God is loser friendly.
That is both the title of and the premise behind DayBreak Community Church Pastor Tim Callaway’s latest book.
“My book revolves around this notion that people who have grown up in the church have about God being this old man with a beard sitting up in Heaven waiting for us to make a mistake so he can smack us with a cosmic fly swatter,” says Callaway.
“In God is Loser Friendly – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Me, I explore the fact that in the Book of Genesis, all of the people mentioned in the title were major screw ups and God doesn’t berate them for stepping out of line. He doesn’t even reprimand them. He basically just says, ‘Whatever, I’m going to bless you and love you anyway.’”
The book has been in the making for 25 years, since Callaway watched a PBS special in the late ’90s that revolved around a similar conversation by leaders of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
“When we put aside our preconceived notions and assumptions and simply concentrate on the text of the Book of Genesis, we see that these great icons of the faith really weren’t nice people at all,” says Callaway.
“If we are in touch with our own insufficiencies and are honest with ourselves, we all have days where we feel like losers and God is tolerant and permissive and gracious anyway.”
He says he uses the dictionary definition of a loser, which defines it as “someone who has a penchant for doing wrong again and again.”
Over the years, he would put the idea of writing the book aside, but the concept kept coming up in conversation and he decided it needed to be written.
“I didn’t want to write something that only appeals to ‘church people,’” he says.
“It is really geared towards anyone who has any interest in re-evaluating what they have been taught about God.”
Callaway has written two other academic books in years past but says this is his first that involves some humour. God is Loser Friendly – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Me came out in November and is available on Amazon.
Callaway is currently working on another book that he hopes to release sometime this year.
With a working title of Living with Unanswered Questions, the book is a collection of stories about the people he has met over his 35 years as a pastor that have undergone traumatic challenges.
“It is taking the old story of the Book of Job and applying it to these stories that leave people with questions they will have for the rest of their lives,” he says.
He gives the example of a member of his congregation that lost her husband in a terrible car accident and was left to raise five children as well as a family whose son shot and killed his father.
“We tend to live in a society where we think every problem is solvable,” says Callaway.
“These are complex realities and although some religious leaders just cough up answers and expect people to accept them, for some questions, we just don’t get the answer in this lifetime.”