Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yawning at Tigers by Drew Dyck – Book Review

I just finished Yawning at Tigers: You Can't Tame God, So Stop Trying by Drew Dyck.  Let me begin by saying that one should never review a book based on the Kindle version.  Though a more inexpensive alternative (and handy for reading at the gym), I miss the ease of going back to find specifics.  That being the case, this will be more general than normal.

When initially seeing the main title of this book, I immediately thought it would be yet another Christian motivational work, but the subtitle was intriguing.  Instead of the constant refrain of popular Christian fare that somehow God so immanent as to be malleable and useful for our earthly or an intimate lover always longing for us to rest in His bosom as He gently caresses us.  Instead, this book looks squarely at the problem that we, in our minds, have domesticated the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth, and we have lost sight that He is utterly holy and transcendent—unapproachable in any regard save for His own intercession on our behalf.

The book is divided in half with the first section describing how we have forgotten the dread of God’s awesome holiness and what we lose because of it.  I was struck by the gap being overcome from reading another book* in which the author relates some of the early Church Fathers who considered to what lengths God needed to go and lower Himself to our level of language and understanding in order to reveal Himself in Scripture.  The second section reviews the how we need to keep immanence and transcendence in tension in order to appreciate the gap that needed to be bridged in our sin, to demonstrate what great lengths he endured to bring himself close to us in the incarnation, and then even to suffer and die for us.  God suffered for me—unfathomable, but true.  That shows the depths of His love.

 Dyck is an effective, engaging writer.  My thoughts and emotions were stirred considering the ramifications of knowing God’s rightful place, coupled with the awful (awe-full?), yet necessary, work of redemption.  My only quibble is in the perceived conclusion that we are to act in light of the relationship, and the example offered was Mama Maggie, a Coptic Christian who founded the organization Stephen’s Children in Egypt.  I was put off by what appeared to be her mystical leanings.  While her story might be worthwhile to tell, I would rather have been kept focused on Christ.  That aside, this is a worthwhile read.

*  Mark Sheridan, Language for God in Patristic Tradition: Wrestling with Biblical Anthropomorphism, IVP, 2015.

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