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What God Can Do for You Now: For Seekers Who Want to Believe

What God Can Do for You Now: For Seekers Who Want to Believe

5.0 2
by Robert Levine

It is easy to believe God has abandoned us.

In atrocities from Hitler's Germany to today's Darfur, the meek and the poor are left to fend for themselves. In the United States, we are menaced by violent terrorists who claim to act in God's name. Our own neighbors threaten us with an absolute choice between faith and a fiery path to hell.

Robert Levine


It is easy to believe God has abandoned us.

In atrocities from Hitler's Germany to today's Darfur, the meek and the poor are left to fend for themselves. In the United States, we are menaced by violent terrorists who claim to act in God's name. Our own neighbors threaten us with an absolute choice between faith and a fiery path to hell.

Robert Levine steps into the fray with What God Can Do For You Now. A leading American clergyman, he asks us to commit to a relationship with a loving God. We can create a trusting partnership with the Almighty, give time to prayer, and strive to repair the world. In a time when genocide and terrorism wreak their terrible toll, he convinces us that the potential for tragedy exists alongside the potential for miracles, every day and every where.

When we rekindle our faith in God, we rekindle our belief in our own goodness, and start the change we need to repair ourselves and the world.

Praise for What God Can Do For You Now
"Rabbi Robert Levine understands that there are lots of reasons 'to harbor supreme doubts' about God - he's honest enough to admit to the struggles he's had. Jews and Christians will encounter the joy of this scholarly and down-to-earth Rabbi. As we act godly and find God, miracles happen again."
- The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

"Perhaps there is no more painful question than, 'How could God let this happen to me?' Rabbi Robert Levine presents us with critical tools in facing this mystery of life. He brings meaning to a life that oft en appears meaningless."
- Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Board of Rabbis

"This book helps one reconnect if hope and faith is ever lost in our God, spiritually and naturally. Rabbi Levine shares his connection and faith in our God. All things are possible if you only believe."
- Rev. Dr. Renee F. Washington Gardner, Senior Pastor of Memorial Pastor Church in Harlem

"Rabbi Robert Levine allows the longings for a connection to God of those whom he has served to be heard and he does not hesitate to reveal his own struggles. This book is a precious and ultimately comforting contribution to all who engage in the eternal and perplexing quest for nearness to God."
- Rabbi David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion

"An important book for people of all faiths who look for the reality of God in their lives. It comes at a critical time in interfaith dialogue. Rabbi Robert Levine is a major religious leader in New York City who has been an advocate for the poor, social justice, and civil rights. His faith and compassion shows."
- The Ven. Michael S. Kendall, Archdeacon for Mission, The Episcopal Diocese of New York, Former President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York

Product Details

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6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Is There Any Way We Can Believe in God Today?

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD ENDED one Passover night. That Seder meal was in fact different from all others in a very real sense. In every previous year, as my grandfather chanted every Hebrew word from the chicken-stained Haggadah text, my cousins and I would distract ourselves from boredom and hunger with a variety of games and pranks. The Passover following my Bar Mitzvah, however, I started to really pay attention.

As the plagues descended upon Egypt, my consciousness snapped to attention. I felt genuine outrage when I read in the Haggadah that the God who heard the suffering from our people would "pass through the land of Egypt on that night and [would] smite the firstborn in the land of Egypt from man to beast...I and not an angel, not a messenger, I and no other, will execute judgment."

To free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, the Haggadah was saying God murdered the babies! Of course, the Passover narrative was not a new story to me, but somehow, that day, this divine retribution penetrated my senses as a startling revelation.

Perhaps I should not have been so shocked by my own reaction. After all, many reasons exist to harbor supreme doubts concerning the God we read about in the Hebrew or Christian Bible. You probably share some of these and could add your own healthy dose of skepticism. Here is a good starter list of reasons to doubt God's very existence:
- The biblical God seemed to have a close, direct, and personal relationship with scriptural heroes like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. God "spoke" to them all the time. In all my years, I have not had my first one-on-one with God. So, if there is a God, why doesn't He talk to us now like He talked to them?

- God appeared to have performed countless miracles thousands of years ago, like dividing the Sea of Reeds and engineering the virgin birth. Because God is on record as a performer of such highly unlikely feats and because, seemingly, they have ceased to take place in our day, God must not be around anymore to actively hone His craft.

- Life disappoints, sometimes in tragic ways. People who are pretty confirmed agnostics have made requests of God at one time or another. These petitions range from the rather inconsequential-help me with the science test that I did not study for-to the consequential-even though my son has a pretty lousy SAT score, I should have enough contacts to get him into the Ivy League school I attended, but one more letter of reference from a really high-up source can't hurt-to the truly momentous-"Please, God, save my father from suffering and death." When these requests are not granted, we often feel angry and betrayed. Asking "Why do bad things happen to good people?" rarely produces salutary results. If the answer is "It's God's will," God gets dissed. If the answer is "God did not come through," God gets dismissed. Either way, whatever belief we have been able to muster can disappear very fast.

- The state of the world hardly reflects God's love and care for us. There's a story told about a man who hired a tailor to make a pair of pants. Every week, he stopped in to find out how his pants were coming along, only to find they were not yet ready. Finally, totally exasperated, he blurted out: "I can't believe this is taking so long. After all, God made the world in six days, but you can't make a lousy pair of pants in six weeks." "Yes," the tailor replied as he slowly worked on his unfinished sartorial masterpiece, "but look at the world and look at my pants."

Take a good look at our planet. Terrorism, the war in Iraq, massive slaughter and genocide in Darfur, and other man-made atrocities are leading indicators of a world in need of a makeover or a miracle. If there is a God, why is His masterpiece such a mess? The Holocaust is still the greatest challenge to the existence of God. The Bible says that God made the Jews His treasured people. If that is true, why were they selected for genocide? The Holocaust was so devastating to the Jews and their faith that little was written about this unbearable tragedy until 1958, when Elie Wiesel published a riveting account of his experiences at Auschwitz in his first book, Night. In this autobiographical account, Wiesel relates a poignant scene in which three people were hung in the assembly place-one being a child with a refined and beautiful face.

"Where is God? Where is He?" someone behind Wiesel asked... For more than a half hour, the child stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony. He was still alive when Wiesel passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet glazed. Wiesel continues: "Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
'Where is God now?'
"I heard a voice within me answer him:
'Where is He? Here He is-He is hanging here on this gallows...'
That night, the soup tasted of corpses."

Powerful narrative, powerful challenge to God and belief. This is the very package of theological doubts I carried with me through college, even through the year I spent studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. All through that period, I continued my observance of many Jewish practices: I kept kosher, observed holidays, and prayed regularly. Such practices gave me a structure, solid grounding beneath my faith. Candidly, however, that prayer was not usually directed to a powerful, transcendent God. Even when I had a sense of the divine during services, I felt God more as a searing presence inside, a force that would not be denied, a type of guiding power. Yet, I did not feel I could petition or even give thanks to this God because I had no real relationship with Him. That bond ended one Seder night years ago, and neither of us could yet find our way back to the other.

Meet the Author

Rabbi Levine leads the congregation of Rodeph Shalom, one of the largest reform synagogues in New York. He is the President of the New York Board of Rabbis, Chairman of the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue of the Archdiocese of New York, and one of New York's most active interfaith clergymen. He has played a significant role in restoring millions of dollars to New York City centers for homeless and other services. A frequent television guest, he has appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Crossfire, CBS's The Early Show, and argued with Mel Gibson that The Passion of Christ is a gross distortion of history. He is the author of two other books. The first, Where are You When I Need You?: Defending God When Life Hurts, and There is No Messiah, and You're It: The Steady Transformation of Judaism's Most Provocative Idea, Jewish Lights, 2003.

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What God Can Do for You Now: For Seekers Who Want to Believe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe in God and im proud of it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Iove you