Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: The Insanity of God (2013)

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected. Nik Ripken. 2013. B&H. 384 pages. 

The Insanity of God is a compelling, thought-provoking autobiography. The author shares his global experiences with readers. He shares with readers his work in the African country of Somalia. After his work there became impossible, after a brief time away he began a new project. He started traveling the world, visiting countries all around the world (Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, etc.) where Christians face persecution.  He sought out Christians in those countries, wanting interviews and stories. His goal was to gain wisdom from people who know firsthand how to carry the cross. He was perhaps seeking "reasons for their hope." He was hoping to take what he learned and share it with those preparing to be missionaries. I think the experience was more than that--more than he ever hoped. I think ministering and encouragement was going both ways. 

Readers learn more about  the Christian experience worldwide, in the past and present. What was it like to be a Christian in the Soviet Union? What was it like to be a Christian in China--during the last seventy years or so? What is it like to be a Christian in a Muslim country?  

All names have been changed, and most of the stories revealed are already a decade (or so) old. But the stories are personal and intense. There were a few stories that AMAZED me. (Probably the most amazing is how the author was led by the Spirit and introduced to five Muslim believers in a country he never intended to visit.They are perhaps too long to share and would require a good amount of context as well. But you should know this book is worth reading!!! 

Favorite quotes:
How is it possible to give bold verbal witness to Jesus in a country where sharing Jesus is against the law? How is it possible to lead friends to become followers of Christ knowing that their new found faith could lead to their deaths? We had debated questions like these long before we ever got to Somaliland--but, suddenly, they were not theoretical questions any longer. Suddenly, we were talking about real people and real lives. If sharing with a friend could lead to my friend's death--will I share my faith anyway? And am I willing to live with what might happen next? These questions were profoundly disturbing, and we fought with them night and day. (112)
From the time Ruth and I had felt called to Somaliland, we had sought insight and wisdom from anyone and everyone. We talked with leaders of large relief organizations. We spoke with believers from a variety of agencies. We talked with people who seemed to know about prayer and the ways of God. Time after time, we would ask, "How can we effectively demonstrate and share the love of Christ with people who have no idea who Jesus is? How do we make a spiritual impact in a place so hostile to the faith? How do we exhibit a winsome witness for Jesus among people who feel justified in reveling and persecuting His followers? How will people recognize the love of Christ in us if we never tell them whose love it is that motivates us? How can God's love overcome their hate?" Most of the people that we talked to had very little to offer. (112)
I now realize that God allowed me to go out into the world so that I could find out who Jesus really was and how the Bible is to be applied to my life. He wanted me to learn that lesson from people who knew Him far better than I did, people who were already living out His teachings on a daily basis. (313)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Annette said...

So glad you loved this book!
I still think about this book. So it made that much of an impression on me!

Helene said...

This book sounds right up by alley. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the recommendation!