I have just finished reading this book. It’s a Lent book so I am a bit ahead of myself but having recently re read all the Gospels I have realised afresh the centrality of the cross in the Christian faith.
That sounds a bit ridiculous, you’d think it would be obvious that the cross is central to our faith. But in fact we very often avert our gaze and don’t really allow ourselves to meditate or stay with the pain and defeat which was the cross or to even try to understand what was going on. We are too easily satisfied with simple formulas.
So when I read a review of this book I knew I wanted to read it. When it arrived and I read the quote on the front cover. “I defy anyone to read this book without being touched and moved to tears by the shocking love of God“, I determined inwardly (not unlike the weekly participants in the TV show ‘The Repair Shop’) that I would NOT cry!
Something about being told I would be made to cry rubbed me up the wrong way.
I found the book deeply thought-provoking, challenging, encouraging and sometimes annoying. Sam Wells is just so darn theologically clever, I can’t really explain why that irritates me (possibly a character defect on my part) but it does irritate me. And when I’m irritated my heart is definitely not engaged. So although yes I was moved and there were many brilliant examples and chapter after chapter of powerful insights I did not cry.
I thought I had made it through but then I got to the last page… I sobbed and sobbed!
Do I recommend this book? Yes wholeheartedly. But just remember that intellectual engagement will only get you so far.
God isn’t so very interested in what you think about him, he is much more interested in how much you trust him, and whether or not you can turn and tell him you love him. He is utterly desperate for that response.
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