Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: God Is In the Small Stuff

A Fair Trade Book

Title: God Is in the Small Stuff
Author: Bruce (Bickel) and Stan (Jantz)

Authors' web page:
Date: 1998
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
ISBN: 1-58660-489-9
Length: 250 pages
Quote: “God is in the details of your life...He cares about what you are doing.”
Yes, these two churchmen call God a “He” throughout this book. Outmoded, now that we’ve all examined the Hebrew words used to refer to God and God’s characteristics in the Bible and observed that they vary not only in gender but also in number; God is not bound to a mortal body, so God can sometimes be most like a She, an It, or a They, and, as Mary Daly has discussed at great length, God’s name of choice appears to be a verb. Yes, there will be other indications throughout this book that Bruce and Stan have done more personal witnessing than scholarly studying. Deal with it.
Bruce and Stan have, anyway, come up with some pithy epigrams, like, “Don’t worry about proving God’s existence,because no one can disprove it,” or, “Have a passion for God and compassion for people.” I like the one about, “If you think of the Bible as God’s personal letter to you, you might end up reading it as often as you  read your mail.” I don’t get as much real mail as e-mail; if the volume were equal, I might well be 3000 real letters behind...that’s approximately how many unread e-mails I had at the time of writing.
Particularly excellent thoughts are found in chapter 10, “Appreciate God’s Creation”: “Don;’t get hung up on how long ago God made the heavens and the earth. Don’t get hung up on how long it took God to make the heavens and the earth...Science is not the enemy of God, and religion is not the enemy of science.” I’d like to see more Christians challenge the claim that evolutionist theory “has the status of a fact” in real science; evolutionism is a religious dogma. Until we discover a way to compare data about the origins of life in other worlds, it will be impossible to call any belief about the origins of life scientific.
A remarkably unhelpful thought appears on page 134: “We can’t always choose the situations that life brings to us,.but we can choose the attitude we will use to face them.” If you’re ever tempted to say this, you know why: either (a) you’re visiting someone who has said it to you, or (b) you are a mean, selfish, thoughtless person who  doesn’t want to do anything to help your neighbor, so you just tell your neighbor some patronizing nonsense about his or her feelings and hope your neighbor will go away. If someone has said it to you, here’s the truth to use to smash the lie: “Fix Facts First, Feelings Follow.”For example, one fact you can probably fix that will help you to feel better right away is the one where this unhelpful person is spouting patronizing nonsense about your feelings. By walking out, hanging up the phone, having him removed from your property by the police if necessary, you can eliminate one source of unpleasant feelings right now. 
A thought that’s actually quite helpful, even if it arouses more "ouches" than laughter, appears on page 188: “The best jokes are painless and profaneless.”
If you’re looking for a fresh supply of uplifting epigrams, this book is for you. It's a Fair Trade Book; if you buy it here, by sending $5 for the book + $5 for shipping to salolianigodagewi @ yahoo, we will send $1 to Bruce & Stan or a charity of their choice. And you pay only one $5 shipping charge for as many books as fit into one package.