Sunday, June 21, 2015

God is NOT Happy (book review)

God is NOT Happy (book review)

I agreed to review this book because I was challenged by the title.  Just how could anyone speak for God, let alone categorically decide that He was “NOT Happy”? What would make someone say that? And even if the author were right, what would telling us really accomplish? Isn’t life tough enough already without having to worry about whether God was happy or not? I could just hear many saying, “Hey look, I’m not happy – why should God be any different.”

Flo Taber-Brown shares her observations very poignantly and explains her conclusion in her book, God is NOT Happy, published by Westbow Press, 2015. She takes issue with our North American (primarily the United States) culture, education, church practices, and our approach to missions as the chief causes of God’s unhappiness and she backs up her arguments for each using relevant portions of God’s own words from Scriptures. You can’t argue with that. And in fact, I did not.

Taber-Brown’s common thread that she weaves through each of her chapters as she tackles the various causes is this: fix it or God won’t keep making His leniency available for long. In fact, if He stays true to form with how He treated His chosen people in the Old Testament, He will use other ungodly political and military powers to destroy us. The only two questions that remain for Taber-Brown are “When?” and “Whom will He use?” (What nation; what power; what driving force).

As I read her book, I often found myself angry at her anger at us for just how badly we have messed things up. But perhaps that was as a result of my own feelings of guilt as I couldn’t deny the truth in many of her reflections. Her book is a quick (about 70 pages in all) and hard-hitting read. It would have benefited from more editing and that, for me at least, added to the frustration I was sensing when reading it. In addition, she speaks as a minister in her Anglican church and much of what she observes and refers to is indeed from an Anglican perspective and experience. Her recommendations as cures also come primarily from that outlook and as such, limit their application to only certain readers – as necessary as they may be.

But the hope she offers is for everyone – regardless of one’s denominational background. The author repeats what those who believe in God know to be true. In 2nd Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14, He told His chosen people, the Israelites: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The question for us to discern is whether what He told them applies to us today?  Perhaps it does or perhaps not.

For me personally, there is no chance this side of heaven that what she calls for will happen collectively, such as in a nation or continent. We’re too far gone for that. And in fact, I believe Scripture actually speaks against it when it says, “The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.” (Isaiah 24:20)

Flo Taber-Brown’s identified hope still works, however, for the individual – for you and for me.  You and I may not be able to prevent God from punishing North America, but we can prevent Him for being “unhappy” with us.  Taber-Brown tells us how.

    -- Ken B. Godevenos, , Toronto, 15/06/20  

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