Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense
By Francis Spufford
If you like Theme Parks and fast rides you may very well like this manic excursion of Spufford’s heart and mind.
The author takes on the thinking of the New Atheists and others but not by engaging in the “God is dead debate” from a calm, rational, fact and logic perspective (which, incidentally will never work, as both Christianity and Atheism must come from faith perspectives). He tackles it from the heart wrenching depths of the human experience. He looks at God’s encounter with his life from the point of view of someone who has to go through the mire of life.
Warning: if you are offended by language, particularly a word starting with the sixth letter of the alphabet you may wish to read a book by Max Lucado instead. This word is repeated or implied often. As much as I don’t like it, it is effective because it does describe our propensity to completely foul our lives.
Spufford brings us to the foot of the cross – the God/man who not only lives our lives but takes on himself, our foulness. The image Spufford paints with his words is uncomfortable, yet profound.
The author confronts the image of the church and acknowledges that it has done itself a disservice in history. Yet also reflects on some of it wins. However, the strength of the book lies in the personal journey of the author coming to grips with the personal reality of grace in in his own mucked up life and in a mucked up world.
I have a few quibbles. Spufford glibly glosses over some important issues with a dismissive wave of his hand, such as the creation/evolution debate, same sex marriage and homosexuality. I would rather he hadn’t mentioned these as they detracted from the main thrust – and quite frankly his approach annoyed me. At another point Spufford speaks flippantly of the Kingdom as a Republic. This muddies the beautiful picture of Christ the King and the Kingdom, and also takes away from the main thrust of his un-apologia.
His writing style is manic. I described it to a friend as “Stream of Consciousness on Steroids”. I found myself rereading paragraphs and pages just to remind myself where he was going with his thought. But that may just be me.
Overall: not a book for everybody, but for those who see life as it is – warts and all, it is a great reminder of a God who steps into this walk with us and for us. It is also a challenge for those who see God as non-existent, absent or remote –Spufford’s God is none of these.