Cover Image: Curveball


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

So I’m a big fan of Pete Enns and the Bible for Normal People. Not a big sports fan, so the curveball metaphor was a challenge for me to get into. However, Enns is a great writer, so I got over it and enjoyed his take on how we respond to challenges and changes in our faith journey.

Was this review helpful?

I have come to respect Enns' work immensely over the years. I have been looking forward to this book and also putting it off in equal measures because I knew it would challenge me and make me really think deeply about my beliefs. I was certainly correct, but I'm so glad I took the time to read it. Enns' gives readers glimpses into 'curveballs' that he's encountered in his own life and the winding roads theve taken him down. So, while I found this book challenging, I also found it hopeful and encouraging.

Was this review helpful?

When it comes to your faith, can you ignore your experiences?

Pete Enns had a promising future in professional baseball…until life sent him the curveball of a blown elbow. Now what? The experience changed the trajectory of his life. And eventually his faith.

“I thought God behaved a certain way. I found out God doesn’t. So, now what would I do? What did I think about God? That question was no longer academic. It would shape my journey of faith for the rest of my life, for other blown elbows would come.”

Our experiences can’t be discounted. They are valuable learning tools. As Pete discovered,

“I came to understand that my understanding of God was not adequate for handling reality. My crushed dream was an invitation—actually, an offer I couldn’t refuse—to recognize that I had been laboring under a small view of God.”

In this book, Pete encourages us to not fear adjusting our views of God. He doesn’t direct us how to do it or in which direction to go, but he reassures us it is normal and healthy thing to do.

“Our job is to try to be willing to stay awake to what our experiences are telling us about this better God and to make adjustments when necessary.”

This book won’t be for everyone. Pete goes into a lot of scientific stuff about the expansiveness of the universe, etc. I got lost in a few places. But as with all books, I take what it helpful, and leave what is not. I highly recommend it.

More Quotes from Curveball

“How we understand God has ramifications for how we treat others.”

“Wrestling with God may leave us limping, but it transforms our understanding of who God is. We see God better after the struggle.”

“These four things—scripture, tradition, reason, and experience—work together.”

“When we show love to one another, a lot changes.”

“In my own life, I have been surprised so often by who reflects the love of God to me that I’ve stopped being surprised.”

My thanks to NetGalley + HarperOne for the review copy of Curveball.

Was this review helpful?

I had previously read Pete's other books (The Sin of Certainty and The Bible Tells Me So) and loved both of them. Enns is a Biblical Professor and scholar (and fellow Yankee fan!) and yet comes at his faith in a way that always feels refreshing and freeing to me. You realize early on in the book that he isn't your normal Bible scholar when he recounts the story of talking to his refrigerator about whether Abraham was a real person.

This latest book may be my favorite of them yet. I would sum up the essential argument of the book with this quote:

"I firmly believe that how we make God intelligible today cannot rest simply on how others made God intelligible yesterday. As the universe continues to expand beyond our imaginations, so too must our understanding of God."

So many people act as if we should figure God out and then dogmatically defend that view for the rest of our lives. As I often joke about on our Forest and the Trees podcast, this usually ends up turning you into a 'theobro.'

Instead, Pete invites us into mystery and awe and humility to acknowledge we must always keep working on our understanding of who God is.

"...all of us could use a vision of God that we cannot control and a faith that invites us to embrace the not-knowing that mystery demands."

My biggest criticism of the book is that I felt the title was slightly misleading. In my opinion, this is primarily a book about how to keep your views of God growing. Sometimes, the motivation for that is a ‘curveball’ in your life. But even if you’re not experiencing any curveballs at all, you’d still benefit immensely from taking Enns' perspective to heart. It seems Pete may have thought others could have this feeling too, which might explain why he offers an alternate subtitle to the book on the cover: "How I Stumbled and Tripped My Way to Finding a Bigger God."

Curveball or not, this book invites you to experience God with fresh eyes.

"I have come to think, as have so many others in the course of history, that the goal of Christian faith is the experience of God, not the comprehension of God."

"What if God the Creator is ever-present in and around us, and every waking moment of our lives is an opportunity to grasp a slightly clearer picture of the Infinite Mystery?"

This is a book I'd easily recommend to anyone. It will cause you to sharpen much of what you think about God, the Bible, faith, and even life in general.

Was this review helpful?

I have read most of Enns' books and I must say, I think this is my favorite yet. Curveball helped me look at issues through new perspectives. He has a way of explaining things that makes sense to me. It feels as if he's truly trying to share his journey with others and not just get people to believe they way they "should" believe, which is what most mainstream authors are writing. I appreciate his perspectives and authenticity.

Was this review helpful?

In "Curveball," Pete Enns invites readers on a journey of discovery and spiritual growth. Through his down-to-earth writing style and provocative insights, Enns challenges readers to think deeply about their faith and embrace the mysteries of Christianity with grace and humility. If you're looking for a book that will inspire and nourish your soul, this is it. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from one of the most respected voices in Christianity today.

Was this review helpful?

If there's a key gift that Peter Enns has, it's in taking the really complex issues of faith and turning them into something that feels accessible and relatable.

This gift manifests in abundance in "Curveball: When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming (or How I stumbled and Tripped My Way to Finding a Bigger God)," Enns's latest exploration of how our faith must evolve as our understanding of the world deepens.

It's likely obvious from the title, but "Curveball" looks at exactly that - life's curveballs and how they impact our faith. Enns explores a world of devastating personal losses and world tragedies that can, and probably should, impact our faith. These curveballs can leave us doubting God, doubting the Bible, and questioning our faith. In a surprisingly simple manner, Enns encourages us to embrace these doubts and reservations. He provides us a myriad of examples of his own questioning the Bible and his own beliefs, however, he argues that these are vital processes within the journey of faith as they lead us toward a stronger, lasting faith. With "Curveball," Enns essentially argues that God is bigger and more mysterious than anyone's expectations and we need a faith that strives to become bigger and willing to dig into those mysteries.

I will confess that I didn't have quite the "Aha!" moments that I expected from "Curveball," a book that felt extraordinarily familiar to my own faith journey. "Curveball," for me, has been an easygoing, comfortable read that didn't quite challenge me on the level that I hoped even if it did, in fact, affirm many aspects of my own faith journey and my own willingness to question, challenge, and even criticize aspects of the faith journey.

In some ways, I think this is because Enns tends to go more universal than personal. As someone who has experienced a great amount of trauma in my life journey, I kept hoping that Enns would somehow dig into these types of life-changing experiences and how they impact faith. Instead, Enns tended to lean into broader curveballs with one chapter even delving into quantum physics.

That's about as universal as it gets.

However, for those who've experienced Enns through "How the Bible Actually Works" and "The Bible Tells Me So," "Curveball" is going to be a richening of these discussions and a valuable companion to them as Enns takes conversations that Christians far too often aren't having and makes them safe for honest, authentic dialogue.

If you've ever been scared or intimidated to explore all the questions about faith that you've had, "Curveball" will be both coach and mentor as you learn to open yourself up to the fullness of a God who longs to be in a deeper and more meaningful relationship with you that meets you exactly where you're at.

Was this review helpful?