Should We Fire God? (book review)

Probably like me, the first thing that caught your eye was the title. Jim Pace didn’t entitle his book Should We Fire God? just to be provocative. It’s a legitimate question. In fact, it’s a question that so many have wrestled with for centuries: How can God allow bad things to happen?

It’s one thing when we in America are asking this question about the genocide in Darfur, or the earthquake in Haiti, or a famine in the Middle East. But what about when it hits so much closer to home?

Jim Price was pastoring at Virginia Tech University, when on April 16, 2007, a lone gunman opened fire on the campus killing over 30 people, including himself. Immediately Jim was forced face-to-face with this age-old question: How could this happen?

Some thought, “If God couldn’t keep us safe, perhaps He’s not up to the job. Should we fire God?

Carefully, honestly, loving, Jim addresses this question. For him, this is not some theoretic exercise. It’s personal. The emotion comes through raw and real. After weighing all the evidence and considering all of the possibilities, Jim reaches the conclusion that…. Well, you’ll have to read Should We Fire God? for yourself and come up with your own conclusion.

If you’ve ever faced heartache, if you’ve ever wondered how God could allow something tragic to happen, if you’ve ever wrestled with the thought of firing God, you will find some great thinking material in this book.

I am a FaithWords book reviewer.

9 Responses to “Should We Fire God? (book review)”

  1. Karen Says:

    A big lesson for me was when my Dad passed away (kiled in a car accident). After we moved from our house (across the street from his house) to Brighton, MI, my aunt gave me a book. The name: Streams in the Desert. One of the readings, among the many that helped me, it said: “Sorrow stretches out room in the heart for joy”. If you’ve been through a hard time and stuck with The Father through it all, you know that even in the deepest sorrow God is there and when you finally come through you know that even that sorrow, that trial – God can take and use for good. He can make you a better, stronger, more loving, empathetic person. He can bring His glory to shine through it. One way – through opening doors to speak into others lives who’ve experienced the loss of a loved one. You can be the one person who understands and then can be used by God to speak Life to them. He does give you His joy…and the joy of the LORD is our strength.

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  2. Mike Simpson Says:

    Sorry Craig but I’m still in the middle (actually I’m hoping it’s closer to the end) of this whole ‘where is God – He’s not answering His phone’ thing so it’s hard to comment. We are eating though and because of friends have a roof over our heads – so He is still my provider!

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    • Betsy Says:

      Been there. Take heart, God hasn’t forgotten where you are. Better days, and more joyful seasons will come. Don’t let go, even if you want to… He’s holding on to you.

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  3. uberVU - social comments Says:

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  4. carla e brogden Says:

    In my brief 57 years on this earth I have witnessed many circumstances that have caused me to draw breath and wonder “what on earth is God doing? After all, if He were really “in control” or paying attention, why did the Challenger blow up? why is the war in the Middle East still going on and taking on new problems each year? what about all the assassinations in my lifetime? why didn’t God intervene? what about 9-11? the Congo? China?

    Yes yes, we all know God was with those people in all those places and with all those people. But friends and children with cancer? Auto accidents? Sexual abuse and murder of women and children? There is a big list I have to set before the God of the Universe.

    But why DOES a good God allow bad things to happen? We read “the rain falls on the just and the unjust” and “our times are in His hands” and “He watches the sparrow fall.” So what about it?

    My answers have come from 1)a deep faith that GOD allows HIS gifts to us to manifest. We have freedom to make many choices, both believers and non believers have this freedom. So if men and women make choices that result in evil or pain perpetrated on the innocent, it is the consequence of sin and we have to accept that part of freedom. Life was not promised to be easy or pain free.2) prayer CAN change things but HE can choose to move or not move because HE sees the big picture. Here I am to trust that a GOD who could create life from nothing then can see what no one else can see. There are so many intricacies in a simple spy novel, how much more so in the whole of the human race from Creation to Present to Future? 3) Accepting my own responsibility to pray and obey and quote and live. I have to do what I am called to do in obedience and faith. Live in the Light. Abide in Him. Teach others. Pray for those who seek to harm me. Ask. Thank. Forgive. Wait. Trust. Obey. Listen. Meditate.

    Only the Supreme King of the Universe can answer these questions. BUT GOD being rich in mercy, also gives us grace, peace, healing and wholeness in the midst of these events. He ultimately is responsible for each of those hearts and lives and I must trust HIS Wisdom to take care of the final details. I can live in peace and harmony letting GOD be GOD.

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  5. LongTribe Says:

    Hi, Craig, this sounds like a great book! I’d love to read it and have it available to share with those struggling.

    I have tweeted about it (Dacia93) and I set it at my status on FB (Dacia Long)

    As for me, I have learned that God doesn’t fit into a box, and so we, His creation, can’t claim to know what his job description is… He is God, He made the wind, and the sea, and sky, and the stars. And He made you and me. When things get tough, or life starts looking scary, I remind myself of all that and *try* to trust in Him and know that He isn’t surprised by anything.

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  6. Shalin Naugle Says:

    One big thing I have learned through losing my little brother at the age of 16 and also having parents who are HIV+ is that God is always there. Even when you step away from Him and get angry at Him for allowing circumstances that seem so wrong……HE is always there. Waiting, loving and hoping for you to come to Him and talk to Him. He doesn’t care how long it takes or how far you go. HE is always waiting with open arms to take you back and hug you and show you how much you mean to Him. Sometimes He will even bless you in the midst of your anger to just keep that reminder in your head that HE is always there!!!!

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    • Faye Says:

      I so agree. I learned in a very difficult place, that I cannot escape God. Thankfully, I don’t want to anymore, but there was a time when I thought it was just too hard and I couldn’t hold on anymore. I learned that God certainly didn’t fit into the box I had created for Him, and it was so wrong of me to even try to create that box. As humans, we have an innate desire to create structure and order in our lives. Naturally then, I wanted God to fit within that structure and order. I guess I forgot that if I want Him to be an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God that I can trust and rely upon, then He must — cannot fit within any boundaries I could create. I take comfort in that knowledge now. He is God.

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  7. Lisa Blackburn Says:

    Hello. I will be 48 years old April 5th. I have known Christ as my personal savior since around the age of 7. I was raised going to church every time the doors were opened and was pretty much sheltered from the world most of my childhood. My parents were considered to be respectable, upstanding citizens with good reputations in the community. My Dad served our country in the U.S. Military prior to my birth.

    My mom raised me to be a beauty queen with hopes of becoming Miss America and probably a Hollywood star. I was fairly talented, so she had great visions for my future; but eventually, her ambitions for me eventually got the best of both of us. She pushed too hard, missing the part about “What would God want?”, and left us with a hollow relationship. I was obsessed with pleasing her, which I finally understood was an impossible feat to begin with. In my teens, as most do, I began to see my mom’s shortcomings and her obsessive need to control me and my destiny. There was no real faith in God or the desire to please God – only the fear of what other people thought. When I pointed out scriptures to her and tried to have a grown-up conversation about it, she would shut down and cut me off. She was codependent in her relationships and suffered from clinical depression for years which altered her personality, and unfortunately, was never diagnosed or treated. I recognized it for what it was after I had been diagnosed with it in my 20’s. During my 20’s I went through a rebellious period in my life at which time I turned away from family, friends, and the church, as well as breaking off a marriage engagement. It was a time of struggle and turmoil as I questioned my faith, God’s true existence, and who I was intended to be as an individual. Over the duration of about 3-1/2 years, I lived irresponsibly, yet was still prompted to share the gospel with others who were in deep emotional pain and suffering. Though my senses were becoming dull by my own persistent pain that I wanted to forget, my heart still ached for others who had been severely neglected or abused and had never stepped inside a church before. These girls were from broken homes, had been raped and beaten by their mother’s boyfriends while their mother laughed and looked the other way, burned on floor heaters and left for gangrene to set in, tied up with metal coat hangers, tossed into a tub of ice water and held down unmercifully just for the sake of minimizing the bruising following a beating so no one would call social services on them. What kind of mother does that with no conscience? What kind of mother puts hexes on her own child by black magic? What kind of mother gets her own 5 year old son high, then insists he dance naked on the coffee table to entertain her guests? A mother without Jesus Christ…a mother who wasn’t loved by her own parents. Sin breeds sin…evil breeds evil.

    God whispered out my name after I had not heard His voice for a long time. I had to search for my Bible because it had been so long since I picked it up, I had forgotten where it was. As I opened it up and allowed the pages to fall where they may, God’s Word spoke specifically and profoundly to me; and I knew that I was at a life or death crossroad. I had to choose whether it was going to be my own way or His way. He told me to TRUST Him. I chose to trust Him. He showed me so many things I would not be able to list them.

    When I returned home, I was on my knees praying for my family every night into wee hours of the morning. My family was continuing to unravel. My brother was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, he was in serious trouble with the law, and in complete rebellion. My parents were speaking of divorce.

    It was a few years later after I had married, when God revealed to me that there had been incest in my family right under my nose. My baby sister was living life on the edge, was failing her senior year of college, and threatening suicide. Satan had infiltrated my family and was determined to rip it to shreds until there was nothing left of it.

    You see, God knew I was going to need my faith for those things I could not see coming. That is why we all need Jesus Christ – we need faith in absolute truth. We need faith in a loving and just God – the kind of God who gave His own life so that we might have it. I will never question God or my faith again. He is absolute. I have a relationship with Him – a bond that will never be broken. He’s proven to me that He is trustworthy and real. No one can take that away from me.

    People can try to obliterate God and His Word and the Christian faith; but what they don’t understand is that it is impossible. God won’t allow it. He is the great “I AM”. They can remove prayer from schools, slay all the Christians, and burn all the printed Bibles, but God Himself will still exist and one day “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”.

    Who will ask “Should We Fire God?”, when He wasn’t up for hire in the first place? He gave His life up for us, and that is enough. We don’t even deserve His grace, yet He gives it!

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