In his new book Aloof, author Tony Kriz takes us on the journey of “finding a God who hides” with transparent and personal stories interweaved with great quotes, poetry, and intriguing artwork provided by artist Jonathan Case.
Right away, I knew I was going to love the book. I could relate with the raw honesty of Tony’s writing style, thoughts and questions that many of us (if we were honest) have asked ourselves:
“What are we to do with a companion who hides?”
“There are long stretches where he is wholly silent and at least a few moments where he is as loud as a hangover.”
“Sometimes I wonder if this someone, the person that this book is about, actually exists.”
Tony talks about the struggle of performing busy Christian duties in the hopes of getting God’s attention. Our exhausting business often results in a God that must be “to busy to bother” with us. This aloofness, he says, is “leading to an unprecedented exodus out of churches . . . It is causing faith famine.”
He makes sure to point out that many have acquired a skewed theology along the way – perhaps maybe it’s not God who is standing at a distance. “There is an over obsession with seeing the ways of God in terms of people just like me . . . no matter how much interpretative gymnastics those beliefs require,” he suggests. In fact, he even points out that many of us are probably quite content with God being silent and not interrupting our world and plans.
One of my favorite chapters in the book explores the disservice to God and His image that is often exemplified in some of our churches. He talks about the conjuring up of “God’s presence” at our gatherings. We fill our “church calendars with well fashioned outreaches, elaborate programs, and improved mechanisms for entertainment,” Kriz offers. And then he knocks it out of the park: “If God is real, maybe the mechanisms of spiritual longing already exist all around us. Now if we could only be attune to it.” He ends the chapter by heralding a much needed axiom: “what would happen if we just lived so that we were prayerfully prepared to be WITH (my emphasis) people in the God-longing moments that seem to happen all to regularly in this broken and hurting world?” Once again, he shares from his own story and encourages us to “live in their space” and “walk the rhythms of their world.” God’s presence should be seen by the way we live, sacrifice and love!
There is a wealth of intriguing questions and spiritual advice on every page. Some of the greatest encouragement I gained from the book came from the “betrothal discussion” between Tony and his friend Josh – look it up! If you want to be challenged beyond the “lovely little tight answers” to life’s eternal questions and want to embrace the mystery of a God who is challenging to comprehend but altogether loving, do not wait – pick up your own copy of the book this week! I received this book for free from publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange of my honest opinion.