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Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir

( 17 )

Overview

Disillusioned, disenfranchised, and disinterested in anything churchy, Susan E. Isaacs knew of only one thing to do when she hit spiritual rock bottom at age 40. . . . She took God to couples counseling.
In this cuttingly poignant memoir, Susan E. Isaacs chronicles her rocky relationship with the Almighty?from early childhood to midlife crisis?and all the churches where she and God tried to make a home: Pentecostals, Slackers for Jesus, and the ?ber-intellectuals who turned ...

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Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir

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Overview

Disillusioned, disenfranchised, and disinterested in anything churchy, Susan E. Isaacs knew of only one thing to do when she hit spiritual rock bottom at age 40. . . . She took God to couples counseling.
In this cuttingly poignant memoir, Susan E. Isaacs chronicles her rocky relationship with the Almightyfrom early childhood to midlife crisis—and all the churches where she and God tried to make a home: Pentecostals, Slackers for Jesus, and the über-intellectuals who turned everything, including the weekly church announcements, into a three-point sermon. Casting herself as the neglected spouse, Susan faces her inner nag and the ridiculous expectations she put on Godsome her own, and some from her "crazy in-laws" at church. Originally staged as a solo show in New York and Los Angeles, ANGRY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD is a cheeky, heartfelt memoir that, even at its most scandalous, is still an affirmation of faith.

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Editorial Reviews

actor Tony Hale
"Face it, folks, the church is made up of messed-up people all trying to deal with life. I appreciate writers like Susan who creatively face their issues with honesty and humor. ANGRY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD is a really fun read."
actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan
"Susan's brilliant comic idea of taking God to couples therapy is a terrific framework for the story of her personal journey of faith."
New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jaz Donald Miller
"If King David were a woman, and were funny, he'd be Susan Isaacs. And the thing about this book is it surprises you. There are lines in it you won't see coming. You'll be handing this book to somebody else about a month from now thinking, Maybe this will help them understand me. You'll do that because it helped you understand yourself first."
From the Publisher
"If King David were a woman, and were funny, he'd be Susan Isaacs. And the thing about this book is it surprises you. There are lines in it you won't see coming. You'll be handing this book to somebody else about a month from now thinking, Maybe this will help them understand me. You'll do that because it helped you understand yourself first."—Donald Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz

"Face it, folks, the church is made up of messed-up people all trying to deal with life. I appreciate writers like Susan who creatively face their issues with honesty and humor. ANGRY CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD is a really fun read."—Tony Hale, actor

"Susan's brilliant comic idea of taking God to couples therapy is a terrific framework for the story of her personal journey of faith."—Jim Gaffigan, actor and comedian

"Funny, biting, earthy and brilliant."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

God in couples counseling? Sounds sacrilegious, but in the adept hands of comedian, writer and actress Isaacs, it's a success. Isaacs reached bottom at age 40: no job, no boyfriend, no home. Of course, she blamed God. So off they went to counseling with the ever-patient therapist Rudy. Isaacs moves easily between recounting her life story and her counseling sessions. She describes encounters with the Nice Jesus of her Lutheran upbringing; the "Oakie" Pentecostal church and the militant counselor; the "Rock-n-Roll" church and the "Orthopraxy, Dude" church, plus her rocky acting career and her love life, including guilt-ridden sex and Mostly Mister Right. Isaacs readily admits to being snarky, but she's honest about her quest and its conclusion: "I saw now all too clearly why I had married God: for the power and the glory. For the money." Isaacs goes on a Job-like search for explanations from God, but instead finds the problem to be her. She's funny, biting, earthy and brilliant. (Mar. 12)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446555449
  • Publisher: FaithWords
  • Publication date: 3/7/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 418,585
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan E. Isaacs is a comedian, actress, and writer with many credits in TV, film, stage, and radio. She is an alumna of the Groundlings comedy troupe and contributing essayist for NPR's Weekend America. She has written specials for DirecTV & is a contributing essayist for Sit N Spin at the Comedy Central Stage and Show and Tell at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Susan teaches screenwriting for the Act One Program and has spoken at Pepperdine University's Screenwriting Weekend, International Arts Movement, and Inter-Mission: NY. She and her husband, Larry Wilson, live in Los Angeles. For more information, go to www.susanisaacs.net.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Suddenly Susan!

    This book wasn't what I expected. The author, Susan Isaacs, is a moderately successful actress/writer/comedienne who has worked on movies and TV shows you would be familiar with. Why don't you know her on a first name basis? That is part of the fuel for the fire of this book. In telling her lack-of-success story Susan is "snarky," her cover is cute, and even her book title is clever. I imagined that it would be a humorous read, something fluffy like Oreo filling that I could enjoy between the hard shell theology books on my plate. But this ended up being a book that has significant substance.

    Sometimes I get the impression that the Christian authors I read just want to sell books, to see their name on a book spine, or to appear to the rest of us that they are ahead of the pack. They produce books full of outlines that if followed will solve all the answers to church growth problems, deal with leadership issues, nail down how to live as a modern Christian in the post-modern world, and provide seven steps to get to whatever. And though I'm sure there is much value in these attempts, sometimes I just want to relate to someone who is asking the same questions that I am.

    Susan has some questions; like when her pastor encouraged her not to act in a film that was too dark, but then later used the same movie in a sermon illustration once it was released; and when all the people around her found the success that she didn't; and when all the relationships she invested in came up bankrupt; and when each of the churches she attended became cliché, full of hype, and self-serving; and especially when Susan decided that the God she knew was nothing but cruel.

    This isn't a book about blame. Susan takes accountability for her issues and her honesty about them will make some readers blush. Other readers may not be embarrassed but will envy Susan of her candor and freedom. And some readers will admire that Susan was brave enough to drag the God she was married to into couple's therapy.

    That is one of the things that make's Susan's memoir different than the others I've read lately. After writing about a chapter in her life, Susan, God and her counselor have a discussion on how they feel about what has just been shared. It is a like hiding in a closet listening to your sister and her husband verbally vomit on their therapist. But if you're like me, if you open the closet enough to peer out, instead of seeing Susan in the room you may just see yourself.

    Who is this book for?

    * People whose dreams and ambitions are stuck in neutral.
    * People who believe in God but aren't so sure that he loves them.
    * People who feel angry at God- not irreverent, just angry.
    * People who don't have the answers to all of life's questions.
    * And even people who think they have all the answers and would like to set Susan straight- she has a special place in her heart for you. (Yes, that was snarky.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Unique idea--God in Couple's Counseling

    This is one of my favorite Christian books of all time. Susan Isaacs' clever idea to bring God into couple counseling and allows us to "listen" was hilarious. In Angry Conversations with God, much is said that most Christians think, but would hesitate to say to other believers.

    I loved this book. It's witty. It's inspiring with the ache of truth of our doubts about God's love for us. After reading it, I listened to it on my ipod. Both versions were good. If you are looking for a fresh look at your relationship with God, then read Angry Conversations with God. It especially works if you are a "middle-class white girl."

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    Hated it!

    I couldn't get past the complaining and whining! She is mad at God because she is no longer with her boyfriend with whom she was living. Really? Did you really think God is going to bless an immoral relationship? She whined that all of her friends were leaving for fabulous universities all over the world, while this poor darling had to go to UC Irvine. Poor baby. She needed to get our of herself, focus on what is important, and do it. I couldn't take it. Our small group was going through this book, and I told them I would come back when they were done. The one thing it does offer is that God is available for conversations, BUT you have have to sit, be still, and know that He is God, He loves you, and is willing to have a relationship with you on His terms--not yours.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Angry Conversations lead to a wonderful relationship with God!

    Susan Isaacs does a marvelous job of sharing her struggle with faith in the midst of real life. Her writing style is engaging and warm. You will find yourself in the midst of her relationship with God and as she shares her "conversations" you will continue (or begin for the first time) your own. You will cry and cheer with Susan as she takes you on her journey.
    In addtion to being a simply delightful read, I think it is important reading for church leaders who want to make a difference in the years to come (I won't use the word relevant ~ once you read the book you'll know why).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Couple Counseling

    A honest, self-revealing journey in faith.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Critique

    Against my own unwillingness to crack open a book I wasn't too terribly interested in reading, I'm so glad that I did. Angry Conversations with God is a "snarky", sarcastic, easy, casual, fun read. The book tip toes (and occasionally dives) into the chronological life of author, writer, comedian, actress, and Christian Susan E. Isaacs. She deals with things like her up-and-down acting career; lackluster love life; and her self-proclaimed "middle-class, white girl problems" (36). She takes the Lord to "couples counseling" over His seeming neglect; and the result is her own hilariously, honest spiritual memoir. As a reader, you get to see Isaacs bounce between New York City and Los Angeles while looking for any work she can get. She makes it into The Groundlings, a prestigious L.A. comedy school. She performs with a comedy sketch group alongside Arrested Development's Tony Hale; and among the bit parts that she lands, she is cast in a memorable episode of Seinfeld in the '90s as Judy. In the end, by using her humor and sassy remarks, Isaacs manages to nail some of the desperate realities of letting God run her life. She not only answers the question of "why do bad things happen to good people," but manages to encourage the reader to challenge his or her own seemingly difficult life questions. She shows the face of God for who He really is, darkness and all. Isaacs does not shy away from these harder issues of faith. Instead, through her unflinching work, she proves that God was really much bigger and greater than she ever gave Him credit for; and not in some sappy Christian Book store sort of way.
    Although the book was technically a spiritual memoir, I was a bit let down by the fact that she didn't go into much detail about her actual spiritual journey. Don't get me wrong, Issacs' does a great job at detailing her life journey and the feelings she had for God in those moments, but she herself doesn't take much responsibility in truly getting to know him through things "normal" Christians might delight in (such as church, religious events, functions, ect). I personally believe I enjoyed the book so much because I could easily see similarities in my thought process and hers. She asked many of the same questions that I find myself asking, she took a lot of risks, and made it clear that she wasn't going to let anyone sway her ideas and happiness. Through it all, she remained positive and never fully gave up on the God that she loved and trusted so much.
    If I could change one thing about this book it would be the title; and even then I don't think I would even bother changing that. If I could rename it, I would call it Practical Conversations with God. The reason I was drawn to this book to begin with is because I have had some angry conversations with God myself. I figured I could relate to her. While she chronicles her highs, she is equally as candid about her lows. She goes into detail about how she unwittingly became an alcoholic. She slips in how she suffered from an eating disorder; she even takes you through her family issues, and all the while she's able to make you laugh, often at her own expense. "We never should have let you skip half-day kindergarden; you're immature; you're irresponsible; you will never amount to anything," (54) being one example of how her father spoke to her. I feel that Isaacs' has a gift not only in her writing, but in the way she can convey such seriousness peppered with humor. I didn't want

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great book for anyone that wants to understand God in a very verbal, "Hey, I'm right here on the couch with you", sort of way.

    This book really stood out to me one day, just casually looking at the Christian book section. I usually don't see alot of books that have such a playful cover, and a loud message to back it up. The title of the book was so practical, and honest, that I had to see what it was about. After reading the journey that the writer took I was amazed. She was just trying to understand how to have a real conversation with Jesus. I, like many other Christians seem to either yell and bicker at God, or bow down low, and whisper, afraid of him. This book was exactly what I needed to hear from another Christian. The idea of bringing the God in your head, the God of the Bible, and the God in between on one couch was incredible. By the end of the book, the author had made leaps and bounds from where she started with God. She finally started seeing that God was not her father, boyfriend, or any other harmful influence in her life. She started to see that God was on her side all the time, and it was easy to just hang out with him. I think this book is a keeper for anyone who needs to laugh. For anyone who is sick of the religious, stern, cold perception of Jesus. This book took God out of the box, and literally on my bed laughing. I felt like someone else understood me, and my anger at God! P.S. It does have a happy ending:)

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    Everything Happens for a Reason

    At times in our life, when things don't go according to plan, there are those that will quote the adage:
    "Everything Happens for a Reason".
    But what mystical reasoning could there be for the loss of a loved one, separating from the person of your dreams, or the failure of your career and business endeavors.

    Susan Isaacs faces these issues and more and wants to know why. Her faith speaks of God's attributes and love but she wrestles with seeing it in a visible way. In her quest to find answers she decides to take God to "Marriage Counseling". What follows, is nothing short of honest brilliant hilarity.

    You'll laugh and perhaps cry, but ultimately walk away with a deeper sense and understanding that everything really does happen for a reason. And that you are never really alone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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