Have you ever wondered how you’re supposed to be a faithful Christian when God feels absent so much of the time?
If you’ve ever asked these questions or others related to God’s presence or absence, author and speaker Tony Kriz wants you to know you’re not alone.
“It’s a fairly universal experience of everybody,” Kriz says. “Some of us are more attuned to the divine than others, but almost all of us have had seasons where God felt distant. And then there are many people who feel that God has never really tangibly interacted with them on some level.”
Kriz, a professor of inter-cultural and spiritual formation courses in the Portland, OR area (and also the real-life inspiration for the beat-poet character in Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz), has just published a book on the often taboo topic of God’s ‘absence’ called Aloof: Figuring Out Life With a God Who Hides. In it, he offers a personal narrative of his own journey of playing hide and seek with God.
“The challenge is that our pulpits communicate the opposite message — our pulpits communicate that God is speaking to us all the time. A pastor says “God spoke to me this week’ and the worship band sings about God being so close, and God touching our lips, our eyes. And people want to feel that, but then they walk out into the street, and God doesn’t feel tangible, God doesn’t feel like a burning bush, a road to Emmaus. And they think, what am I doing wrong? Did I make a mistake?”
I got to speak with Tony this week about his new book. We talked about what we do with a God who often feels aloof, how we can invite God’s nearness in new ways, and just who/what this God is, ultimately. What do you think? Is God aloof? Or are we misguided in how we expect to “feel” God? What helps you keep going in times of feeling distant from God?
For more on Aloof and author Tony Kriz, visit the Patheos Book Club here. And check out Tony’s website here: www.tonykriz.com.