I have a pretty low tolerance for trite. So when I read a book, I’m looking for new. It’s as if I read hungry, ready to devour original ideas, creative stories, and well-crafted metaphors. Reading “When God Becomes Small” by Phil Needham has been a feast!
It was clear from the very beginning...actually BEFORE the beginning. In the preface, where I read, “Many people recognize a discrepancy between the God of their beliefs and the God they experience.” I knew immediately that this book was something special.
The book’s 153 pages unabashedly examines the conceptual chasm between “our attraction to more and better” and the small, intimate, personal character of God.
To put it as succinctly as possible, “Jesus honors and celebrates the little things. Our current society honors and celebrates the big things.”
Needham believes that the unending quest for more and bigger and grander pervades our world, and has distorted the Gospel, changed the mission of the church, and created “perversions of Christianity” that repel people from Jesus in record numbers.
He encourages followers of Jesus to give up our “obsession with greatness” and be liberated by “the small.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is counter-cultural, subversive, and ought to invert our priorities, aligning them with a God who does not stay aloof and distant, but becomes small and enters the world in small moments, in small places, through small people.
The book isn’t a “how-to” manual, with the seven steps for doing this or that. The book is an invitation. It invites followers of Jesus to slow down, to notice God in intimacy and subtlety, and to experience the liberation that comes from “falling in love with the small.”
“When God Becomes Small” is excellent for personal devotion and illumination. It would also be a good resource for a small group to use for spiritual formation. The ideas are fresh and evocative, and Needham’s writing style is accessible and inviting.
Although just 153 pages, it may take you a while to read. But that’s only because you’ll have to put it down every few pages to reflect on the amazing insight you have just read. As you read “When God Becomes Small,” you will, I am hopeful, gain new insights into the God of your experience and into the person that God desires you to become.