I hesitate to write a book review about A Big-Enough God : an artful theology (Mowbray, 1995) because I have to admit the author, Sara Maitland, lost me quite a few times. Yet there was something delightful about the way Sara writes that made me want to finish reading it. The material in the book was originally put together as four lectures. The four lectures have become four chapters and they seem quite disconnected from each other or maybe I’ve just failed to see the connection. As I was reading I could imagine Sara delivering these lectures with great flourish, charm and humour which is quite surprising given that I’ve never heard her speak. She comes at her subject from an artist point of view. She is a Catholic and a feminist theologian which together provides an interesting frame of reference and one that is unfamiliar to me.
The thing that kept me reading was every now and then she would discuss an idea that I found particularly insightful. For example, in the last chapter she was discussing joy and developing the idea God made us to experience joy. When we are feeling miserable we are being abnormal and the thoughts we have are therefore inaccurate. Since joy is normal the thoughts we have when we are in a positive frame of mind are more likely to be true. Meaning, if you are feeling a bit down don’t believe your negative thoughts. Remind yourself that you do not think this way when you are happy. I found this to be good advice though not always easy to put into practice.
Overall I was surprised and enlighten to discover that I shared so much common ground with someone from a completely different theological and academic perspective.