Saturday, April 20, 2013

currently reading: Finding God in the Dark

Finding God in the Dark: Faith, Disappointment and the Struggle to Believe is written by Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin.  When reading my options of books to review, this one stuck out to me because I've been having many conversations lately that revolve around doubting.  I've read a few other books on similar topic and I have studied this subject on my own so I had high expectations.

This is a book I would recommend to others and will no doubt be re-reading in the future.  Kluck and Martin shared their own stories of disappointment and, I thought, were transparent with their feelings even though they had some very "unchristian" thoughts.  Kluck writes about the sorrow (and anger) over a failed adoption which seemed to be the last straw in ongoing disappointments over infertility, tight finances and an unpredictable freelance writing career.  Martin writes from the perspective of a Christian musician whose career never really took off as others did.

Other reviews I have read of this book acted as though Kluck and Martin's trials weren't difficult enough and they have given the book poor ratings as a result.  This confused me.  Perhaps this book wasn't filled with tantalizing stories, but the authors were honest about their troubles and their feelings and it seems odd to imply that their struggles weren't "hard enough" to write a book on disappointment.  I don't think we can really compare.  We all have different events that take us to our lowest point in life and these men were simply honest about theirs.

If you're looking for normal Christian niceties about how the authors are soooo godly and how they respond perfectly to all hard circumstances, this is not the book for you.  The authors are very honest about how they felt in circumstances, even when it paints them in a selfish light.  But, in my mind, that's part of what makes the authors relatable.  Over and over again I found myself nodding my head, reading bits aloud to my husband and annotating with fury.  In addition to sharing their own wisdom, both authors quoted from other theologians (e.g. C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, A.W. Tozer) and included Scripture verses as well.

The chapters alternate between authors, which could feel a bit choppy at points.  I found myself looking forward to chapter changes because I resonated with one author more than another.  I can foresee some readers being frustrated as both authors write from a (very) Reformed perspective.  If you come from a less Reformed background, be prepared for many, many references to God's sovereignty.  ;)  This could have come across as a flippant answer to disappointment and suffering (i.e. "Oh, just trust that God is sovereign and move on!"), but I really felt like the authors didn't use that as a cop-out, but continued to wrestle through the issues.

Overall, I really liked the book and am going to recommend it whenever I have the chance.  I know many people who have experienced disappointment that has left them doubting and I think this would be a good guide for them as it encouraged me in my own doubting.  Much of what Kluck and Martin wrote I had heard before, but I thought they did an exceptional job at intertwining stories, quotes and verses to make the information especially poignant.

(I posted an excerpt from the book here if you're interested)

**Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for an honest review.

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