I almost didn’t review this book because I didn’t slow down long enough to read the whole title. God’s not fair? Of course He’s fair, who came up with such nonsense anyway? Then I re-read the title: God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude. Well, ok, since I slowed down enough to read the whole title, I suppose I could slow down enough to recognize the wisdom behind that statement. Thank goodness I did!
This slim-ish book by Franciscan priest Daniel P. Horan has been a game-changer for me. I read the first page, still just the introduction, and before I got to the end I got up and got a pen so I could underline the following:
God’s lack of fairness by human standards should challenge us to consider now how capricious or malicious God is, but rather how inappropriate, unchristian, and inhumane we are. It seems to me that too much of our faith is governed by our own insecurities, self-interests, and fears.
I have underlined, taken notes, asked myself questions and written down challenges in this book in a way I haven’t done since formal schooling (and I loved it!). One of the many positives of Horan’s work is that he writes it as a collection of essays. Each “chapter” or essay is between 2-3 pages in length, some just a single page. Though short in length there is nothing lacking in content, depth or message.
Horan’s book is so refreshing because he is not afraid to proclaim boldly the ways we humans often completely miss the mark in order to show the reader the overabundance God showers on us. Consider the following in a chapter reflecting on Luke 6:36-38:
It can be easy to think about the Gospel in the abstract, but it is very difficult to live it in the particular…It is often for this reason that mercy is not our path; wrath is. Generosity is not our disposition; selfishness is. Forgiveness is not found in our attitude; anger is…Christ calls us to do something else, something far more difficult than minding our own business and watching our own backs. It is to love, forgive, heal, and be merciful in the way that God is already with us, even if we are so preoccupied with ourselves that we cannot recognize it (71-72).
So good, right! And yikes, I think I have some life evaluation to do.
No one is perfect, which is all the more reason why we should be grateful that God isn’t fair by our standards. This truly is the main message. God is Not Fair highlights the ways that we not only need God, we desperately need God’s overabundant love, mercy and forgiveness. It challenged me to slow down and consider my relationship with God and to see the areas that I project my opinions on Him, rather than allowing my attitudes and actions to be formed into His.
~ Happy New Year! If you pick one book to read this year, God is Not Fair should definitely be on the short list of candidates