enterprise as it is on ours. By being exuberant, unconventional and uninhibited in living by the gospel they turned their world upside down, but you could not accuse us twentieth-century Christians of doing anything like that. Why are we so different? Why, compared with them, do we appear as no more than halfway Christians? Whence comes the nervous, dithery, take-no-risks mood that mars so much of our discipleship? Why are we not free enough from fear and anxiety to allow ourselves to go full stretch in following Christ?
This may be one of the few books I re-read.

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