PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel

M we are drawn deeply into through paradox and uncertainty Our faith is enhanced when experienced as a journey without the constant push to have the correct ideas and understandings For non fiction Christian books I often turn to the endnotes to determine whether or not I will read the book Anyone who uotes Fleming Rutledge and Ta Nehisi Coates in the same chapter will get moved to the top of my to read list and I was not disappointed with Jen Pollock Michel s new book Divided into four sections Incarnation Kingdom Grace Lament that come with reflection uestions this book led with uestions than answers It was refreshing to consider the great mysteries of the faith and be invited into the wondering as she writes Mystery is inherent to the nature of the gospel whose wisdom confounds than assists The section on lament resonated with me most deeply and I would appreciate an entire book on lament hope and suffering from the author There are no easy pat answers given only the opportunity to see that lament leads us back to God Lament isn t the road back to normal It s the road back to faith Thanks to NetGalley for the Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for my review All opinions are my own I have learned to love the tension of paradox the way paradox disciplines me to allow two seeming contradictions to coexist Jen Pollock Michel admits that much of her writing has been born from the tension between two ideas This book is her celebration of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith With her trademark care and eye for detail Michel sifts through her own memories of the world and her reflections on scripture to celebrate paradoxes she s come to loveI will be writing a thoughtful review soon but I will mention here that my personal disappointment with the book was that she didn t dwell longer on the nature and beauty of paradox itself The title should have been Surprised by Paradoxes because the majority of the writing was about various paradoxes she appreciates While I enjoyed her tour of the paradoxes that undergird our faith I was hoping for time discussing the nature power and beauty of paradox Perhaps I m the only one who was expecting this but I wanted a celebration of the way that practicing with paradox can help us be perplexed but not in despair when we discover new mysteries 2 Corinthians 48 But I generally loved the way she was able to allow paradox to surprise her rather than insisting that mystery submit itself to her own understanding She models a curious gentle persistent faith that longs for truth and revels in complexityMy full review A clock radio was the most sophisticated piece of technology in my childhood bedroom Late into the night I d tune the crummy radio to stations that played pop or country or classics the volume set just barely above a whisper so my parents wouldn t hear I would fall asleep with my ear pressed against the speaker music swirling through my waking and sleeping It was in these not uite conscious moments that I first learned to listen for harmony Lying still I could hear the notes around the melody I can still remember the sheer joy of recognizing certain harmonies the clarity of two singers holding a chord or letting the tension build or resolve as their voices rose and fell together It felt like an invitation I couldn t resist I would sing along with every song where I could find harmony Eventually I could hear the possibility of new harmonies notes that no one sang but seemed to hang just above or below the melody I began experimenting with my own harmonies inserting my voice and delighting in the ways a new harmony enriched my favorite songsHarmony might be the best way to understand paradox A paradox is two possibilities at once two distinct ideas that seem as if they cannot co exist but turn out to be true together when investigated closely Like two notes that sound at once each note distinct but somehow transformed by the presence of the other harmony produces the possibility of beauty rather than conflict In her new book Surprised by Paradox The Promise of And in an Either Or World Jen Pollock Michel brings ideas that seem to be at odds with one another into lovely harmony ideas that seem appear contradictory somehow exist at once interpenetrating one another without diminishing each otherTo acknowledge where ou find paradox is to confess our expectations It is to say I thought that this was what grace meant Or I thought the kingdom of heaven was going to look like something else In one of her compelling personal confessions Michel acknowledges her apprehension about her husband s generous salary because she assumed the kingdom of God was meant for those with empty hands The paradox she discovers is that somehow the kingdom is large enough to bless the poor as well as the privilegedThe book reads less like a cohesive album and like a playlist Loosely connected observations about paradox flow from Michel s personal stories and what she has learned from the Word Michel ponders an assortment of paradoxes such as the truth that hard words that can also be a means of God s grace that our God is one who both reveals himself and hides himself that the kingdom of God is both unstoppable and vulnerable and that the spiritual life for all its presumed holiness can be so distinctly unspiritual Michel does not try to ease the tensions presented by each paradox Instead she collects them like curiosities picking up one paradox at a time to explore their surprises In four sections Incarnation Kingdom Grace and Lament Michel explores paradoxes both big and small turning over foundational concepts of the faith to find the points of tension By embracing paradox Michel models how we can be perplexed but not driven to despair when we encounter the mysteries of our faith 2 Cor 48 She writes about faith in its lived in condition as it abides complexity rather than resists it Allowing paradox to exist without trying to explain it away or simplify is a sign of a mature faith It seems to me that a great deal of heretical thinking begins with a discomfort with tension and a need to simplify clarify and reduce complexity Paradox like harmony elevates each distinct idea without calling for a compromise When Michel describes the paradox of lament she recognizes that even our complaint is a practice of faith as we seek to reconcile our trouble with the faithfulness of God The Bible is filled with

laments that seem 
that seem violate all the rules we assume must govern our conversations with God but even these complaints demonstrate the persistence of faith that hounds God until he answers Describing the paradox of grace Michel reminds us that grace is not simply leniency Rather the cross speaks a thundering word about the cosmic big deal that is sin The cross is a paradox because it speaks both of leniency and violence Both are reuired to fully understand grace To understand God s work in the world is to recognize that ideas that seem like they ought to cancel on another out actually exist together like distinct notes played simultaneously to produce a chord And therein lies the heart of Surprised by Paradox It is a book that seeks to find the harmony by choosing and instead of or It is not a comprehensive exploration of the counterintuitive complexities of our faith nor is it a full explanation of paradox itself It is however an invitation Much like the harmonies in one song invited me to find the harmony in other songs Michel s love of paradox will usher ou back towards our own faith journey to notice the paradoxAfter reading Michel s words I want to go back to the Word prepared to see the fruitful tensions that enrich our theology As Russ Ramsey points out in the foreword paradox is an admission that we only know in part and this admission helps us make the important distinction between Theological Understanding And Faith understanding and faith rightly Ramsey insists theology should lead to awe and wonder Michel offers a tour of the paradoxes that have surprised her so that we can all learn to appreciate the knowable and welcome that which is vast untamable mysterious and awesome For when we approach paradox we come to the end of our understanding And the end of our understanding can be the place where we learn to pause but also to praiseFor Fathom Mag. Fering alongside its commitment to finding audience with God is a paradoxical practice of faith Each of these themes give us certainty about God while also leading us into greater curiosity about his nature and activity in the world As Michel writes As soon as we think we have God figured out we will have ceased to worship him as he is With personal stories and reflection on Scripture literature and culture Michel takes us deeper into mystery and into worship of the One who is Mystery and Lov. ,
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He channels for grace to flow freely into our lives4 Lament Howling Prayer and Confessing FaithNorth American Christians with our lives of relative ease rely heavily upon inspired words for our language of lament There we find faithful Jeremiah pausing dead center in Lamentations to gulp air declare God s faithfulness and then resume his tearful mourning over lost Jerusalem Habakkuk and Job sing testy songs of impatience with God s slow mercy and psalms of lament read like nasty letters to the editor 155Ironically it is only those whom we trust and value who will receive the brunt of our anguish disappointment or rage We affirm belief in a God who is there by railing at him when he feels absent Our forays into lament keep sorrow from unraveling into despairGod s promise of And in this EitherOr World means that just because it can t be explained doesn t make it false 24 The dissonance we feel when we bump into God s inscrutable ways is an invitation to worship and to find buried within the struggle to understand the gift of wonderMany thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review which of course is offered freely and with honesty Summary In a world where things are often defined in either or terms and a uest for certainty Michel proposes there are many things beginning with basic biblical realities that are both and inviting our continuing curiosityWhether it is schism in the church political divides or just a good old marital conflict the parties often have defined things sharply in either or terms one way or another Jen Pollock Michel explains how she began to look for a third way and to write this book A family member had been lying to her repeatedly She described her dilemma to her counselor I needed light for groping my way out of this tunnel with two exits should I suffer lying or sever the relationship What if there s a third way she asked gently Her language sounded like a struck bell especially because third way language was something my spiritual director often used with me It was as if here was et another invitation to find a sure footed way on some undiscovered path to find and where I had previously imagined only either and or Here was an invitation to lean not on my own understanding and find wisdom in the way of paradox pp 22 23She discovered that paradox ran through the pages of scripture that Christian orthodoxy is full of and beginning with the incarnation this idea that the Son of God came to earth fully God and also fully human If paradox is at the heart of the nature of the Lord we trust and follow might we look for God in the and rather than insisting on answers to either or uestions This paradox also suggests that we find the spiritual in the material the living God in the stuff of everyday life It also suggests that to conform to God s ideal for our lives is to live fully the one wild and precious life that is ours expressing in our own uniueness the image of God in our livesShe goes on to explore three other paradoxes There is the paradox of the kingdom which is already here and not fully come where the least are the greatest where we both give lavishly and enjoy lavishly what we are given and where strength takes the form of vulnerability whose crowning hour is the cross Grace confronts us with other paradoxes Treasured et not for any personal excellency Finding favor when the wrath we deserved falls upon his favored Son Michel writes We don t get grace because we change our lives but our lives are indelibly changed because we get grace Finally there is lament the raw unvarnished plea to God of people in pain that God has not shielded them from that is a paradoxical kind of faith It takes God seriously enough to become angry to speak with blunt honesty rather than pretty pieties when what has happened in one s life doesn t suare with our understanding of who God isMichel is a compelling author one who can relate the depths of theology to teaching her daughter to drive and her need for grace She weaves scripture teaching of the theological greats contemporary realities images and personal stories into a narrative that sings and helps us examine with fresh eyes what we thought we knew down pat helping us by asking did ou notice this and thisA friend once observed that when we try to get rid of the tensions in our faith or our lives by getting rid of one side of the tension to focus on the other we make life simpler but also smaller and confined Jen Pollock Michel invites us to live with paradoxes and to celebrate the ands of God She proposes that this opens #us up to mystery to surprise and to #up to mystery to surprise and to depth of the riches of knowing our God and what it means to live in the and of his purposes to experience how grace transforms our work and how our laments in all their perplexity may be among the most robust acts of faith What might this third way mean as Christians are present to a world mired in either orDisclosure of Material Connection I received this book free from the publisher I was not reuired to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own Jonathan Edwards the great American theologian believed in paradox He believed that in God we see many traits that don t seem to belong together infinite greatness and infinite care infinite justice and infinite mercy and infinite majesty displaying itself as stunning meekness So did GK Chesterton who said An element of paradox meekness So did GK Chesterton who said An element of paradox through the whole of existence itself I confess I m not always comfortable with paradox I like my theology neatly defined I understand and accept the idea of paradox but it sometimes makes me nervousAccording to Jen Pollock Michel author of the new book Surprised by Paradox paradox isn t the exception in life with God it s the rule From the way Jesus life unfolds from the incarnation to his public ministry and then to his crucifixion resurrection and ascent everything is full of surprise God upends our expectations along the way which seems to insist that we must approach theology with a great deal of mystery Michel is no enemy of theological certainty Her book is crisp with theological insight I m often taken when I read her by her grasp of good theology and her ability to express it clearly and beautifully But Michel also knows that Scripture doesn t resolve every apparent paradox It leaves room for mystery We live with tension and perplexity We must worship with humility wonder and trust understanding that there s a lot we don t understandSurprised by Paradox traces the paradox in Scripture contained within four biblical themes incarnation kingdom grace and lament Michel takes us through the major events of Jesus life as she also reflects on the tensions and struggles in her own lifeMichel does a good job handling these themes but that s not the only reason to read this book It s also worth reading because it s written so well I decided a while ago that I would read every book that Michel writes This one reminded me how much I enjoy her writing Michel is artful There are sentences in this book for instance Pretense in prayer is a lot like kissing with The Proposal your clothes on that made me put down the book and pray that I would one day be able to write half as well as she canBut here s the main reason I recommend reading this book because the olderou get the Prey you will recognize the reality of paradox This book began in a counselor s office she starts and that s enough to get me interested Michel does not write in the abstract She writes as someone who has suffered someone who has uestions and as someone who can relate toou and to meI think Addicted to Womanhood Book One you ve probably guessed by now I loved this book As soon as we think we have God figured out we will have ceased to worship him as he is she writes Well I want to worship God as he is and to understand life as it is and that means living with paradox This book helps Read it enjoy it and allow it to helpou embrace both the certainties and paradoxes of Scripture and life Things aren t always eitheror and maybe they aren t supposed to be Faith can be much beautiful and reciting when things that seem contradictory are held as true without need for resolution Jen Pollock Michel does a fantastic job of showing beauty in mystery and uncertainty God becomes one in who. Ian story is also paradox Jesus invites us to abandon the polarities of either and or in order to embrace the difficult wondrous dissonance of and The incarnation―the paradox of God made human―teaches us to look for God in the and of body and spirit heaven and earth In the kingdom God often hides in plain sight and announces his triumph on the back of a donkey In the paradox of grace we receive life eternal by actively participating in death And lament with its clear eyed appraisal of suf. Jen once again produced an excellent text for much reflection in Surprised by Paradox I was expecting this book to be a pleasurable read I wish I could write like her What surprised me was just how riveting it was I couldn t put it down I m already looking forward to reading it again in order to ruminate on the subject matter fully Jen writes with such depth and passion She seems to have such ease in weaving beautiful word pictures to help bring to life theological concepts that could be onerous to consider if penned by a less gifted author In our polarized world of black and white Jen forces us to step back and ponder the possibility that there is perhaps nuance and uncertainty than we would like But that in the midst of our uestions we will discover a deeper reverent love for our Triune God who cannot be fully comprehended nor narrowed down to serve our simple minds While I could share uotes than the characters permitted here this one was goldMaybe the mystery of suffering isn t only that this world could be so fragile maybe it s also that God could be so close bending his ear to the earth to let every grieving heart crawl inside and find rest Not answers but comfort Not certainty but trust And perhaps this is enough to tide us over till the dawning of a new world when the heavy boots of death are sent straight to hell and everything fragile is made unbreakable again where falling becomes rising and faith becomes sight In consideration of God his ineffable world and ways Jen Pollock Michel begins where most of us leave off once we ve given every possible answer to why and how divine realities and worldly complexities paradoxes are what they are we finally admit mystery or paradox as though admitting loss in Logic s cruel game Pollock Michel on the other hand repositions paradox from logic s end to its beginning Paradox here is not the unfortunate final word but an opening better word or posture which rightly positions us to see hear and receive God s Word and world in all the rich complexities each offers Put differently she begins by presupposing that paradox is built in to the world as God has given it and this opens us up to receive rightly and appreciate fully the wonder of our great God and the world He s made Simple and profound writing a paradox in itself I ve loved Jen s writing ever since her first book and she s only getting better succinct practical Post modernists and millennials will warm to the concept of paradox Fundamentalists might be disturbed by it because it allows for truth beyond propositions To my strong tendencies to extremes and all or nothing way of living Jen offers a gentle invitation to consider another way of looking at life people and God It s freeing beautiful and true Surprised By ParadoxI am always on a lookout for theologically sound women authors I read Michel s contribution in the book Our Secular Age and appreciated her work there I picked this book up with perhaps a lot of expectations Here are some things I liked about it her explanation of lament and its place in our Christian suffering her chapter on the kingdom and exhortation to be counter cultural her emphasis on grace both as givers and recipients of it her not shying away from calling out sin cheap grace blind political party loyaltyHowever I also found some parts that left me wanting explanation from the author her making changes to the name of God the Great I am to the Great I and The Jews wouldn t even utter God s name et she alters it just to make a point her claim that Renaissance humanism and scientific revolution changed the church s view of the communion host from being the actual body of Christ to just a memorial This sounds like she is affirming the Catholic view of transubstantiation is the original and right view She mentions Mary s leaky breasts twice What s the point of that graphic description I m female and got distracted by that thought in my head What is a spiritual director The author has one I understand she is perhaps upper middle class but her mentioning of having a housekeeper nanny and going on expensive vacations make her somewhat unrelatable her comparing Trump s Christian supporters to the German National Church embracing the Nazis during WW2 I m no Trump fan but there is a stark difference between the two situations It seems any Christian book written nowadays needs to include a mention of the oppressed minorities and the unfairness white America has caused I m not white but i find it tiring to white but I find it tiring to reminded how oppressed my people have been Let s just move on please I don t want to end with a negative attitude because I think the book despite the above list has commendable parts Here are some of my favorite uotes Sin according to Schmemann was not simply that man loved the material it was that he loved it for itself Sin severed the material from the spiritual the food from God Out of his own surprising goodness God made a world and invited us of his own surprising goodness God made a world and invited us be his honored guests in it He set the table He made the meal And even surprising when we abruptly left that table to heed another dinner invitation he cleaned up the mess A book about paradox is a book about spiritual posture the posture of kneeling under God s great big sky and admitting that mystery is inherent to the nature of God As soon as we think we have God figured out we As soon as we think we have God figured out we have ceased to worship him as he is I received a free advanced copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review Wild extremes live on the bandwidth that comprises Christian faith At one end of the scale are those who believe scarcely a thing at all but even this is not as frightening to me as those on the end of the spectrum who have God all figured out With algebraic precision they are able to reduce God to his component parts Their certainty factors out mystery and puts unyielding parentheses around an orthodoxy with no room for uestions and no surprisesIn Surprised by Paradox The Promise of And in an Either Or World Jen Pollock Michel asserts that biblical faith abides complexity rather than resists it 4 She wonders aloud about doubt and certainty humility and hope and then settles into the examination of four themes in Scripture in which paradox abounds1 Incarnation God and ManNowhere is God s delight in bothand over eitheror apparent than in the truth that the incarnate Christ was fully God AND fully man This is a mystery that defies logic and it invites believers to delight in our own duality We are intensely physical beings with appetites and spacetime limitations that anchor us in the uotidian and the earthy And et our spirits commune with The Spirit our souls will live forever and we have been created in the image of an unseen God who is wholly spiritThe incarnation brings unity to the spiritual and the material the secular and the sacred and we find to our great surprise that in Jesus Christ we are unimpressive than we ever dared admit glorious than we ever dared dream 572 Kingdom Plain Truth and MysteryJesus wasted no time in announcing that he represented another kingdom far removed from the Roman Empire or the religious hierarchy of Judaism Reading his story with the Kingdom of God in mind uncovers the scope of God s ambitions He wills to reign And he will reign over than human hearts 71However it is clear that the righting of our upside down world which began with Christ s resurrection is not readily apparent and often seems completely missing in a world so larded through with suffering and injustice In the meantime those with little find their places alongside those blessed with much and we all trust for grace to do life with those who don t look like us who vote in ways we find scandalous and who are positively indispensable in our process of learning to set our hope fully in Jesus alone3 Grace Rest and ResponseIf God had bones grace would be in his deepest marrow This is good news for how else would any of us find our way into relationship with the Most HolyThe paradox of grace lies in God s reuirement for obedience and his rejection of legalism the gift of hard words delivered with love and the invitation to rest while carrying his oke The reality of grace means spiritual disciplines that look like work and feel like deprivation are the very thing that clear What if certainty isn't the goal In a world filled with ambiguity many of us long for a belief system that provides straightforward answers to complex uestions and clarity in the face of confusion We want faith to act like an orderly set of truth claims designed to solve the problems and pain that life throws at us With signature candor and depth Jen Pollock Michel helps readers imagine a Christian faith open to mystery While there are certainties in Christian faith at the heart of the Christ. Surprised by Paradox


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    Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Download Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ä Jen Pollock Michel PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel I have learned to love the tension of paradox the way paradox disciplines me to allow two seeming contradictions to coexist Jen Pollock Michel admits that much of her writing has been born from the tension between two ideas This book is her celebration of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith With her tradema

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    Read & Download Surprised by Paradox Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Download Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ä Jen Pollock Michel For non fiction Christian books I often turn to the endnotes to determine whether or not I will read the book Anyone who uotes Fleming Rutledge

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    PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Download Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ä Jen Pollock Michel Things aren't always eitheror and maybe they aren't supposed to be Faith can be much beautiful and reciting when things that seem contradictory are held as true without need for resolution Jen Pollock Michel does a fantastic job of showing beauty in mystery and uncertainty God becomes one in whom we are drawn deeply into through

  4. says: PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Read & Download Surprised by Paradox

    PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Jonathan Edwards the great American theologian believed in paradox He believed that in God we see many traits that don’t seem to belong together infinite greatness and infinite care infinite justice and infinite mercy and infinite majesty displaying itself as stunning meekness So did GK Chesterton who said “An element of paradox runs thro

  5. says: PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Read & Download Surprised by Paradox

    PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Summary In a world where things are often defined in either or terms and a uest for certainty Michel proposes there are many things beginning with basic biblical realities that are both and inviting our continuing curiosityWhether it is schism in the church political divides or just a good old marital conflict the parties often have defined things sharply in either or terms one way or another Jen Pollock Michel explains how she

  6. says: PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Read & Download Surprised by Paradox

    Download Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ä Jen Pollock Michel PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review Wild extremes live on the bandwidth that comprises Christian faith At one end of the scale are those who believe scarcely a thing at all but even this is not as frightening to me as those on the end of the spectrum who have God all figured out With algebraic precision they are able to reduce God to his component parts Their certain

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    PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Surprised By ParadoxI am always on a lookout for theologically sound women authors I read Michel’s contribution in the book Our Secular Age and appreciated her work there I picked this book up with perhaps a lot of expectations Here are some

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    Download Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ä Jen Pollock Michel Jen Pollock Michel Ä 5 review PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel Simple and profound writing a paradox in itself I've loved Jen's writing ever since her first book and she's only getting better succinct practical Post modernists and millennials will warm to the concept of paradox Fundamentalists m

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    PDF READ Surprised by Paradox ß Jen Pollock Michel In consideration of God his ineffable world and ways Jen Pollock Michel begins where most of us leave off once we’ve given every possible answer to why and how divine realities and worldly complexities paradoxes are what they are

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