Dear Dr Jersak,
I want to thank you for writing ‘A More Christlike God…’. It is, in a sense, the book (apart from the bible) for which I’ve been looking for most of my Christian life.
By profession I’m an academic physicist so, as you can imagine, some bits of scripture don’t sit very easily in my worldview – at least, not if you read them literally. And, for many years, I thought that was probably the only way you could read them – certainly that was what my churches told me. So I stayed pretty quiet and kept my doubts largely to myself.
A few years ago, an atheist friend with whom I converse regularly, and with whom I share a mutual respect, said to me ‘You know Alex, the main reason I don’t believe in your god is because I can’t believe in a deity who says he is love one moment and the next is happy to consign most of those he professes to love to eternal torture.’ My answer (which shocked him) was ‘Believe it or not, neither can I.’ From that, really, stems a number of years of mental and spiritual struggle. A whole lot of thinking, praying, reading, talking, journaling.
In the midst of that, God stepped in, in A Big Way (TM). 2015 was an annus horribilis for us; I finished 2015 at a very low ebb. 2016, God decided to lift me out of the pit by, first of all ‘bombarding me’ with love – every which way I turned, he had someone there, blessing me. Some of it was silly, trivial, stuff; some deep and profound – but it all added up. And I realised, by the end of that, something I had never really grasped before:
I am God’s beloved child.
God’s love wasn’t just a generalised love for humanity, with me in the mix, but a deep, deep adoration for me as an individual. I was the returned prodigal, towards whom he had run down the road; on whom He had placed the ring, the robe, the sandals, and in whose honour the fatted calf was slain and the party held.
After that, He set in and healed, miraculously, the hurts of my past – literally overnight.
And then, last summer, proving to me that He is big enough to deal with the small things in our lives as well as the big, he reunited me with my first Christian friend (the first person I’d ever actually trusted), with whom I’d lost touch over thirty years before. That was some reunion. Incredibly joyful for both of us, for different reasons.
This all added to the sense of ‘disconnect’ between the God I know, and the God I seem to read about in (particularly) the Old Testament. A lot more reading and thinking followed. That all left me with a lot of ‘conclusions’, each of which seemed to make sense on their own, but which I didn’t have the intellectual tools to connect into a coherent whole. And then along came your book… I wasn’t sure, really, why I bought it – (in fact I almost didn’t – it sat in my Amazon shopping basket for weeks and weeks). And as I read it, I kept reading thoughts I’d had and realising that here was someone who’d been on a parallel journey, but who had the skills to weld the bits together into one solid whole – and add yet more to it. It describes, truly, a more beautiful gospel. The problem now is how to share the joy it brings – without being shunned or worse!
Thank you and God bless you,