Aloof, a book review

– Andy Wade –

Aloof: figuring out life with a God who hidesWith apologies to Tony, I really didn’t like this book. It’s not Tony’s fault. Aloof is beautifully written with stories that invite you in and cause you to think. But I didn’t like it!

Well, let me be a bit more forthcoming, My frustration was not with Tony or the book at all, it was with me. As I read these pages I was moved by his ability to tell his story with brutal honesty and artistic brush strokes. And although our stories are very different, many of the questions and lessons are similar. I want to be able to write like that!

Aloof: Figuring Out Life with a God Who Hides, is a book I had difficulty putting down. Over and over again I was captivated by stories that gave permission to ask questions and to wrestle with them, hip (and nose) out of joint, but battling on and through the pain. As I read I discovered not just new aspects of Tony’s story I was unaware of but was also pulled deeper into my own story. Hastily crafted answers to my own questions resurfaced, were challenged, and were re-examined in light of Tony’s willingness to scrape away the scales from his own eyes.

In the midst of our own narrative we’re often unable to sense the presence of God. Far off, distant, aloof, God sometimes (often?) seems to hide. Yet with hindsight we see those places where the fine, sometimes nearly invisible, grace of God is woven into the fabric of our story. Perhaps this is one of the greatest gifts of this book. If we’re paying attention with eyes that transcend our present circumstance, we might just recognize the times when God’s aloofness is actually an invitation to a deeper, more honest relationship with the people and creation around us.

Five stars, two thumbs up, and a poke in the eye.

TONY IS HUSBAND TO Aimee, father to three courageous and creative boys, unofficial ambassador of his beloved Portland, devoted to his neighborhood, honored by his communal household, and a friend to the religious and irreligious alike. Tony is also a professor at Warner Pacific College. You can read Tony’s blog at