The God Who Smokes

The God Who Smokes
The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith By Timothy Stoner

At the deepest root of the idea of God’s wrath (which fills the Scriptures from beginning to end) is the reality that it is fundamentally an expression of passion from a wounded husband and a ferociously protective father. His wrath is about His love.

Timothy Stoner, The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith. 

I finished Stoner’s book a couple of weeks ago. I liked it. 

First, a comment about the title and author: really? God smokes and the book is written by a guy named Stoner. Ya gotta be kidding. 

Nope. Not kidding. 

But, no joke, this is a good book. It seeks to balance the trend in contemporary  Christianity toward an approachable, utterly safe, kind, predictable God. Moreover, it takes some well-aimed shots at the “emerging church,” the latest incarnation of faith for contemporary culture — marketing to an inclusive society. As Stoner puts it,

[God] is so full of passion and blazing emotion that He burns—and yes, smokes in the ferocity of His infinite, holy love that compelled Him to give it all away for His Bride.

He doesn’t simmer, like warm oatmeal. He also blazes, rumbles and billows. 

Stoner admits an intolerant, exclusive God is a tough sell in this why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along world, but he argues that we’re not supposed to be marketing Him. We sell Him short if we try to sell Him at all,  trying to make Him palatable to our culture. God is who He is. It’s up to us to conform to His image, not the other way around. Creating a god that suits us is nothing short of idolatry. 

Like I said, The God Who Smokes is a good book. It isn’t comfortable, but it is honest. Beyond that it helps us make peace with God, not just when he crowns us with compassion and lovingkindness, but when he explodes in white-hot judgment as only He has a right to do. 

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