I remember reading Philip Yancey.
I’d turned to his work, Disappointment With God in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. By this point, I’d probably read myself to death trying to find reasonable answers to my questions about the subjugated role of women in the body of Christ.
Misogyny wasn’t my only problem with my faith. By this point in my Christian journey, my disappointment with god was running much deeper and broader.
I picked up Disappointment With God out of both curiosity and hope. The title struck me as intriguing and frankly, courageous. In my Christian circles, admitting dissatisfaction with god in any manner was touchy at best. We were taught that if there was any disappointment to be had, it was with ourselves. Not God.
But Yancey didn’t duck and hide from the hard questions: Is God unfair? Is he silent? Is he hidden? Sure, if I were to read it now through my lens of unbelief, I’d likely find the whole thing frustrating. None-the-less, I think his book is a ballsy attempt to address some impossible questions.
At the time that I read the book, I had spent years practicing mental gymnastics. God had to be in control. He had to be right. He had to be good. He had to be perfect. If a prayer failed, it could NOT be god’s fault. If the promises in the bible didn’t pan out, the problem had to be faulty interpretation. It just couldn’t be god. Twist the words if you have to … but for the love of god, don’t let him be a failure.
Yancey didn’t do that. And that fact alone was freeing, never mind how he ultimately answered the questions.
Yancey’s book didn’t help me settle my specific issues, but what it did do was key: it gave me the courage to face my doubts and question without excuses. Even more importantly, it eased my feelings of obligation to cover for god when he failed to show up and instead, dare to ask the question, “Why?”