by Martin B. Copenhaver
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 152 pages
Long-time pastor and newly minted seminary president, Martin Copenhaver offers brief meditations on growing in the Christian life. Grounded in Scripture and experience, Copenhaver is easy to read but never superficial. Reflecting on the great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews 12, he writes with respect for the people that have helped him grow as he lived among them as pastor and teacher. Describing his mother’s habit of buying him clothes that he could grow into, Copenhaver compares that to the daily habit of putting on Christ and growing into his likeness. He states without reservation, “I want to take up the paradoxes of the Christian faith. If that paradox doesn’t remain when I’m finished, or even if I unwittingly diminish the tension of that paradox somewhere along the way, I have failed.” For him, paradox is indispensably at the center of our relationship with God. That is the starting point for his reflections on paradoxical closeness and distance we have with God. “The same God who can shake the very foundations of the earth also comes to us like a re-assuring tap on the shoulder. Scripture maintains the paradox.” And so he leads us into Exodus 33 when the poignant conversation occurs with Moses and God that contains both the intense intimacy and holy distance of God. The book is a a rich set of such reflections.