Lauren Winner has chosen an interesting premise for her book, Wearing God. She looks at the various metaphors the Bible uses for God but steers away from the ones we are more familiar with, such as King, Shepherd, Father. Instead she looks at the metaphors of clothing, smell, bread and vine, labouring woman, laughter and flame.
I liked exploring these metaphors as it provided insights into the character of God that I’m less familiar with and perhaps even uncomfortable with. Thinking of God as a labouring woman is quite disconcerting (Isaiah 42:14). However at times I felt, Lauren took the imagery a little too far. She quotes Carolyn Jane Bohler as saying, ‘To be useful, a metaphor for God needs to evoke [two] reactions at the same time: “Oh, yes, God is like that,” and, “Well, no, God is not quite like that”.’ I felt Lauren didn’t spend enough space on ‘God is not quite like that’. This is particularly evident towards the end of her book where Lauren is quoting Biblical passages about Israel being an unfaithful wife and impending judgement. I think it’s too much of a leap to refer to God as a ‘battering husband’.
Lauren is well-read and likes to quote other authors, particularly long-dead ones. Mostly I found these helpful but I was a little disappointed that she regularly finished a chapter with a prayer from one of these authors. I would have loved to have read her own prayer and therefore for own application of the material she presented. This would have been helpful for me in as I consider how to apply these metaphors to my own understanding of God.
Overall, though an insightful read.