|Friendship With God: An Uncommon
by Neale Donald Walsch
Neale ... grew up fearing God, especially after his mother, a neighborhood mystic, was caught reading cards for a friend. His mother was "trafficking with the devil," according to Walsch's deeply religious aunt, and as a result, "God will send her straight to hell."
That was the start of a relationship born of "fearship," as Walsch calls it. In Friendship with God, Walsh speaks to the struggles he's had learning to see God as a true friend rather than a punishing judge. Like his immensely popular Conversations with God series, Friendship with God is written mostly in dialogue format, modeling how anyone can converse with God. What makes the book especially accessible is Walsh's humble voice that gently addresses most people's confusion and doubts. For example, Walsh talks about feeling squeamish that God knows the shameful secrets of his life. In response, God points out that Walsh has shared his dark secrets with friends and lovers. So why not share these truths with God, who has never judged or punished him, and never will? These types of tender and reassuring conversations give readers the courage to begin their own private dialogues with the divine. --Gail Hudson
Communion With God
by Neale Donald Walsch
...moves beyond showing readers how to develop a friendship with God and instead offers a model for communion. Rather than using the dialog format, where Walsch shares personal conversations he has with God, he chose to write through the narrative voice of God--as if God were speaking directly to the reader. "I tell you this: You need nothing to survive," says God. "Your survival is guaranteed. I gave you everlasting life, and I never took it away from you." This format can feel a bit jarring, as if this was an attempt at channeling rather than Walsch's usual humble style of dialogue. Using a structure of top-10 illusions, Walsch has God speaking to illusions such as need, judgment, and superiority. At times God sounds scolding: "For I tell you this: Your idea of superiority could be the last mistake you ever make." Yet, the bottom-line message is that of unconditional love and the exhilarating promise of communion--a gift that is lavishly offered throughout the final chapters. --Gail Hudson