06/07/2009

God is Closer than you Think (by John Ortberg)

I do like John Ortberg's writing. I've now bought and read most of his books, and enjoyed them all, but I think this one, which I just finished reading, is probably my favourite so far.

'God is closer than you think' (subtitled: 'This can be the greatest moment of your life because this moment is the place where you can meet God') is a very encouraging, inspiring and also practical book for anyone wanting to know more of God's presence day by day. John Ortberg writes in his usual friendly style, which I greatly appreciate, with amusing (and sometimes self-deprecating) throwaway lines here and there. He throws in family anecdotes from time to time, too, making it all the more readable.

This book also covers a lot of very important issues in the Christian life. And it debunks certain popular viewpoints such as the idea that God is only interested in people doing 'spiritual' activities, or that he is mainly found in large gatherings, and/or 'worship' services. There's a useful chapter about seven different pathways to finding God. I found this most reassuring to one who finds church services, for the most part, rather dull. As I read through the chapter I was beginning to think that none of the pathways would apply to me. Then I got to the 'contemplative' pathway, and felt immediate resonance.

There are chapters about spotting God in the mundane, using a 'Where's Waldo?' motif that recurs through the book. There are chapters about what submission really means, at a deep level. There's also a chapter about why God sometimes seems far away. And much more. I read about a chapter each morning, and found them all extremely thought-provoking, encouraging, and sometimes challenging.

I'd recommend this 'God is Closer than you Think' highly to anyone interested in Christian spirituality, whether a new believer or a long-time (and perhaps somewhat jaded) follower of Jesus. This is a book I expect to return to repeatedly.

Note that there are also participants' guide books with the same title available; this review and the links given are for the book itself.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 6th July 2009

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