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Introduction: How to approach this book

        In my circle of friends there was a phrase that got tossed around a lot, "Personal relationship with God." A fire was sparked inside me ever since I heard it. I wanted to know God the same way that Jesus did when he was on earth. Maybe I was asking for too much, but the desire was insatiable. This ache to know God would not be content with Status Quo Christianity. It refused to "Sit down and be quiet." It longed to kill the veil between God and me; to strip down the walls I so fruitlessly beat at. It was a yearning for intimacy.

This book is the product of that search, and has been around ten years in the making. During that time I have had a chance to read other books on this subject, (in fact I read every book I could get my hands on, in and out of print), and found for the most part that the most recent works were over 50 years-old, most over 100 years. Thus this book is an attempt to practically sketch out in non-encumbered modern language what it means to be intimate with God - how to develop and maintain a relationship with God.

        There are no flowery easy-answers here. After reading this book you will not find yourself in uninterrupted dialog with God, or enveloped in a constant heavenly stream of intense and ecstatic feelings. Paul said we see God here "through a glass darkly". Only in Heaven will our union be complete. After my search my heart still longs for Heaven where "I will fully know, even as I am fully known". Yet though it is unfinished, intimacy with God on this earth is still real, and to know God, even partially is indescribably life-wrenchingly amazing. In the end what I have found is trust. I know that God is here, now, and that I am loved, always.

        Like any relationship, our relationship with God will take time. This is a small book, and I suppose most people could go through it rather quickly. It is intended however to be read slowly, one chapter at a time - prayerfully. The paper is pretty intense reading, so you may want to go off-line after loading into your browser, or print it first and then read it. After reading each chapter, take some time to digest the concepts, and to be with God. It is easy to mentally assent to a concept or idea, but it takes work to live it. This work is building and developing our own relationship with God, and nothing - not this book or anything else - can replace that real interaction.

        While this book is intended to be practical, you won't find any diagrams telling you exactly how to pray. In the end this would be just as impractical as a book on romance that gives tips on making candlelight dinners "and other creative ideas." It's impractical because it's a copy of someone else's expression of love, and therefore often inauthentic. Instead I have tried to address the principles that hold true in relationships for all of us.

        As far as the language used, I have tried to find a vocabulary that communicated these concepts, without bringing in a lot of other cultural or religious baggage attached to certain words that might distract from the message's intent. I have also attempted to formulate the concepts in the way we think today. It is my prayer that this book would bring these truths closer to your understanding, and help you to grow closer to God.

so without further ado:
Table of Contents

Introduction: How to approach this book
The Gaze of the Soul
The Cornerstone Of Intimacy
Reckless Abandon
The Silence of God
Loving Others
A Selected Bibliography

[ introduction | first chapter ]