Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Angry Conversations With God by Susan E. Isaacs

This is the best spiritual memoir I have read in years. The subtitle reads” A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir. Snarky it is (rudely sarcastic or critical). And authentic it is. Those two qualities captured me.

This gives you an idea of Isaacs' motive in writing this book and her writing style: “I decided to write this book; that it would serve as a record of counseling sessions with this God whom I loved, whom I could not escape, and with whim I was very, very pissed off.” (8)

She wanted to be successful in television and film. She also wanted a boyfriend. At one point in her life, she had a decision to make. She loved Jack but Jack did not love Jesus. “I had to choose. I'd rather have Jesus and be physically alone than be with Jack and be spiritually alone. Give me Jesus.” (183)

Isaacs takes us through her failed relationships, her failed attempts at getting a break in the entertainment industry, and her failed attempts of finding a church that did not drive her crazy. “I just can't endure one more forty-five-minute worship set followed by one more three-point sermon on 'How to Be Better.' I don't want to be better. I want Jesus?” (201)

Isaacs is refreshingly honest in this memoir. She shares her struggles with sex (and losing, many times). She writes about her antagonistic relationship with God and creates counseling sessions where she and God try to talk it out. She openly relates her frustrations with the dilemmas of the Christian life.

This is not a sugar coated account. She honestly shares her turmoils. But in the end she could write, “God put me on a barbecue spit and burned off every bit of diseased flesh until there was nothing left but dry bones. Now he is putting new flesh and new breath back into me. What's next? Only God knows.” (238)

She shares insight. “For a moment I felt awe for a God who loved me enough to hate the things that hurt me without hating me for causing them.” (215) She gives us food for thought. “If your theology can't work in Darfur, it can't work anywhere.” (217)

I recommend this book. Hers is not a neat and tidy Christian life. But she is authentic. She continued to pursue the God with whom she was so pissed off. And when she found Him, He hadn't changed. She had.

Susan E. Isaacs is a writer and performer with credits in TV, film, stage, and radio. She has an MFA in screenwriting from USC and is an alumnus of The Groundlings. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. You can find out more about her at

FaithWords, 242 pages.

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