When I was a teenager, one of my closest friends introduced me to the music of Bryan Duncan. I was hooked. His album, “Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend” was a main soundtrack of my life for a couple of years. As he created more albums, I followed along enjoying the unique style each one brought as he and his music grew.
Bryan went through a dark period in his life and is coming out the other side with a new perspective and a fresh outlook to ministry and calling.
Somehow, Bryan and I connected on Twitter a few months back, and I have greatly enjoyed following his humor. When he asked, if I would like an advanced digital copy of his new book, “Dear God…Really?“, I immediately accepted.
I have been reading it on and off since I received it. It is written as a series of short prayers to God. As such, it is not a book you just sit down and read cover to cover. It is a book you read and contemplate and go back and read some more. There is an edge to many of the prayers, but that is one of the things that makes it so good. It is raw. It is real. Too much in Christendom is sanitized and glossed over. We don’t deal enough with human emotion and the hard questions and feelings that so many have every day. In the introduction Bryan writes, “This book is a collection of prayers: what I really wanted to say before I edited them to make me appear more spiritual.”
This book deals with many of these things, but not with answers as much as wonderings and questions and just honest straight forward declaration. As such, the book is never “preachy” because Bryan is just speaking from the depths of the human condition trying to work out this journey through life by faith.
There will be a point (or probably points) for every reader where the prayer they are reading on the printed page will seem like it came straight from their own mind and heart. Bryan doesn’t hold back. His writing is beyond pretension and posturing. It goes straight to the issue of that prayer, that wondering, even that confusion. So many things in this life are confusing for our finite understanding and it is refreshing to know that we are not the only one dealing with it. Faith does not wrap everything up in a pretty bowed packaged. Faith goes on and trusts God in spite of chaos and confusion. The peace that passes understanding from God is a result of a faith that doesn’t wait for the resolution and pat answer.
These conclusions are reached, not because Bryan declares them, but because he leads us there in his writing as he gets there himself in the progression of the written prayers.
He opens the book with this statement, “The one thing all faiths have in common is the presence of reasonable doubt!”
He ends with a simple and great prayer that includes, “I don’t necessarily wanna pick my beliefs based on what makes me feel better. I don’t think the truth cares how I feel.”
For everyone struggling with the questions of life, this book is a great release. It also gives a good laugh as each of us finds some of the reality of our daily existence and the absurdity of what we sometimes do in our approach.
I definitely recommend this book and trust you will find it as entertaining yet profound as I do.