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Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir Hardcover – March 12, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. God in couples counseling? Sounds sacrilegious, but in the adept hands of comedian, writer and actress Isaacs, it's a success. Isaacs reached bottom at age 40: no job, no boyfriend, no home. Of course, she blamed God. So off they went to counseling with the ever-patient therapist Rudy. Isaacs moves easily between recounting her life story and her counseling sessions. She describes encounters with the Nice Jesus of her Lutheran upbringing; the Oakie Pentecostal church and the militant counselor; the Rock-n-Roll church and the Orthopraxy, Dude church, plus her rocky acting career and her love life, including guilt-ridden sex and Mostly Mister Right. Isaacs readily admits to being snarky, but she's honest about her quest and its conclusion: I saw now all too clearly why I had married God: for the power and the glory. For the money. Isaacs goes on a Job-like search for explanations from God, but instead finds the problem to be her. She's funny, biting, earthy and brilliant. (Mar. 12)
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"If King David were a woman, and were funny, he'd be Susan Isaacs. And the thing about this book is it surprises you. There are lines in it you won't see coming. You'll be handing this book to somebody else about a month from now thinking, Maybe this will help them understand me. You'll do that because it helped you understand yourself first." (Donald Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz)
"Susan's brilliant comic idea of taking God to couples therapy is a terrific framework for the story of her personal journey of faith." (Jim Gaffigan, actor and comedian)
"Face it, folks, the church is made up of messed-up people all trying to deal with life. I appreciate writers like Susan who creatively face their issues with honesty and humor. ANGRY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD is a really fun read." (Tony Hale, actor)
Top customer reviews
When Susan realized that God was sad because she only married God for his money... WOW what a moment. He just wants to be loved for who He is as he loves us and wants us to love each other.
It was very good. Such a blessing and a must read. It will change how you relate to others, teach you to forgive yourself and others. I also love the part when they talked about forgiveness. Forgiveness means give the blame and hurt to God and allow him to heal the hurt and correct the wrong in any situation.
First the author is primarily an actress or even more narrowly a sketch comedic actress with serious improve skills. That background is the ground of why this book is so entertaining. It is not a traditional narrative nor does it have unduly long and introspective sections. The author's command of what is the core emotional point, where is the heart-rending funny and quick pacing keep the book moving and entertaining.
The surprising depth comes from two points. The first is that the author, like any great comedian, is unflinching when going for the jugular. What makes that amazing is the she is going after God's jugular and her own. In mythical language this is a modern day Jacob wrestling with God through the night. The second depth is that even though this is the tale of "middle-class white girl problems" as the author calls it, they are her problems and they force what Christianity would call a dark night of the soul. The humor of that juxtaposition is not lost on the author, but she tells her story with such vim and pathos that you recognize the universal condition. At one point she summarizes her problem as "the man who's stuck in the desert because God put him there looks exactly like the man who's stuck in the desert because he's lost. And I don't know which one I am. I don't know if I'm here to find friendship with God, or if I've been left to die (loc 2924)."
What starts as a potential cliché of marriage counseling with God becomes a lively and deeply honest wrestling. Does this faith that the author has carried since childhood as a gift from her mother die, or is it cleansed, renewed and blessed? What emerges from the book is both a picture of a mature and maturing faith and a highly personal and living faith. And that is hidden in, with and under the form of a funny read.
I see aspects of myself in Susan and her struggle to find a consistent relationship with Jesus/God/Holy Spirit. The book chronicles the up's and down's in her spiritual relationship with God. The excitement of finding Jesus, the enthusiasm of "rebirth and renewing", the questions about who and where is God. Is he with us? Why don't we feel it sometimes? Why can't we find a solid church that has "normal" people?
Susan's Protestant, Lutheran upbringing important to the story. Her point of view is 100% Protestant; the churches that she tries are non-denominational, Lutheran and Baptist. I am curious how a Catholic would see her point-of-view.
If you're on the fence, wondering if this is worth the $8.00 and time to read the book, then DO IT.
Extra interest is added to the mix by Isaac's modestly successful attempts to make it in Hollywood and on television, given her prodigious comedic talents (Isaacs has appeared in small roles on shows such as Seinfeld and My Name is Earl).
Susan Isaacs deals humorously and poignantly with the specific views of the Godhead that a few bumps in the road reveal to be the one she has ended up with, in which God the Father is perpetually sarcastic, vengeful, closed and unsatisfied, while the Son is wimpy and ineffectual, and the Spirit is not part of the equation. She tries out a series of the flakiest of Californian churches, and Christians with the best intentions, finding ultimately that her problem lies between her and her God and must be sorted out on that level. Funny and sad, all at the same time.