Everybody has an idea of Who or What God is. Unfortunately for most people they haven’t done quite enough thinking about the question and so they have a distorted view. In his book God Distorted: How Your Earthly Father Affects Your Perception of God and Why It Matters (Multnomah Books, 2013), John Bishop addresses the problem that arises when we try to put God into the box of being just like our earthly dad, only bigger.
God is NOT just a bigger version of the father that loved you, cared for you, and taught you how to play ball. Nor is the super-sized dad that abandoned you, beat you or abused you in any way. But the mystery of God is such that it’s difficult to understand Him, and so we usually resort to comparing the seemingly unknowable God with someone that we do know, or with the concept as it happens to be defined in our own current reality. Mixing earthly reality with heavenly mystery leaves us confused. God Distorted is Bishops attempt to help us deal with some of that confusion.
Bishop shares his heart with the reader as he talks about his own life journey which includes a father who abandoned him through death, and the various father figures, good and bad, which have been present in his life. He shares about the efforts he has made, and the mistakes, in his own fathering experience.
This book has three parts. First Bishop talks about different types of fathers, the men who have contributed to our perception of God. Fathers who are absent, passive, demanding or enabling. The men who always seem to be either accusing or abusing. And even the fathers who actually do a pretty good job, but good is not the best. “Good is still not God”.
Part Two talks more about God. The father who is always there, in control, completely safe and always accepting. We do things that aren’t pleasing to God, and he’s capable of truly continuing to love us even though he doesn’t like the things we’re doing. And Part Three invites us to give up the images of Father God that we have created in favor of accepting the restoration and reconciliation from the God of Scripture.
Scripture, theology and personal experiences from the author and the people that he has interviewed combine to make this book one that you definitely want to read. And for many of us, it’s a book that we need to read and reread so that the perception that matters is the correct one.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.