A friend blessed me deeply last Thursday in a way he cannot fully understand.
Backing up a little, this friend and I had lunch a couple weeks ago. A couple weeks prior, I had ended another relationship with a girl. Another failed experiment in romance. Starting back at square one again. A couple years prior, I had begun an entirely different experiment: to examine my faith.
I was running out of gas, becoming complacent and lazy. God and I were in the sitting around on the couch in sweats phase of our relationship. I needed to take a step back, sweep away the cobwebs and figure out why I was a Christian and not something else. More importantly, if I was a Christian, why it didn’t alter the way I lived my life. Christianity should be so much more than a supplement for a healthy, balanced life.

So, I dove headlong into philosophy and other sorts of non-fiction (until that point I’d been an exclusively fiction guy–why think about real life when I’m trying to escape into a book?). I joined a discussion group at the local community college to meet some non-Christians. And I tried to view my faith from a detached vantage point.

The short version, it was a miserable existence. I found it hard to read the Bible and pray. Though I was singing in the choir, I found it hard to worship. I felt reclusive. My former college pastor described it best: I was throwing a heavy log on the fire, and the flames were being smothered a little in hopes that the log would fuel a more sustained fire than the brush I had been feeding the fire with before. I missed the fire. I missed the intimacy I’d always enjoyed with God

Back to lunch with the friend. I told him about my situation and he offered some counsel. More importantly, he filed away the conversation in his memory. That Thursday, at our small group Bible study, he discretely pulled a book from his bookshelf and handed it to me. Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson. Once again, the adage don’t judge a book by its cover is proven true. The cover is garish and the title off-putting at first, like an attempt to be edgy that one expects to deliver the nutrition of cotton candy upon reading.

Turns out the opposite is the case. The title is meant to be poetic, rather than trendy, and the book more than delivers. Those who know Shakespeare will roll their eyes (I don’t blame them, I would have too), but N.D. Wilson’s prose is vivid and silky as if written in iambic pentameter. It’s impossible to describe. You just have to read it yourself. The content of the book is as beautifully well-crafted as the word choices.

Wilson takes on the task of reminding us that creation personifies and mimics its Creator (Ps. 19:1). Using the seasons as a framing device (more often than not the kiss of death for a writer), he ruminates about his daily life, using everything at his disposal in the manner it was intended, as a metaphor through which we can understand characteristics of God, the universe, and our place in God’s play.

Not really intending to review the book in this space, I’ll simply say that it left me re-enchanted and challenged. As opposed to Crazy Love, which left me feeling guilty and sobered (both good emotions when put to good use, but otherwise death-spirals), this book was inspiring. To continue my earlier image, it was like gasoline for the log-choked flames of my faith.

Read the book and let me know what you think.

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