The paradoxes in the Christian faith are many. Christ is fully God and fully human. God is Three and God is One. The Bible is God’s Word but written by humans. Jen Michel is fully aware of these in Surprised by Paradox. But instead of doctrinal paradoxes she focuses on those surrounding how we live out our faith.
In the kingdom of God we are to give our money and possessions freely—but thank God because he has “richly provided us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17). John the Baptist was a desert prophet. Jesus partied with sinners. Paradoxically, the kingdom life embodies both.
Michel also tells us, “Grace is the unmerited favor of God—and paradoxically, Moses seems to think God’s people are entitled to it”—even when we are disobedient because after all, without it we wouldn’t be your people as you have made us. (p. 112). In God’s anger over sin, he is patient toward us.
Given that there are more Psalms of lament than any other kind, God apparently approves of confronting him with what we think is wrong with the way he runs the world. When we complain to God, rather than pulling away from God, we engage God deeply.
Too often we want to tidy up our faith so everything fits in its own neat box so we can be secure and comfortable. That is not, however, the life God has given us. Opening some of these mysteries is the book Jen Michel has given us.