3 out of 4 stars
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I have read a number of near-death experience books over the years because they are fascinating. Usually, someone sees a light with a tunnel, and they end up in a beautiful oasis and visit with those who have gone on before them. Each recounting seems to have the same sort of semblance to one another; however, because we are all uniquely created, there may be some elements that exist in one and not in another. Overall, stories such as these give readers a feeling of hope as life can seem downright challenging to manage and to think that there is an afterlife beyond this with no worries or problems to handle sounds like a dream come true.
In his book God In My Head, Joshua Steven Grisetti has put together a unique perspective on his encounter with the Almighty. Raised in a Southern Baptist home, the author was accustomed to fire and brimstone messages that many times left him wondering why God hated him so much. To add fuel to this outlook, he had an affliction that started when he was a child and followed him throughout his adult years making him think he had committed a shameful sin to bring about his suffering. This left him isolated with these emotions because it wasn't acceptable to think or speak of any other reason as to why he was going through such physical and mental torment. By the age of sixteen, he had full-blown anxiety over this issue along with post-traumatic stress response. He coped by taking occasional prescription medicine and mixing it with alcohol to get through some of the painful procedures.
It was during one of these drugged up moments as an adult he recalls leaving the environment he was in and being met by the Creator of all. He claims that he was not dead, but he was in his subconscious. God shared the secrets of the universe with him as they chatted. At this point in his life, he had turned his back on all of his upbringings because it had been so rigid and as he matured, he began to question why he had been taught certain things that didn't hold up under his scrutiny. He was shocked to know at that moment that God was real, and He was more than willing to oblige his every question with an answer whether his mind could understand it or not.
The first part of the book is painful to read due to all that he endured throughout his years. However, his writing style is so humorous I found myself laughing out loud. This is the section I liked the most because it gives a good background on the author's childhood years and the family dynamics centering on religion. His father was more strict about the rules while his mom bent them slightly, so that is how he came to gulp down some pills accompanied by her white wine that was in the refrigerator.
There were some explanations where I agreed with the author as far as how God loves humanity, wants to see us succeed and cheers us on as we walk our path of faith. Also, I wholeheartedly concur that many churches harm people by manipulation of scriptures and extortion of funds. It sounds like I am speaking of the mafia, but sadly this is how some are operated. There were just as many places in the book where his views and mine parted ways entirely concerning the birth of Jesus and salvation. In some aspects, I felt like God was watered down and seemed weak, and that did not resonate with me.
In a few sections, the author gives warnings that those who are Christian are going to slam the book shut and forget it. In the same sentence, he mentions those who are atheist or agnostic are going to follow suit. I pressed on as I had committed myself to read and to give this a fair review. And, I asked myself this question: What good are my beliefs if I don't challenge them from time to time? This is the heart of this book. He tells readers they can stop reading. He states repeatedly that many are not going to believe what he has to say because one of the biggest things he doesn't have going for him is proof. He can only tell what happened to him and it would seem he has thrown all caution to the wind. The opinion of others seem not to bother him, and this experience has set him free from trying to please other people.
I don't fully know who would like this book because as I mentioned earlier he states that this could offend a wide range of people due to its hodgepodge of hot-button issues. By the end of the book, I thought that the New Age community would be most impressed by what he reports. My suggestion for all others is to read this with discerning eyes, take what is valuable and toss the rest aside. The humor was beyond anything I had ever read about this topic. He is a fun writer in the way he expresses himself, and it would be a shame to overlook that aspect of the material.
Because I found myself cringing at times where what he suggested seemed a bit too far out for me, I am giving this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I understand that another reader may have given this one star while another would award it a four. This book treads into waters where people hold tradition near and dear, so to up end dogma and religiosity for one individual could cause great anger while it may be music to the ears for another.
I found a few spacing errors in the material, but they were minor and did not take away from the quality of the writing, so it would seem that this has been professionally edited.
On a final summation of this novel, I will end with this: A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
God In My Head
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