Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Nathan David Wilson unites the theology of God, speaker of Life into creation, with poetic prose and imagery that will be difficult to be rivaled. He paints a picture with words and allows the reader to contemplate how the seasons that God speaks each year in nature are significant and picturesque of human life (whether you are 4 or 104). You will discover that this author is a skilled debater and for a moment or two now and then you will wonder which side of the debate he’s on; however, if you give him the opportunity, you will discover his true position.

After I read the first three chapters, I began to feel as though I was on a tilt-a-whirl.  It’s not that the book moves fast, but it does move in circles.  I understood it quite well, I just felt dizzy.  I enjoyed all Wilson’s word pictures in the introduction.  I thought they’d be fun and exciting, but just like rides at the carnival can be fun at first and then make you feel sick, the constant motion of the book tends to do the same thing.  And twice in those early chapters I considered closing it and not picking it back up.  I know it’s just one word in one sentence and not even offensive to very many people, but that one word offended me and wasn’t really necessary.  And then near the end of chapter two, the author’s insights were really beginning to make me wonder how far left he was going to move.  This was, of course, before I discovered his gift for debate and his ability to present both sides of the argument.

As I moved on to chapters 4 and 5, I began to feel as though I was reading a long and never ending poem.  The prose and the word pictures are wonderful.  However, my need for a book to actually say something is greater than I might have ever imagined.  He is painting a picture, but I began to think it might be an abstract work.  Finally in chapter six I began to see a bit of logic to Wilson’s train of thought.  His style changed from poetry to debating and from word pictures to banter.  However, it’s a good switch for me because the change finally gives way to a legitimate Christian discussion.  He’s obviously not afraid to share the opposing side’s position, and he seems to have an answer for every angle. 

Although he continues with the poetic, whimsical feel, Wilson finally begins to reveal his message in the last half of the book. There is a timeless truth of who God is and how he creates. Wilson shares quite eloquently and with great skill his thoughts on the Creator, the evil in the world, the Son and the brevity of life. He makes no apologies for his beliefs, but somehow manages to paint them in such a way as to make you truly ponder them.

While there is remarkable truth in Wilson’s words, this is not a work that I may have finished had I not been determined to write this review. It is a book that is, in the author’s own words, “abnormal.” I honestly can’t say as to whether I would recommend it or not. I’m sure that some will absolutely love it and others will think it’s nonsense. I will tell you this: Should you decide to begin to read this picture of God’s spoken word and find yourself in the latter category, don’t give up on it too early. Wilson does share a marvelous truth and he does it in such a way that you may find yourself inspired.

Available online at Christian Book Distributors:

920073: Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God"s Spoken World Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World
By N.D. Wilson / Thomas Nelson

Have you ever wondered what such an outlandish world says about its Source? Trying to make sense of this carnival ride we call creation, Wilson takes a lighthearted look at everything from the “magic” of quantum physics to the problem of evil. His whimsical portraits will open your eyes to God’s story unfolding among us. 224 pages, softcover from Nelson.

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