Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box

Opening Up to a Limitless Faith

Anne Robertson

Apr/2005, 112 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

ISBN-13: 9780819221780



What’s in your God-box? Each of us, says author Anne Robertson, builds our own way of understanding God—our “God-box”-- and fills it up with bits of scripture, wisdom, and our experiences of God at work in our lives. It’s a perfectly good way to puzzle out what God means to us. Encountering God through our human limitations, we learn something about the meaning of Incarnation. But to say that our experience of God is the only valid one is to put a lid on the box and create an idol. This book is about examining our God-boxes and bursting them wide open. Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box starts with the ministry of Jesus – who blew the lid off everyone’s God-box by constantly challenging his followers with the unexpected. Subsequent chapters examine the God-boxes we create with scripture, worship, and political and social agendas. In a world marked by extremism on both the right and left, the author calls readers to spiritual balance as they learn to integrate others’ experiences of God, rather than insisting on their own.

Anne Robertson, author of Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box and God's Top Ten, is executive director of the historic Massachusetts Bible Society and a United Methodist minister, active in her conference. She lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.



"Gracefully and persuasively, Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box is in the tradition of the prophets. We need our words, our worship, our scriptures, and our images for God. Through them we can be blessed and strengthened for ministry. But, as Anne Robertson incisively reminds us, God is always more."--Episcopal Bishop Frederick H. Borsch is Professor of New Testament and Chair of Anglican Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
"I went from reading as the superior teacher to reading as an eager learner. Anne Robertson uses the central metaphor extremely well, and I think her vision is both liberating and healing." –Luke Timothy Johnson Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins Candler School of Theology Emory University
"In both her writing and preaching, Anne Robertson connects with readers and listeners through a transparent honesty and faithful re-casting of scriptural truths in straightforward contemporary language. As a result, her first book, Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box, is a model of the balanced and integrative approach to spiritual maturity that she commends to others. "In many ways, without a conscious attempt at being so, Ms. Robertson's book is a worthy successor to Your God Is Too Small, JB Phillips's devotional classic from a previous generation. Their similar thesis, namely, that the reality of God is always more expansive than our limited human experience of the divine, is always relevant and needful of fresh restatement for the benefit of both believers and skeptics. "Although she doesn't use the term, Ms. Robertson is particularly adept at describing the ‘third alternative' characteristic of her Wesleyan theological heritage. In doing so, she steers a course for spiritual growth that avoids the pitfalls of religious extremism while appreciating the complementary gifts of both the theological Left and Right. "Ms. Robertson's book is a welcome contribution at a time when some of the world's harshest conflicts seem stuck in uncompromising "either-or" ways of thinking and acting, often as a consequence of absolutizing or (to use Ms. Robertson's terms) "making an idol" or "God-box" of one's particular view of God. "At such a time, ‘blowing the lid off the God-box,' that is, becoming open to multiple experiences and expressions of God's presence, describes more than a step on the individual journey toward spiritual growth; its widespread implementation may be essential for human survival." --Stephen Swecker, Editor, Zion's Herald
"God is alive and constantly doing a new thing in and beyond our boxes and tombs. Anne Robertson reminds us, in very practical ways, that Christ lives and goes before us. Fear not and embrace a faith that is dynamic, humble and joyously living in the truth and mysteries of God."--Peter D. Weaver
"This is a thoughtful, scripture-based book that encourages readers to blow open the lids of their God-box to find a broader, more open understanding of God and others."--United Methodist Catalyst, March 2005
"This book attempts to broaden understanding of God and one another."--Candler School of Theology
"Faith can be richer when ideas about and images of God are not limited. She believes that each image of God offers a different perspective, which can be used to generate dialogue that could enrich people's lives and lead to a more peaceful and fulfilling existence.--Kristin Sawyer for Seacoastonline
"Christianity is all about a God who broke out of the tomb. God is not going to stay in any box made by people. That can be frightening. But it is reassuring, too. When God is at the center, Robertson concludes, all attention is focused on God. Then we can be open to new interpretations and free to refine anything--including our worship, ideas and beliefs."-Lisa Reuter, The Columbus Dispatch, July 8, 2005
"...insightful and provacative." "What I appreciate about this book is the author's fearlessness in tackling big issues through the metaphor of the God-Box." "...a really funny read." "Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box is a treasure of a book. It will appeal to those whose job it is to interpret faith as well as those who may be just beginning to explore their faith journey." --Kathleen LaCamera is a freelance writer, reviewed for Zion's Herald, July/August 2005
" Anne Robertson takes off in this brilliant, brief book with a passtionate call to open up our God-boxes, the things we use to try to contain God. The God-box is a refreshing metaphor in a book that enthusiastically invites renewal. For a diocese like New Hampshire, in the midst of a re-imagining process, Robertson's book is jut the ticket."--New Hampshire Episcopal News, September 2005
"She writes with gentle humor, disarming candor and a love for the people God has called her to pastor...this is a profoundly hopeful little book."-Scott Campbell, pastor of Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts
"I highly recommend this book to all congregational libraries."--Church and Synagogue Libraries
"In less than a hundred pages she covers a world of images or concepts we have about God. ever wider the lid of our God-boxes so that no lid can seal the Spirit of God in or out."--School of Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
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