The "Tough Questions" that Christopher Wright's book addresses are as old as the hills. But his clear, honest approach and dialogue with these imponderables of the faith is skillfully fresh, accessible and relevant to both the scholar and non-scholar. Freeing himself of evangelical platitudes and simple solutions, Wright portrays tough questions as they should be portrayed: "really tough." But what is so refreshing about the book is already expressed in the title and subtitle: The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith. He doesn't promise all the answers from the get go. He promises reflections, of which he delivers thoughtfully, articulately, prayerfully, and pastorally.
Allow me to give some examples. In his introduction, Wright begins by clarifying that there are different types of "not understanding." Often, we simply put "understanding" in the theoretical world, but we experience non-understanding in a variety of ways including grief, emotional pain, puzzlement and even gratitude. This is a simple, yet profound insight by which he begins his book.
Wright acknowledges the agony of evil's influence in the world. For us, it simply does not make sense. Rather than postulating a rationally sound theodicy, however, he turns the tables. For Wright, it is actually a good thing that evil does not make sense to us because "sense" is a good part of our rationality that is part of the image of God in us. Evil has nothing to do with "sense"-- that is, it is completely beyond our rational notions! (p. 42)
But Wright never leaves the reader in hopelessness. He guards the ugliness of evil's offense and violation of all we know to be good, while equally affirming the goodness of God and the hope of complete redemption.
I have only a few incidental criticisms. Wright frequently quotes Scripture and often includes significant portions of text. This is distracting at times from the flow of the book. (Of course, quoting Scripture too often is a sin easily forgivable!) Some may also object to his perhaps too-hastily expressed eschatological positions (e.g. see p. 169, pp. 199ff.), or generalizations with respect to postmodernity (see pp. 136-38). But these are minor grievances compared to the richness this book offers.