There are many people, Christian and non-Christian, who crave to know more about God and the depth of his being. This is part of our exciting journey along this sometimes, perilous path of life – to get to know God more intimately. But how can we get to know more about him? How can we delve deeper into the mysteries of the Creator?
The author, Pastor Jim Stevens, comes up with some good questions and answers in his book ‘Taping Over God’. He brings challenges, enthusiasm and intrigue into his writing. The author takes us on a journey of discovery into the depths of God.
Most of the time our relationship with God is limited because of what we have been taught or maybe read. However Jim Stevens had some questions running through his mind at the time of contemplating writing his book. At first he was just content to go along with whatever was said to him in church. But the more he read and talked about God the more he realized there were many conflicting ideas about him. So he went on a voyage of unearthing some truths.
Jim says, “I think many people both within the church and out of it, are generally craving something deeper in life and are prepared to engage in conversations about God but they have often been presented a version of God that seems to be only for a few people and against most people and it seems that this God they heard about wants them to change everything about themselves before he’ll accept them. But this isn’t what we saw from Jesus at all.”
So how does Jim see God now after his exploring more of how big God is and writing his conclusions in his book? He admits, “I absolutely see God as bigger and more encompassing and more inclusive than ever before. I didn’t always feel that way. For a lot of years I thought people had to believe the same as me to be ok with God. But my own beliefs and understandings were unfolding and changing themselves, so how could I expect anyone else to keep up with my supposedly correct (in my mind) ideas?”
The author explains that it is so important to try and approach ideas about God without the pre-set limitations of what we already think we know. We all have a limited perception of God and his ways and the writer helps to address this.
In this book Jim challenges us to think ‘outside the box’ and re-examine our thoughts and ideas on Almighty God. Yes, he is Almighty, and we all need to start to think big and get our heads around this. This is where the writing of Jim Stevens comes to the forefront. To confront our limited views!
So why did the author decide to write this book – what was in his mind at the time? He states, “I remember hearing a speaker named Shane Willard who talked about God and the Bible from a more Jewish perspective, which I found to be far richer and deeper than how I had previously understood things. This really started me off on a journey of reading a wider variety of writers. I wanted to help people to not feel ostracized simply because they have questions.” What Jim was contemplating was it also made him realize that maybe there was much more to the picture of God/the Bible/life and how those three mix together more than he had previously thought.
“I remember being at school and hearing the teacher ask, ‘Does everyone understand?’ But if you feel like the only one who doesn’t understand there’s no way you’re putting your hand up because you feel too silly. Having questions can make us feel excluded and I want those with questions to feel safe enough to ask them and have the conversations without feeling like there is something wrong with them.”
The greatest message Jim Stevens wants to convey in his book is he hopes that those who read ‘Taping Over God’ can know that it’s ok to have questions and uncertainties when it comes to matters of faith and God. He points out, “It isn’t after we’ve wrestled with ideas that we find the correct answers but rather it’s within the wrestling that we experience and grow in understanding God better. We never arrive at the final conclusions about God because there is more to God than we can grasp.” He explains that asking questions can lead to a more robust and deeper faith.
“I want people to consider that God could be possibly better than their current understanding because with that kind of ‘searching’ approach there is potential to find a better understanding of God,” Jim says. “But when we’re certain we already know it all we restrict our own ability to learn something better.”
‘Taping Over God’ is a book that the author hopes will usher people into a deeper realm in God.