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    The True: The Organic God

    July 16, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Much of what is said in most devotional literature is true. Because of this, I am not going to go through, line by line, and tally up each propositional statement. Rather, I will use this post to discuss what I found to be profoundly true, and also the one statement I found that was absolutely not true. Being profoundly true is, by nature, subjective. All this means is that it was a truth I hadn’t thought about before, or needed to be reminded of, and so it seemed profound when I read it.

    As a reminder, when checking a book for truth:

    There are a couple ways of looking at this category. The first would be a matter of history. Are the facts presented true accounts of something that really happened? A good starting question, except that a lot of nonfiction these days consists of so much personal introspection and bravado, that I think a better question to ask is whether the work is true in the sense of eternity. Does the author’s assertion match up with God’s assertions as maintained by Scripture? As the ultimate holder of Truth, Scripture is a great place to start {and end} when analyzing anything.

    Astute Observations
    I thought I’d start out with the positive comments. After retelling the story of the five loaves and two fish, Feinberg follows up with a good {and true!} discussion of generosity:

    Jesus asked them to consider what they had, not what they didn’t. He asked them to take inventory, and with the five loaves and two fish donated by a child, everyone was fed.

    [snip]

    Yet in spite of the evidence of God’s provision, we still ask, How much is this going to cost us? Such thinking reveals that we have forgotten a very simple but powerful principle: everything comes from God, including the ability to produce wealth. There’s a tendency to chalk up financial success to hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and timing–and while all are essential ingredients, the real source is God.

    After sharing Ezekiel’s commentary on Sodom in Ezekiel 16:48-50, Feinberg observes,

    Sodom is synonymous with sexual sin. Every message, illustration, or reference I heard while growing up made it clear that the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of sodomy. More than one spiritual leader had used the Genesis account as a hallmark against sexual sin. But it’s no accident that Ezekiel highlights the lack of care for the poor before he ever mentions any sexual activities…[T]he sexual acts were merely outward behaviors of inward attitudes. The heart issues ran deeper: the people had become prideful, self-satisfied, and apathetic.

    I appreciated that Feinberg reminded her readers that “God is not a spectator; he is actively engaged.”

    And, lastly, I loved her discussion of mystery:

    While mystery often refers to knowledge withheld, the mystery described in the New Testament refers to knowledge that has been revealed. Yet even with such disclosures, so much about God remains unknown, and for me, that is part of the intrigue.

    Feinberg Gets Fuzzy
    I am trying not to get distracted by the fact that Feinberg is obviously egalitarian and I, obviously, am not. I don’t want to spend a book review explaining why I think her views on women are “not true,” even though this is the perfect category for it. Why? Because the book isn’t really about the fact that she is egalitarian. And I really don’t have the mental energy for such a discussion right now.

    So, what else was not true, or not truly true? {That was a shout out to Francis Schaeffer.}

    For the purpose of time, I will deal only with the most glaring error. This is when Feinberg writes,

    Staring at the various scenes in Jesus’s life, we are exposed to his enormous heart for us. One of my favorites is the sliver in time when Jesus touched the hemorrhaging woman. In a fraction of a moment, he crossed both cultural and religious minefields with grace and tender care. He touched a woman–an act which in itself was scandalous–and even went so far as to touch a woman who was permanently classified as unclean because of her infirmity.

    The Bible, however, doesn’t say that Jesus touched her. It says that she touched Him, which brings about different conclusions that the idea that Jesus touched her. See Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48. Feinberg should have used the story of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman if she wanted to talk about crossing barriers.

    And Finally…
    Read The Good. And tomorrow {or the next day…we are potty training around here} watch for the beginning of The Beautiful. I had thought that most of my qualms with The Organic God would be truth issues, but, after much analysis {including a full outline of one of the chapters}, I have decided that the biggest issues I have with this book are in the area of Beauty.

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