Margaret Feinberg has an engaging "voice" that draws her readers into her pages. The way she describes her spiritual journey easily convinces that we are walking a path alongside her --- and she alongside us. Like her previous book, SCOUTING THE DIVINE, HUNGRY FOR GOD is personal and anecdotal, having the feel of a memoir. Then she interrupts her contemporary storytelling with biblical stories or reflection --- a foray with Moses or Elijah or Jesus.
As the subtitle indicates, the content introduces the basics of preparing for, listening to and hearing God's voice. There's nothing formulaic here --- and maybe nothing really new --- but the presentation is refreshing and downright inspirational, in the best sense of the word. Feinberg's prose addresses my hunger for God and heightens my awareness of God's presence and work in my own life. She addresses the way God speaks through Scripture, through circumstances, through peers and mentors, family and friends, through nudges, nature, the media, the arts and dreams. She values a consistent devotional time, though obviously that's only a part of the picture.
"Hearing from God was never meant to be kooky or spooky. Rather, God's voice directs, encourages, focuses, illuminates, and guides." To communicate with God or hear from God, "We don't always have to hike through the desert to the burning bush, and we won't always turn around to find the angel of the Lord standing before us."
One insightful anecdote moves from being restless at church --- staring at the ceiling tiles --- to learning ways to prepare herself for entering the service with a heart that is readied or prepared to listen. "Every Sunday is different, but when I prepare my heart and mind before I walk into the service, my spiritual appetite for encountering God increases." Another acknowledges failure in trying to spend devotional time with her husband --- before finding a solution that works for them (but might not for other temperaments).
Feinberg is not yet 40. She speaks to a young generation but also to a gray-haired set. I look forward to reading more from her when the youthful smile on her book cover is encircled with a few more wrinkles.
One final note: HUNGRY FOR GOD is thin, very thin, with pages of marketing copy at the back to entice you to buy more of Margaret. I realize the importance of "getting the word out," but the blatant pitch here seems over the top. Enough already.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on May 17, 2011
Hungry for God: Hearing God's Voice in the Ordinary and the Everyday