Pronunciation Guide

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When you think of “Father God”, what images come to mind? --- a review

When you think of “Father God”, what images come to mind?

a review of “God Distorted”, by John Bishop
written by Angie Grigaliunas

…Where do I even begin with this book?

Well, I’ve had it since June…and though I glanced through it a few times, I mostly avoided it. Why I was avoiding it…I’m not exactly sure. I guess because I was afraid of it --- because I know my view of God is distorted. I’ve known for years, and I have always felt so helpless to fix it. I know my relationship with my father has hugely impacted my relationship with God. That’s why, the instant I saw the title of this book and what it was about, I knew I had to read it. I knew it was for me. So I eagerly requested it…and then let it sit in my desk for over two months.

Why I picked it up today, I don’t really know; it just felt like it was time.

The basic premise of this book, repeated several times throughout, is a quote from A. W. Tozer: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I believe that to be true; I have seen it reflected in the lives of people around me…and mostly, in myself. My default view of God is one of an angry, irritated God who sees me as an inconvenience --- if he bothers to feel anything toward me at all. And even as I write this, I see my father in it. …So, again…exactly the book for me.

The book is divided into four parts: Our Perception, God’s Perfection, Our Reflection, and My Progression. I like this layout, and I think it really works well for the subject matter.

With raw authenticity, John first the story of his childhood and his different fathers [so sad], and how each impacted his view of himself and his view of God. Then he goes through eight different common father-types, identifying the primary wounds inflicted, and the behavioral patterns that often take root in the broken heart of the child. While I really liked that, and found it very interesting, it was also slightly frustrating. Not because of anything in the book itself --- but because I have never been able to pinpoint myself or understand why I believe the way I do when there seems to be no cause. For instance, there is no abuse in my past; yet, like someone who has experienced abuse, I find myself convinced that God is harsh and mean and will hurt me for no reason. I was never really blamed for anything either, yet I see God as pointing his finger at me, waiting to dole out punishment. …But ultimately, all of that finds its root in fear…which is definitely the biggest struggle for me when it comes to God.

The second part walks through different aspects of God --- each of which speaks to the eight father-types. I probably cried the most through that part! The third section calls us to return home to God, forgive and accept forgiveness, how to fight for restoration, and choosing to allow God to turn the bad into good. The fourth part walks you through some rather intensive questions, relating to each of the father-type chapters. To be honest, I didn’t read through all of the questions, because some of the father-types don’t really apply to me at all. The questions I did go through were insightful; it is funny/sad to me how difficult I often make things. Truth is right in front of me, and it is so clear…yet I continually return to the lies.

John’s honesty throughout --- about his own struggles, and the struggles he’s encountered with his son --- was both refreshing and touching. He never once tries to make excuses for himself or anyone else, but instead recognizes how his wounds have led to brokenness in many close relationships. But he doesn’t dwell on it [anymore]; he chooses to believe that God is still working everything for good. I don’t know him at all, but even in that is evidence of transformation.

I think the parts that touched me the most were when John writes about the Samaritan woman at the well, and the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Those stories are both so familiar to me, but he provided further insight --- and things I hadn’t thought about before at all. It opened my eyes to see Jesus in a new light in those passages…which truly touched my heart. The tenderness and depth of love is so evident…if you just allow yourself to see.

A part of me was hoping that by the end of the book, I’d be all fixed…but I know that that isn’t how it works. As John writes at the end of chapter 21, “We never want the process --- we only want the destination --- but it is in the process that we find God.” The trials I am facing in my life and marriage right now…they are part of the process. And in that process, and through this book, I am finding God.

This book was a deep encouragement --- one of those encouragements that you don’t fully grasp in the moment, but realize when you look back. For me, this book is not a fix-all. For someone else, it might be. But with where I am in my own walk with God…this book is another step in my journey toward seeing him as a loving Father. I’m not there yet…but I am getting closer. =)

Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is my opinion only.

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