Friday, October 22, 2010

Where is God? - Dr. John Townsend - Book Review

My first exposure to Dr. Townsend's writing was in seminary as I read the book "How People Grow" that he co-authored with Henry Cloud.  Being impressed for the most part with that book, when I got the chance to review "Where is God?", I thought it would be a good opportunity to read more of his writing. Thus far I've avoided reading all of the "Boundaries" though I have seen both Cloud & Townsend present a couple of times on that material (thus I haven't read it).

My book was provided free of charge via BookSneeze, but I am not paid for my review, and have sole authorial control over this review.

The first thing that I noticed was that similar to "How People Grow" this book rates high on readability.  It is easy to pick up, follow, and to read for long stretches.  As a reviewer, I try to read all the way through the books given to me, and read them thoroughly so I have a good feel for the materials, so readability is important.

Because I am in full time ministry, I was really hopeful for the content in this book.  It is asking a big, weighty theological question.  While many would not phrase it just like that, almost everyone of faith who has times of struggle contemplate something similar.  As a pastor with a vast collection of books and resources, I found the book didn't cover a lot of new ground for me, but that is not a negative actually.  What I really like about this book is that the material remains approachable for the average person, connecting real stories with real life in ways someone without an advanced graduate degree could absorb, learn from, and use.  While I could nit-pick a few points here and there, and would personally have gone a bit deeper, those are tiny criticisms of what is overall a very solid book.

This is a book I'll keep handy, one I'll loan out, and may even buy extra copies of to give out to those who need a pick me up of this sort.  A great book for those who are struggling with life's problems and feeling distant from God.  Probably not the book if you are looking to advance the academic world's view on theodicy.  If you don't know what theodicy means, then likely, you'll enjoy this book.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.

Book Description from the publisher:

Hard times make us look for God.
Everyone has problems. But if we could solve all our difficulties ourselves, would we ever search for God? Psychologist John Townsend says "It is actually the very unfixability of our problems and our powerlessness to bring right results that keep us asking, 'Where is God?'"

With a compelling narrative, Townsend offers new insights into the pursuit for God's help and presence. Designed to give readers hope and meaning, he divides the discussion into three parts:
* Why does a loving God allow us to experience difficulties?
* How is God active in the middle of our hard times?
* How can I find God?

With powerful stories and practical applications, Where Is God? assures readers that even when it feels as though God is absent it is his nature to be in relationship, to connect with, love, and guide us. And when we seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he shows up in ways that transform us forever.

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