Monday, March 28, 2011

A Conversation with God - Alton Gansky Review - Milk-toast Messages

Alton Gansky's newest book, A Conversation with God (If You Could Ask God Any Question, What Would It Be?, had a title that intrigued me to open the cover. What I found was a "milk-toast" messages from supposedly God, Jesus and other biblical people that made me sad that such a quality printed book was wasted on such empty, emotionless, elementary sentences.

The questions are wonderful! Alton Gansky successfully identified the top fifty-five most common, challenging and controversial questions about God. The book concept was ideal. Alton Gansky set out to answer these questions biblically and from the first person point-of-view of God, Jesus or other people in the Bible. The topics cover questions about God Himself, the Bible, the future, pain & suffering, Jesus, the Kingdom of God, heaven & hell, humanity, Christian living and today's world. Unfortunately the answers are pathetic portraying God to be a mild, non-offensive, beat-around-the-bush responder. Obama's first Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, spoke with more authority and passion then the characters answering in this book. I remember how many times Gibbs seemed to skirt the questions, babbling about this or that and never really saying anything material. God, Jesus and many others in this book have the personality of generic, impersonal, cardboard cut-outs.

He uses tiny sentences of three or four words so frequently that I felt the book could have written for young elementary school children, like a simplified beginning reader picture bible-book. Answers are so simplified and censored to provide a Kumbaya theology. For example, Gansky answers by God how He wants to be worshiped, by saying, "What I long for is a simple expression of love," "Worship is emotional," and "What moves me most is relationship." Let me give another example of questioned answered supposedly by God. To answer, "Are we living in the end times now?" Gansky has God say, "Your question is an important one, and I am not making light of it when I say your closer than ever before. You should know some things before we go much further. First, you are a time-bound creature. Everything you see is in the same time lock."

I am certain this is more than enough for anyone to see that this book falls terribly short of its goal of letting you imagine you are sitting down and talking to God about questions you or others may have.

This was a great concept for a book - it just was terribly written. My copy will end up in the paper recycle bin.

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