“Enthusiasm” is defined by Word Origins and Their Romantic Stories as “the god within”. The Online Etymology Dictionary says it’s: “divinely inspired, possessed by a god”. That same online source defines an “enthusiast” as “one who believes himself possessed of divine revelations or special communication from God.”
Now enter the United Methodist Church’s Reverend Joe Donakey as he suggests the reversal of a classic adage to become: “Love is God”.
The authors of Why God Matters encourage new converts (as well as long time believers) to “recognize the constant presence of God within them.” Can we deduce that non-believers can/have experienced God — if they have experienced love?
Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert concede that “if you are reading this book, you already have at least a fledgling faith.” Their effort is not a Billy Graham “convert the sinners” effort, but rather an attempt to educate, encourage, and assist believers along the way on their spiritual journey. They think it’s important and they seem to enjoy “preaching to the choir.”
In the beginning, Fabian and Lumbert offer a simple exercise to “breathe in Christ” — it’s not a metaphor, but a real exercise. They suggest a one word prayer [“Je-” as you inhale, and “-sus” as you exhale] as a method to calm and focus yourself as you open your heart to the Holy Spirit.
Taking a queue from a great teacher, the deacon and his daughter illustrate the significance of God in their lives with a series of fourteen personal stories (parables?) supplemented with quotes from the Bible and some of their favorite Saints. These stories recount their own experiences in their spiritual journeys with faith, words, deeds, and of course, love.
And in the end, the authors offer suggested readings including web sites and other books. They also invite the readers to share their own stories at whygodmatters.com. Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life concludes with three prayers — the “Anima Christi,” “The Prayer of St. Francis,” and Deacon Steve’s “Prayer for Enlightenment.”
Would I buy Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life ? Yes. The stories are inspirational and will have special meaning to anyone who has experienced love whether they profess to be believers or not.