Yeah, yeah, I know. God’s in the Bible. So why did I need to read a book that seems to state the obvious?


My attitude isn’t always the greatest when I find out what books I’ve drawn for the Patheos Book Club, lemme tell ya, and this latest one was no different.

Finding God in the Bible: What Crazy Prophets, Fickle Followers, and Dangerous Outlaws Reveal about Friendship with God, by Darren Wilson, looked like just the evangelical fare I like to avoid. It’s fine, like dark chocolate, if that’s your thing. But if you aren’t so much a fan, then…well…not. Or that’s what I thought.

As I got into it, I couldn’t help that my eyebrows raised a bit. And then I found myself eager to keep reading.

“It’s because it’s such a train wreck,” I told myself.

The train wreck, I think, lies in my own pride. The pride that makes me think that I’m better than anyone, even the guy who wrote this book that seemed, even in the first chapter or two, to be a bit outrageous and obvious. The pride of close-mindedness that keeps me from sometimes seeing the blessing that a different perspective can be, even when it’s someone who’s (gasp) not like me. The pride of busyness that keeps me from making time to properly check out a book before I say I’ll read it.

And with that, I have this to say: I have really enjoyed this book.

I had to past the fact that the Bible as God’s Word holds up to all sorts of abuse, including hack-jobs like me taking a stab at interpretation that’s nowhere close to historically accurate but that still work. Because that’s a bit of how this book is written: it’s a very modern look at the Old Testament.

I was raised to love the Bible, and it’s recently been very heavy on my heart that I need to be better about sharing the wealth of Bible stories with my children and with the kids I teach in religious education classes. It’s also been on my heart that I need to spend some time of my own with God’s Word. Not reading about it. Not considering interpretations of it. But sitting down and reading it.

And this book inspires that in me. Mission accomplished.

[I]f you read His book and understand the story He is telling, it becomes painfully obvious that He does not look at your pedigree; nor does He look at your qualifications. He looks at the very depths of your heart, and what He finds there determines the kind of call you will receive from Him.

But I think what this book sets out to do is different than what it did for me. I think it’s a laudable goal, though, and one that the Bible can do. This book sets out to make God approachable, to define him a bit so that we can see him in a more real way and even be friends with him.

To that end, Darren Wilson uses images, language, and techniques that I found startling and effective. (But I drink a lot of coffee.) He’s not out to be a Scripture scholar. He’s reading the Bible as a regular guy and then diving deeper.

This book is challenging. It’s hard to read in parts. And I think it has shifted my approach to the Bible in a good way.

The pressure is off. God has this one covered. He is with you, He is for you, and He will get you where you are supposed to go, no matter what decision you make. That doesn’t mean we aren’t to ask Him about everything. He knows timing better than anyone, and while taking a lot of wrong turns won’t keep us from our true destiny in Him, it will take us longer to get there!