Item description for God-ol-o-gy: Because Knowing God Changes Everything by Christian George...
Overview Geared toward believers who crave to learn more about God and why it matters, a study uses humorous experiences and honest reflections to grapple with real-life issues like purpose, despair, triumph, and tragedy. Original.
Publishers Description "There's nothing worse than catatonic Christians standing still in a world of falling people." "Godology" is for those who crave to know more about God and why it matters. Think "Knowing God" meets "Celebration of Discipline, " for twenty-somethings. In each chapter, Christian George discloses a biblical reality about the nature of God, a spiritual discipline that connects us to Him, and a practical way to express our faith. Using humorous experiences and honest reflections, George grapples with real-life issues like purpose, despair, triumph, and tragedy. In an age when thinking about God can be academic and abstract, George invites you to really know God. But be warned: it will change everything.
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Studio: Moody Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.04" Width: 5.74" Height: 0.47" Weight: 0.49 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2009
Publisher Moody Publishers
ISBN 0802482554 ISBN13 9780802482556
Availability 0 units.
More About Christian George
Christian T. George is assistant professor of historical theology and curator of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.
Christian George has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Godology: Because Knowing God Changes Everything?
Godology, a book that did not need to be written Sep 27, 2009
While flipping through the opening pages, I learned that Christian George's intentions for the book were to write a version of J.I. Packer's "Knowing God" that would be easier to understand for 20 somethings and other people of the Generation Y variety.
He asks the question "do we really need another book about God?" in the introduction. His conclusion? "I think so." I agree. However, what he's really saying is "my book is another book about God, and I think we need it." He then goes on to make the bold assertion that "this isn't a safe read, but then again, God isn't a safe God."
Well, I can agree with him on that one too!
Simply put, as a member of the author's target audience, I'm insulted at how dumbed down this book was. If you're going to dare name the title of your book "Godology," you'd better back it up with some awe-inspiring words to describe the King of the universe that push me to my knees and force me to worship Him. In other words, any book titled "Godology," should have a subtitle "join with me as I give praise to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords." Instead, a reader could very easily get the impression that God is just a cool dude among other cool dudes.
Here are some examples:
1) The trinity is compared to Mardi Gras... 2) Chapter 2 is titled "Jesus Ninja," and that is used as a metaphor for God's power. 3) In what is probably the most frustrating part of the book, the chapter on God's holiness is titled "Chocolate for the Soul." It started out poorly, and continued that way for the rest of the chapter. Listen, God's holiness is meant to cause a stirring in our hearts that is comparable to Isaiah's in Isaiah 6. In his description of the holiness of God, you don't get anywhere close to that! I read this chapter first because of how much I love to read and learn about God's holiness, and it left me wanting so much more. 4) The very next chapter on God's love has the exact same problem. We are "by nature children of wrath," (Eph. 2:3), "enemies," (Romans 5:10), alienated and hostile in mind (Col. 1:21), and yet God still loves us! That's the Gospel! The Gospel drives me to worship, but I get none of that in this chapter! Instead he opens the chapter with a quote by Homer Simpson, and then he starts it out by talking about oysters. He then only paints half of the picture about the true love of God.
There were other small irritants with this book. The best piece of advice that has ever been given to me about writing is to write what needs to be written, and omit words that don't bring you directly to the point. The author has either never been told this advice, or he didn't listen. For instance, "God doesn't learn. He knows. And what does He know? Everything. Every blade of grass that grows, every grain of sand that blows. He calculates the angles of every tree and the weight of every rock. Even falling snowflakes can't hide their naked templates from His gaze." (p. 108) So, what you're saying Christian is that God knows everything, right?
Also, the disciplines aren't very necessary. I understand and can appreciate what he's trying to do... he's basically saying "because God is like this, do this." However, the application should never take as much space as the descriptions of God. Also, I am a firm believer in God's attributes driving us to behave differently. The more we learn about God, the more we will naturally be driven to act according to His will on this earth. Instead, he practically wastes our time by giving us instructions... some of which are very awkward (i.e. Labyrinth walking).
I will give credit where credit is due though. His chapter on God's wisdom is excellent. That's really as much as I can say though.
So, when it comes down to it, would I recommend this book to a friend? I'm just not sure. It depends on the friend. The author needs to change his target audience if he intends on making any impact in the lives of a believer. If there is anyone I would give this book to, it might be a new believer. I'm still trying to figure that one out though. There are plenty of other books I would recommend before this one, so only time will tell if it will ever make its way off of my bookshelf in the space between "The Prayer of Jabez," and "Left Behind."
Revisit Formal Christian Beliefs Sep 15, 2009
In our busy materialistic world where God is often pushed to the background, if you are seeking a book that will restate your beliefs in Christian thinking, Godology is the book for you. It will reconfirm many of your ideas about your immortal soul. Its author feels that the twenty-first century is entering a new Age of Faith, leaving behind the Age of Reason.
In the earliest pages of Godology, Author George states that after googling "God" and finding 564,000,000 results, he "came to the conclusion that everyone has an opinion about God." But to attempt any real study of God, a mystery far too dense to penetrate, you need to examine his being by allowing the Bible to light your way.
Godology begins this examination by having you consider God's unity. Clearly, the New Testament tells you that Jesus sent fort his apostles to baptize "in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. If God is one, how could Jesus give such a confusing command?
The point is that Jesus knew exactly what he meant. He said "in the name of" because he meant precisely--one unified named person. He did not say "in the names of," or even "in the beings of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit."
Legend claims that Saint Patrick had demonstrated the oneness of the Holy Trinity by comparing God's being to a three-leafed clover. There are three separate clover leaves joined at the base in one single plant. If you hold each petal between your fingers, you know you are not holding three plants--just one.
Godology asks you to think of yourself standing in the center of three mirrors placed triangularly around you. Now you would see yourself exactly as you are while remaining one functioning human being in the center. Like God, you are one single mind composed of three clearly separate functions: will, memory, intellect.
Many times over from a Biblical point of view, Godology's ensuing chapters discuss what can be known about what you might call God's positive qualities: creativity, holiness, love, and wisdom, mystery, eternality. These are explained in laymen's terms as I have attempted to explain the Holy Trinity above.
But the book talks about God's other qualities that to us might seem troublesome, but since we cannot begin to fathom the mind of the Almighty, we must accept them if we accept the Bible in the first place. These are: God's Vulnerability, His Jealousy. In a very realistic way, God's Patience somehow seems to balance these two.
I would recommend this book to readers of Faith who are seeking to reassert their beliefs in what they've learned about God from reading their Bibles. It might seem comforting in today's modernistic world to read Godology as if you are seeking to reaffirm the foundation of your Faith from an authoritative source. Author Christian George is a PhD student at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland.
The book is extremely easy to read. Its explanations using biblical quotes are powerful and clearly stated. At times, they might not seem as palatable as a Christian believer might want, but in the end, Author George feels they will lead you to a closer union with God.
Basic Christianity (IVP Classics)
A God-Awful Book Aug 26, 2009
A few months ago I got an email from Christian George, complimenting me on my blog and asking whether I would be willing to write a review of his book, Godology, as well as do a giveaway of the book. He described the book as "Like J.I. Packer's Knowing God but more up to date."
I have to admit I was flattered. (I suspect now, however, it was a form letter, judging by the number of blogs that have written reviews and done giveaways of this book.) I did tell him that I would need to read the book before I promoted it, so if he wanted to send a copy and the giveaways with that understanding, I would be happy to review it.
While I was in seminary taking a preaching lab, we always knew the professor was getting ready to be highly critical when he began his critique by complimenting the preacher on his clothing. Nothing good followed, "Well, [insert name of poor student here], you are wearing a great looking tie..." The reason the professor did this was because he always wanted to say something positive to the preacher. The funny thing was, he only commented on appearance when there was nothing else good to say.
In the spirit of wanting to say something complimentary, let me say that Christian George has a great vocabulary and he uses it very well. He also is scrupulous about citing sources. As we live in an age in which the Internet has made plagiarism a snap, I appreciate that about him. Having exhausted my positive comments of this stinker of a book, let me turn to its actual content.
Godology is awfully researched.
It is not immediately apparent what Godology is even about (see below), but its shallowness is very apparent. George has 132 citations. Of those, 1 is a remark a classmate made to him, 8 come from addreses or sermons he heard while in seminary, 8 are personal comments, 10 refer to websites, 5 are from magazine articles (almost always Christianity Today), and four from movies or TV shows. That still leaves 101 citations from books, which on the surface seems impressive, at least until you start paying attention. It is then that you realize that of those 101 books, 59% of the citations are from page 100 or less and 36% of them are from page 50 or less! (17% of the quotes are drawn from secondary sources. He did not even bother to look up the original statements in their contexts.)
It is not difficult to imagine George with a massive pile of books around him, sitting at a library table and flipping through a book until he finds a soundbite, then exclaiming, "Ooooo, I like that one," then placing the book down and reaching for the next. It is almost amusing then, that on page 14 he quotes Packer in observing that "Christianity in America is three thousand miles wide and one inch deep." This book is similarly shallow.
Godology is awfully written.
As I noted above, George has a great command of the English language. He writes vividly, but he writes poorly. Firstly, the book is literarily awful. He meanders. While the chapters provide some structure to the book, paragraphs, at times even sentences, have little connection to the others around it. This leaves the reader confused at times, wondering what in the world George is talking about. He also needlessly (and irritatingly) dumbs down theology. On the back cover, Chuck Colson says that George speaks "in a language that young evangelicals will access." Perhaps, but these purported evangelicals should be educated, not accommodated.
George speaks about theology using metaphors and similies, but he uses too much of a good(?) thing. They never stop. The reader quickly grows weary of them and, in my case, irritated by them. You can only take so much "God is like a hot dog." (To be fair, George never uses that particular comparison...though he does devote an entire chapter to the notion that God is like chocolate!)
That leads to the fact that the book is theologically awful (as well as dumbing it down). Beyond becoming annoying, George's endless piling on of similes and metaphors quickly becomes irreverent, unorthodox, and even blasphemous. Consider:
"Before cities were constructed or worlds created, God hung out with Himself. He was his own party." (p.18)
Admittedly, this is early on in the book, so my wrath was not yet aroused, but seriously, what is gained by likening the eternal, inter-Trinitarian fellowship to a party, especially when the party in question is the drunken observance of Mardi Gras (which gives the first chapter its name)?
Describing the Trinity, he says,
"Like a three-way mirror, each person in the Godhead satellites the other--an eternal reflection."
It hardly overstates the truth that when you say, "God is like," the next words out of your mouth are going to heterodox and probably blasphemous to boot. God is like no one and nothing. That is why God demanded through Isaiah, "To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One." (Isa. 40:25)
But beyond that, what does George mean? A reflection is not the thing being reflected, so is he a modalist? I really want to believe that he is not, but the awful comparisons continue.
"Like the Irish three-leafed clover...Like a mind, God is intellect, memory, and will--one system, but three functions. Like water, God is fluid, steam, and icicle--one substance, but three textures." (p. 19)
Sorry, but that is not remotely orthodox. The leaves of a clover are not the clover nor are the states of water, water.
George describes the outpouring of the Spirit as, "a tag team of epic proportion...He is our teleprompter...our energy drink." (p. 21)
Really? You can actually reduce the outpouring of the Spirit to something so banal, something so common?
Let me continue, Gentle Reader, with a litany of similar, irreverent and/or nonsensical quotes:
"My generation, 'the pilgrim generation,' is naturally more ecumenical because we have a universal faith at our fingertips." (p. 23)
Funny, I thought there was one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
"Glory shines, but it also bleeds...glory...had leaky veins." (p. 25)
What in the world does that mean?
"One day Christ...will parade through paradise and we will throw beads before His throne." (p. 26)
I am not sure that the well-known association of throwing Mardi Gras beads and women baring their breasts in public (whether or not it is an official Mardi Gras tradition, it certainly is a common place occurrence) makes for an apt illustration for eternal worship. Why not use the biblical language of casting our crowns before the Throne?
"Jesus Ninja" (chapter 2 title, p. 29)
Ninjas were feudal assassins and sabotouers. Again, is this really a good illustration of the person and work of Christ?
"[God] stretches His hammock from the Statue of Liberty to the Coliseum in Rome." [p. 30]
Admittedly, George is trying to use "hip" language to say things the Bible says, like, "Thus says the LORD: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?'" (Isa. 66:1) But why not just quote the Bible? Why use an image that suggests laziness, as hammocks do?
"[God is] also an anteater." (p. 31)
Uh, no he is not, and the suggestion is horrifying.
"Humans are not tall creatures, but we do worship a tall God. A venti God, if we're ordering at Starbucks." (p. 31)
Another example of trying to be cute, another example of (hopefully) inadvertent blasphemy. God is a spirit. He has no body and therefore no height. He certainly is NOTHING like a cup of coffee.
"Karl Barth, one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century..." (p. 31)
Now there is a telling comment. I do not know a conservative theologian worth his salt that would call Barth great. Significant? Yes. Has to be dealt with? Absolutely. Great. I don't think so, Tim.
"And then God spoke...From the same throat came three chords--Father, Son, and Spirit--a holy harmonic." (p. 39)
More apparent modalism.
"Showing Some Skin (chapter 4 title, p. 51)...God showed some skin in the person of Jesus Christ."(p. 55)
Here George uses a well-known euphemism for immodesty and nudity as a description of the Incarnation. Is that appropriate? No. No, it isn't.
"Nicea (modern-day Turkey)" (p.52)
Another example of poor research. Nicea is a city, not a country.
"Journaling is a celebration of the incarnation." [sic] (p. 55, he makes a similar remark on page 57)
It is? How? He does not explain these odd remarks.
"A rugged, earthy form of Christianity is spreading through our culture--a new monasticism." (p. 57)
George seems to have a deep love for medieval Catholicism. More on this later.
"God...flickered to earth as a 100 watt Nazareth bulb...God-with-us became God-is-us." (p.65)
So suddenly I find myself questioning his Christology, too. Is he just trying to be cute or is he questioning that Jesus had two natures, united in one person? I cannot tell and he does not say anything to alleviate my worries.
"Holiness...is the lone Kit Kat bar in a bucket of Butterfingers." (p. 66)
What an utter affront to God's holiness.
"Holiness is a gradual process." (p. 66)
Uh, no, Mr. George, sanctification is a process. We are made holy instantly by the holy God who redeemed us. How did you get through seminary with such theologically sloppy language? (Note: His father is president of Beeson Divinity School, the school that awarded George's MDiv. Hmmmmmm.)
"Christianity is a movement of cooperation with Christ. We push; God pulls. This is a strange synergism, but step by step, row by row, we forge our way to holiness." (p. 67)
No, in a strange mystery, we cooperate with God's Spirit in our progressive sanctification. If you really mean holiness, then I suspect you are also not Reformed.
"Refreshment in the monastic traditions." (p.69)
Ok, so a modalistic, Apollinarian, medieval Catholic?
"After Moses listened to God on the summit of Mt. Sinai, the Israelites had to bag his head because his face shined so brightly." (p. 72)
No, he veiled himself because the glory of God on his face was fading. (2 Co.3:13)
"The more [God created], the more He loved." (p. 77)
Suggesting that there is change or development in God?
"There are many taste buds on God's tongue...He doesn't just enjoy American burgers and fries...God eats Indian curry Chinese noodles, and Mexican enchiladas. He's no stranger to Belgian waffles, kung pao chicken, fish and chips, and spaghetti with meatballs. If God's [sic] never had a snowball from New Orleans, I recommend the jumbo Dreamsickle, heavy on the condensed milk." (p. 86)
Utterly, blasphemous drivel. Why can you not speak of God's redeeming people from every nation, language, and tongue? Why must you needlessly anthropomorphize God and then offer him advice? Like he needs any.
"Why does God get to be jealous and we can't? Because God is at the top of the food chain. Simple as that." (p. 91)
I understand what you are saying, but could you not have said it in a more reverent, less confusing way? God is not a predator, nor does he demand worship because he is stronger than everyone else, as your appeal to the food chain implies. He does so because he alone is God and there is no other.
"As actor Leslie Nielsen said, 'The truth hurts...Oh sure, maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts!'" (p. 95)
Must we be crude, to speak about God?
"Art Hoppe had a point: 'If there's no God, who pops up the next Kleenex?'" (p. 105)
I fail to see what the point is, nor what place it has in this book.
"We sometimes see God as a reclining deity, uninvolved in the course of life. We cloak this concept as God's foreknowledge." (p. 108)
Clearly, someone does not understand the biblical ideal of divine foreknowledge. It has nothing to do with deism.
"It takes a ton of sewage to clog [God's] septic tank." [p. 120]
I cannot even begin to articulate how awful and blasphemous that statement is. Can you not just speak of God's longsuffering?
"God gave us Himself in three way: His Word, His Son, and His Spirit. [editorial comment: I wish he had stopped there!] We can also view it as His lips, His skin, and His heart." (p. 135)
More modalistic language. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this guys is heterodox regarding the Trinity.
"God has a sobering message for America: How high can I lift you before I lose you?" (p. 150)
So, is George suggesting God loses those whom he redeems? So now we have a modalistic, Apollinarian, Arminian, medieval Catholic?
The book concludes with this little gem:
"This book has been my exploration of God, my Jesus mud-wrap. Yet it's far from complete. The deeper I dig into God's attributes, the shallower [sic] I find myself. How can anyone describe the Indescribable?" (p. 160)
Shallow indeed. Keep digging, Mr. George.
Godology is awful in its recommendations.
In the book, George seeks to describe an attribute of God (ahem!) and then discuss a "spiritual discipline" that is supposed to reveal that attribute of God more fully. He seems to have fallen in love with medieval Catholic monasticism. Consider some of the things on list of disciplines:
* Silence * Solitude * Labyrinth walking (???)
He makes many approving remarks in the book about monasticism but even some of his more "normal" disciplines are expressed in bizarre ways. Consider his discussion of meditation (a biblical discipline, to be sure):
"Meditation makes the mundane things of life magical. Simple objects become gateways to God. A blade of grass points to God's creativity. A sheet of rock reflects his protection. Even the drippings of a leaky radiator reveal God's ever-flowing love. Meditation focuses our minds on a single subject--a poem, a picture, a leaf, a rusted bicycle wheel--and shows us Christ in the ordinary...Isolate a single object...wrap your mind around it. Engage it, observe it, apply it. Encounter it with your senses...lick it if you have to." (pp. 109-110)
I wonder if Mr. George has been meditating on toads. Maybe not.
When it comes to fasting, Geore approvingly speaks of a "digital fast." (P. 84) That's right, put down your IPod as a way of denying yourself. Deep.
He also suggests walking a labyrinth (like in a Cathedral, but you can make your own), admitting that, "For Protestants, labyrinth walking is a relatively new discipline." (p. 138) Evidently. I never even knew Catholics had done this in the past!
Conspicuously absent in all of his recommendations is the promotion of the God ordained means of grace. Nothing said about the sufficiency of Scripture and our need to immerse ourselves in it. Nothing said about the Sacraments. Very little said about prayer. Nothing said about public and private worship. In the final analysis I am almost forced to wonder what god George is studying in Godology.
Finally, I am astounded that George was able to get J.I. Packer to write the forward to the book. Packer is an accomplished theologian and George...well, George is not. To be fair, I was warned. Packer says,
"[George's] expositions [editorial remark: a VERY generous characterization!] sting and stimulate simultaneously, in the manner of Tobasco sauce. Tobasco, of course, though loved by great numbers is not to everyone's taste...The title Godology gives fair warning of what is to come, and if you are not going to appreciate George's semi-pop idiom, you had best conclude straightaway that this book is not for you."
In conclusion, then, can I recommend this book? Not on your life. It is inane, irreverent, and irrelevant. Still, I reviewed it as promised. I have two copies to give away. If you are interested in one, so you can better educate yourself on how not to do theology, how dumbing down the discussion of God distances people from knowing God, or how to point people away from God by directing to means that he has not appointed, then let me know. I will be happy to send one to you. Otherwise in a week, I will put them where they belong: in the trash.
A Tapestry of Truths!! Jul 15, 2009
Godology is a insightful, entertaining book for anyone seeking to know, express, and experience God! With bold prose and a humble heart, George explores the nature of God by focusing on some of God's key personality traits (power, love, jealousy, wisdom, etc.). Using a collection of biblical stories, scripture references, powerful quotes from prominant theologians, personal anecdotes, and thoughtful analysis, George weaves together a tapestry of truths: a vivid collage full of color and texture that points directly to the Creator.
I especially appreciate George's emphasis on the importance and relevance of spiritual discipline. George not only reminds Christians about these disciplines (fasting, solitude, footwashing, etc.), but shares ideas and examples that help readers know how to practice these disciplines in their daily life. In a world where personal comfort is often sought above all else and "discipline" is a dirty word, George challenges us to not only recognize the beauty of spiritual discipline, but to make that beauty a manifestation of our desire for God.
As you read this book, you can't help but realize that knowing God does in fact change EVERYTHING. George makes it clear that God's nature is so deeply powerful and mysterious that it has direct implications on how we as Christians should live our lives. Thus, because knowing God changes everything, readers of Godogly are encouraged to change everything so that they may know God--in the fullest, most intense way possible.
Emjoyable creative way to learn about God Jul 9, 2009
What first caught my attention about this book was the foreward by J.I. Packer. Right away this made me want to look further into Godology.
Godology is a book explaining the attributes of God in more modern terms. The author creatively engages the reader using many modern illustrations and then leads into explaining God's attributes. This made the book easy and enjoyable to read. For example, check out the chapter titles and their corresponding sub-titles.
1. Mardi Gras and Icicles: God's Unity
2. Jesus Ninja: God's Power
3. Sunsets and Dinosaurs: God's Creativity
4. Showing Some Skin: God's Vulnerability
5. Chocolate for the Soul: God's Holiness
6. Rhapsody in Red: God's Love
7. Jealous is My Name: God's Jealousy
8. Inbox (1): God's Wisdom
9. Cardboard Crosses: God's Patience
10. Feng Shui Faith: God's Mystery
11. G-Force: God's Mystery
Don't let the titles fool you. George does not redefine God in modern or post-modern terms just to get a point across. He uses such terms to bridge the gap and his point across. While this might be seen in a sense as contextualization, the author takes the reader from such terms into Scripture to make his points. He tackles cultural items and brings them into biblical focus challenging the reader to think of how he lives within such culture. An example from page 43.
"In a day when most of our communications occurs online and iPhoto replaces tangible albums, we are beginning to hunger for the grainy life, the touchable life. We need the nitty-gritty. Face-to-face communities are becoming crucial again, along with eye-to-eye interaction. Technology will continue to shape the future, but it's also shaping us. It can numb and distance us from what our souls were created to experience-walking with God in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). I'm not talking about an interactive virtual walking tour, but rather, a breezy,creek wading, muscle stretching jaunt with Jesus."
George uses quotes from various individuals from Carl Sagan, Dan Brown, Orpah Winfrey to Shane Claiborne, C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon and John Calvin. Plus several more. Some more conservative Christians might find this tough to read at times, but George uses the quotes well. It's nothing to be afraid of. Just see the endorsement by Tom Nettles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. One can hardly get more conservative.
If your looking for a book on God's attributes that's easy to read as it moves you right along this is it. It's also a fun or funny book as can be seen when the author catches "a glimpse of a topless fat guy catching doubloons." (17) This book would be good for teens and those folks who are trying to get into theology, but find it boring or hard to read. The book is also creative enough for the teacher who might have trouble relating to folks in today's culture. Said teacher will certainly find creative ways to cross that cultural gap in their teaching.