Thursday, February 7, 2013

Orthodox Thursday: Everywhere Present

Today in my segment, Orthodox Thursday, I am reviewing the book Everywhere Present by Fr. Stephen Freeman. Fr. Freeman is a blogger, like me, and a podcaster. His blog and podcast series share the same name, "Glory to God," and from my knowledge of listening and transcribing a few of his podcasts for Ancient Faith Radio, they share the same content as well. You should give one or both a chance.They do not disappoint in timely content as it relates to Orthodoxy and the current culture.

"Everywhere Present" is a short book, which discusses how our secular society has relegated God to a separate realm of His own. The book compares our view of the world to a house with two stories. On the "first story" is where man lives. God used to live on the first floor with us, but man has banished Him to the upstairs. Now, we ignore Him because we see Him as inaccessible, or, even worse, we question His existence altogether. Sadly, these viewpoints don't just belong to non-Christians but "Christians" as well.

There are several good sections in this book, including one on icons. I have a great love for iconography, so Fr. Freeman's explanations of the place and importance of icons in our world spoke to me. Icons truly do with pictures what the Bible does with words. However, the best section came at the end when Fr. Freeman gave seven suggestions on how to "overcome the false sense of distance of God." The most important of the seven is simply giving thanks to God for everything. This isn't easy as there are lots of bad things that happen to us and others, but we must still be thankful to God for everything.

This book definitely does not disappoint. It challenged my view of the world and God in the world. Even though, I believe in God, I fear I can be guilty of not recognizing God's ever-presence in all things. The book was an easy and quick read, but anytime I think that, I believe that I need to re-read the book slower and try to glean more from it. If I had one gripe to make, it would be that you feel that Fr. Freeman repeats himself a bit in his writing. For that reason, I am giving this book 4 stars. However, I would still recommend buying it, reading it, and reading it again.