cover image How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God

How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God

Ian Punnett. Harmony, $20 (128p) ISBN 978-0-307-98603-0

Punnett, a radio host and Episcopal deacon, goes against the conventional religious grain by not only arguing that it’s okay to be angry with God, but also showing readers how. He takes pains to demonstrate that his view is solidly based in the Bible, citing figures who contended with God (Moses, Job) and the numerous “cursing psalms” in which the distraught psalmist asks God to break the teeth of his enemy or dash their little ones against a rock. He even suggests that the Bible’s original Hebrew and Greek included a few pretty salty terms. A chapter on psychology is rather simple; indeed, so is the theology. Yet his central point is delightfully honest and subversive: take anger out on God, not a colleague, underling, or loved one. Most moving are prayers Punnett has collected from real people in difficult situations (“God, send me some love, and if you could dial back the suffering stuff a little”). This heartfelt little book is the answer to many prayers. (May 1)