Wide Open Spaces (by Jim Palmer)

I first came across Jim Palmer a few months ago, when I read his excellent book 'Divine Nobodies'. As soon as I had finished it, I determined to read anything else he had written. I had to wait a few weeks for it to be available...

And now I've recently finished 'Wide Open Spaces'. In a way it's a sequel; I'm glad I read 'Divine Nobodies' first. But it also stands alone, a step further along Palmer's journey with God. He writes honestly and openly about the problems he has with organised church, with structures and programmes in Christian circles, and about many misunderstandings and confusions that seem to arise among people who genuinely wish to follow Jesus.

Palmer has a wonderful knack of telling a story, and this book is peppered with anecdotes about his life, and his family and friends. He explains, too, where his theories and ideas came from, and he frequently returns to Scripture as he shows where so many Christians seem to have got things wrong.

He does not, in any way, attack the organised church - for those who find it brings them closer to God, he has no problem with it. But, like an increasing number in the 21st century, Jim Palmer's Christian walk takes a slightly different direction.

I found the book inspiring, encouraging, and frequently thought-provoking. Purists might complain that he seems to espouse universalism, but I don't think he gets quite to that stage.

He does, however, point out the many evidences of God at work, in believers and unbelievers alike, and makes the obvious (though frequently missed) comment that if God is love, then love is, in some sense God.

Highly recommended to anyone who thinks outside the box, or who has any concerns about the state of the church today.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 14th August 2009

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