Skip to main content

Good God, Lousy World, & Me

Good God, Lousy World, & Me by Holly Burkhalter

How does a journalist with a skeptical eye and a quick wit find peace with God?  In this new book, Good God, Lousy World, & Me by Holly Burkhalter, advocate for government relations for IJM, she tells her story of wrestling with God, examining the fractures of sin in the world, and coming to see that hope is not lost, because believers in the world do make a difference.  Early on she talks about her perspective of believing in God by writing, “I was sick with fury.  To me, believing in God was not only foolish, but it would have felt like I was breaking faith with all those Rwandan children, women, and men he had abandoned (7).”  The perennial question, “Where is God in the midst of suffering and evil atrocities,” was one that Holly personally wrestled with as she investigated some of the deadliest situations in the world.

 It wasn’t until Holly and her husband John decided to adopt a four month old from China, Grace Bofa that Holly’s outlook changed.  She writes, “It wasn’t a prayer exactly, but it was the beginning of a different way of thinking about the world and about God.  Whoever created Gracie, saved her life when she was found at one week of age, and brought her to us in the middle of China as a tiny, breathtakingly  lovely baby had to be very, very good.  I didn’t know whom to thank, but I was overwhelmingly grateful (8-9).”  The adoption of another child, going to St. Peter’s Catholic Church for nine years before she became a Christian left an indelible mark on Holly’s life.  Yet, it was also Gary Haugen, the founder of IJM who answered Holly’s questions, and led her to see that God was not finished with the work Holly was doing and that IJM would do for those burned by war and violence.  As Holly puts it, “As he put it, God has a plan to fight injustice, and that plan is us – he people.  There is no Plan B.  With a careful study and proclamation of the Scripture on justice, Gary began to open for Holly the way God feels about injustice and what we should do about it.  The beauty about Holly’s conversion is that “she stumbled across a good God in precisely the places I had cursed him for abandoning (17).”  In the midst of Rwanda, Kosovo, and Auschwitz, many find enough reason to curse God and die, yet for Holly, these places were reminders that God will wipe away tears from every eye and that her work for justice was necessary for God’s work on Earth.

Another beautiful section in the book comes for the chapter entitled The Noise in My Brain.  Three deeply faithful people, a Ugandan land mine survivor, a Roman Catholic bishiop, and a heart-on-her sleeve evangelical doctor began to share their stories, their lives, and the way God had intervened to heal them.   Holly steers clear in the book of having all the answers to suffering and pain in the world, but she brings us closer to see that God is in the midst of these things through his people.  From the wonderful gift of a dog (80), to the gift of seeing two beautiful adopted children grow up, Holly has seen her faith grow in the midst of a fallen world.

Thanks to Blogging for Books and Convergent for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

The Paraclete Poetry Anthology, Edited by Mark S. Burrows

Bringing words to life on a page is hard work, and no work is harder than poetry.  Poets take the visceral, the mundane, and the disjointed and frayed things of life and put them on their head.  This new anthology of poetry put out by Paraclete Press and edited by Mark S. Burrows, takes the best poetry of today and brings together old and new poems from these gifted creators.  You find poems from Scott Cairs, SAID, Phyllis Tickle, and others.  The collection stems the span of 2005-2016 and includes both religious poems and themes, as well as themes covering a broad swath of topics.

One of the beauties of this collection is the array of poems that the anthology includes in its pages.  One poem in particular stuck with me as read through the collection.  Anna Kamienska is a wonderful Polish poet who interacts with the wider lens of faith while looking carefully at the world we live in.  She says in her poem named Gratitude, (44)

A tempest threw a rainbow in my face
so that I wanted to…