Organic is everywhere --- it's how we like our lettuce, our shampoo and our red meat. I recently read that you can even buy organic jeans. And in her latest book, Margaret Feinberg offers readers the opportunity to experience an organic relationship with God: "one that's stripped of all pollutants and additives of this world."
In THE ORGANIC GOD Feinberg uses personal anecdotes and introspection as entrée points to examine nine different aspects of God's character. God is big-hearted, breathtakingly beautiful, amazingly wise, surprisingly talkative, wildly infallible, outrageously generous, unbelievably stubborn, abundantly kind and deeply mysterious. Feinberg wants readers to consider the place this God should have in all areas of their lives --- to fight compartmentalization and to embrace a holistic understanding of faith.
She writes: "While it's a word usually associated with food grown without chemical-based fertilizers or pesticides, organic is also used to describe a lifestyle: simple, healthful, and close to nature. Those are the things I desire in my relationship with God. I hunger for the simplicity. I want to approach God in childlike faith, wonder, and awe. I long for more than just spiritual life but spiritual health --- whereby my soul is not just renewed and restored but becomes a source of refreshment for others. And I want to be close to nature, not mountain ridges and shorelines as much as God's nature working in and through me. Such a God-infused lifestyle requires me to step away from insta-grow shortcuts and dig deep into the soil of spiritual formation found only in God."
Feinberg is a popular speaker at events for young adults, and her books have often traversed ground familiar to twentysomethings: what to do with one's life, how to survive and thrive in the "real world," navigating the first few years of marriage. And her writing has a youthful tone. She talks about "Bible crushes" --- people she has read about in the Bible and whose lives she wants to emulate. She is also enthusiastic, bordering on hyperbolic at times. About her favorite board game she writes, "I love the thrill that comes with each roll of the dice. Intrigue, risk, expectation, and of course, the possibility of wildly screaming, 'Yahtzee!' like a semicrazed lunatic, give the game an addictive quality."
But on the whole Feinberg's energy is endearing and her command of Scripture impressive. Don't let her breezy, loping style fool you; she offers substantial devotional insight for those willing to brave words like "authentic" and "post-modern."
"In my search to understand the Organic God, I am discovering that he doesn't invite us into his generosity to take something away from us as much as he wants to give us a something that we can't get any other way," she writes. "When we give freely, we become more free ourselves. We become less attached to things of this world and more attached to the world to come. We make this transition from having an inward focus to having an outward one, and in the process we reflect the radiance of our Creator."
THE ORGANIC GOD is worth spending some time with over a cup of coffee. Perhaps you'll want to make it an organic blend, or an organic soy latte, or an organic chai, or an organic…
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel on April 24, 2007