Book Review: God is Not Fair

god-is-not-fairI 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



Here we are, November 22, just a few days away from Thanksgiving. This time of year is complicated. On one hand, we are preparing our homes and tables for Thanksgiving, a day to remember our blessings, to be grateful for what we have and share with our family and friends. On the other hand, we are bombarded with sales, merchandise and gift ideas for the coming of Christmas. The sense of urgency in these commercials and sales pitches would make a visitor think that the anticipated holiday was mere days away, instead of weeks.

I understand that this is a sensitive issue, and as a Catholic, I am very much in the minority when it comes to dating the official “Christmas Season.” Regardless of when you start to celebrate the Christmas season, I hope that you are a person who still celebrates Thanksgiving.

Until today, I was unaware some companies are starting to use Thanksgiving as yet another marketing tool. In a series of new Black Friday sales commercials, Verizon has turned Thanksgiving on it’s head. Take a minute and actually watch the commercial (it’s only 30 seconds long). Did you catch what they did?

Thanksgiving is a time of year when we are supposed to look outside of ourselves. We recognize what we have been given, what we are grateful for. We give thanks, be that to God, to family, to friends, our nation, our community, whoever! Abraham Lincoln, in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, said

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they [the gifts of God, especially His mercy] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I’m not hearing anything about getting. I’m not hearing anything about wanting more or I want it now. I’m not trying to fight the Black Friday craze, (please drive safely and bring extra patience with you anyone who plans to partake). But I couldn’t let that commercial pass me by without addressing it.

Thanksgetting? Really, Thanksgetting? Have we descended so low that this is now acceptable? Is this what we want to teach our children the day is about? Is this representative of our accepted values?

I’m not asking you to like or dislike the commercial on youtube. I’m not even asking you to share this blog post. I just would like to ask anyone who reads this to stop for a moment and evaluate your priorities. Where are your thoughts these days, are they in the spirit of gratitude, or a spirit of desire?

What holiday will you be celebrating this week, Thanksgiving or Thanksgetting?