God in a Box
Outskirts Press (2013)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (03/15)
“God in a Box” by Marion Pember begins with the author’s clarification that he is not a scholar, just a well-read person in the subject. He then presents definitions for “box” and “God” before telling the reader a little of his religious background. At the end of the first chapter he warns the reader about the God he will be presenting next, as it is not your regular point of view. By this time Pember had me hooked. The book continues to present a very personal and unique way of seeing religion, spirituality and God, through Pember’s own journey through literature on the matter, as well as discussions with pastors, chaplains, and other people that would listen and share their own views in healthy conversations. Calling himself a recovering fundamentalist and ultimately a Christian agnostic, he evolves from his Christian beginnings to a complex and holistic belief system which follows logic as a way of interpretation in his journey to find out the true meaning of believing in God. Make no mistake, there is a profound criticism of Fundamentalism, yet I think it is necessary to listen, whether you agree with the interpretation or not. I can summarize what I took from this read, without knowing it had been applied on my own journey through religion, and is something Pember said at the beginning about why Churches are losing so many congregants. According to him it is because people can’t have faith in their hearts when they can’t believe it in their mind.
I found Marion Pember’s writing style to be clear and direct. He doesn’t sound preachy, nor does it sounds like he holds a grudge towards the Church he grew up in, like many books I had read from author’s who have gone through similar belief journeys. He actually sounds genuine and forgiving, as someone who understands his past as part of his current point of view. The formatting of the book is somewhat chronological as well, as it goes from basic concepts to specific points of what he understands Gods to be, and his admittance that there are things he can’t know for sure. Somewhere within his journey the reader will find thought provoking ideas that will speak to them.
Overall, “God in a Box” by Marion Pember is a book filled with ideas that can serve as some kind of guide for those who are going through the journey of making sense of their own belief box. I definitely will recommend this book as a spiritual builder and an inspiring read that will enrich everyone’s God box