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Book Review: Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer

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I can't believe I didn't review this book sooner.

Then again, I can believe, since this is one of those books that is read and then continues to work its way through the reader. Jim Palmer's Divine Nobodies walks us through his own journey with God. Along the way, he encounters unexpected friends who shape him in unexpected ways. I think that's what drew me into this book so deeply, the way he grows to not only welcome but to also expect those unexpected twists in his life. We are generally people who avoid the unknown, who explain away the mysterious. But Jim's come to embrace it somehow (you can still read the ongoing journey at his blog), to discover that God is speaking through these twists and turns to bring real and meaningful transformation.

Uncovering your true reasons for wanting God and learning God's real purpose for wanting you are a couple of revelations you need to have in order to get down heaven's road. The first requires a brutal self-honesty, and the second an elastic head and heart, both of which you sometimes need a little help acquiring.  (p. xxv)

The basic gist of the book is Jim's discovery of "a little help" God is using in "acquiring" the honesty and elasticity needed to grow. Reading the first chapter about his friend Kit, I was sincerely jealous, wanting to retreat to a place (and a friendship) where my questioning mind and searching doubts could find room to roam and play. Continuing on, Jim discovers truth in hip-hop, theological depth at Waffle House, and a servant's heart in a pastoral mechanic. Politics, homosexuality, death – all topics are fair game for God's use in molding and shaping us.

I couldn't find resources within myself to stop destructive patterns of thinking and relating. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I was a good (albeit tired) Christian, although on the inside I was the same guy with all the same junk continually longing for wholeness and freedom. (p. 95)

It's as if Jim wrote what I would've wanted to write had I been in his shoes on his journey. We've intersected, if not in the details then in the formulas, and I felt like I was reading an understanding heart being poured out in paperback.

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