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Angry Conversations with God
by Susan E. Isaacs

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"Blending an imaginary couples counseling session “because God and Susan were not getting along” with her refreshingly raw, highly volatile autobiography, Angry Conversations with God is a must read!"

The old school line of thinking would state that Angry Conversations with God by Susan Issacs borders on blasphemy or being sacrilegious. They might even put it on the banned book list. Although raised in that old school mindset, I found Angry Conversations with God transparently honest, painfully truthful and overflowing with redemptive value. Although not her intention, Susan Issacs is not afraid of offending fellow believers knee deep in the comfortable and safe.

Blending an imaginary couples counseling session “because God and Susan were not getting along” with her refreshingly raw, highly volatile autobiography, Angry Conversations with God is a must read! In this deeply personal retelling of her therapeutic journey, Isaacs is transformed when the easily created “God” in her mind is slowly replaced by the real God of unconditional love as she rediscovers mercy so amazing in Jesus.

Issacs is definitely crotchety and sarcastic in her approach to remembering her past . . . thus the “snarky but authentic spiritual memoir.” This girl can write . . . and has done so in a variety of diverse media. The dialogue between Isaacs, God, Jesus (with Rudy, a counselor as moderator) is candid, touching and downright hilarious. At times, I would have enjoyed reading more of the counseling session dialogue instead of going back to her life’s story although her approach was well-balanced. Here’s a snippet of one of the more tender sessions:

Susan: “But is it God who’s showing up? Or is this all just my imagination?

Rudy: “You said it yourself: even your skewed ideas have truth in them. I wonder if there’s someone responsible for the shift in your image of God.”

Susan: “The Holy Spirit. Maybe he’s here too. Maybe there’s some comfort in that.”

Susan’s story is vaguely familiar with Matthew Paul Turner’s recollection of his childhood in Churched in that the church reeked its havoc on her while growing up. Her humor disarms tough topics like darkness, church life and alcohol, eating disorders and sex which all conflicted with her faith, family and career choice. As the reader, you can’t help but be pulled deeper into her story.

There are too many of her insights that could be quoted in this review so I’ll just share a few revealing chapter titles: “The Nice Jesus on Every Wall,” “Breaking Up over Dentistry,” “Cheating on Jesus,” and “New Lease, New Life, New York.” Isaacs's two chapters “My Own Private September 11” and “God’s Scorched-Earth Policy” were her most poignant thoughts and stirred within me an empathy for her as well as a reflection of me and others in my life.
Don’t hesitate to pick up a copy of Angry Conversations with God immediately if not sooner. You will not be disappointed!

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Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.