“I found Paradox Lost to be a fantastic introduction to the topics of paradox and mystery. I think you’re right in the overall arc of the book, that paradox leads us into the mystery of God and should be something we embrace, not shy away from. I found the pastoral implications of this point to be truly poignant for our day and age. In a time where we feel the overwhelming need to place everything in a nice, clean-cut category, mystery often is neglected. Much to our detriment, however.”Grant Flynn
I’m delighted to share this book review in a venerable Presbyterian magazine. To read or share it with others, just click on the image above.
Click on the image above to listen to my stimulating conversation about the differences between faith and reason with Neil Stavem on his Faith Radio program “Connecting Faith.”
I also spoke with Susie Larson on her Faith Radio program “Live the Promise” about living through some of the paradoxical events life throws at us. You can listen to my interview here.
Click on the image above to listen to this great conversation on how different generations, especially Millennials, are engaging the mystery of God today with Ministry Matters, a website with 90,000 followers.
I also had an interview on Point of View, a conservative Christian talk radio show that is heard by 1.4 million listeners nationwide. You will find a video of that interview here. (Note: since I was the second hour guest, advance it to the 46 minute where my interview begins).
I got to use your book in a wonderful way with two students struggling with a crisis of faith at Wheaton College where I was teaching. We were talking about Scripture’s meaning and reliability, and I showed them the table in your book comparing the Bible and Koran. I encouraged them to look at your book. Thought you’d be encouraged!Andrew DeCort
I am enjoying reading Paradox Lost: Rediscovering the Mystery of God as a part of my morning devotional time. Each chapter has been an invitation to allow God to speak to my soul in fresh new ways. I will be purchasing a copy for each of the owners and CEOs of the companies where I serve as a corporate chaplain. This book provides such an easy and natural way to begin great spiritual conversations about the playful genius of Jesus.Paul Gendron
As a coach and teacher, I try to make sense of the world and help others gain clarity as well. There are some experiences that just can’t be made sense of. Life is a mystery sometimes.My friend, Rich Hansen, just release a book called Paradox Lost: Rediscovering the Mystery of God where he explores Biblical paradox. We spoke together about how paradox shows up in coaching and in life. Read more…Keith Webb
I have waited to post this review for a long time. I’ve been aware of this book a number of years, first hearing about it in conversations with the author who was being deeply touched by the mystery of God. Then through the writing process as he put those thoughts down and finally through the publication process. Today it is finally being released by Zondervan and I can finally recommend it to you. read more….Wayne Jacobsen
This week a friend and former missionary to Ethiopia launched his first book. It is Paradox Lost: Rediscovering the Mystery of God, by Richard Hansen. This volume is serious reading but is well worth the purchase. I met Richard and Marilyn Hansen in Ethiopia where they taught and served the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The way Richard Hansen interacted with his students at the seminary in Ethiopia is instructive for us in our Christian life in several ways. Read more…Jeff Ritchie
To celebrate the launch, I asked Rich if I could interview him about the project.
GNH: Now that your book is all grown up and heading out into the world, what would you say is its mission? What do you want to happen in your readers’ lives?
RICH HANSEN: My passion is to engage with the growing number of people who want to wrestle with the paradoxes of life and faith rather than be handed pat answers or simplistic formulas. Thus, my primary audience is “thinking Christians”—believers who sense there is more still out there for them and want to keep exploring their faith. My secondary audience I would call “seekers”—folks interested in spiritual questions who may have been turned off by an anti-intellectual style of Christianity that did not take their doubts seriously. Read more…Gary Hansen
Truly a “eureka” book. If you’ve ever wondered how human free will and the will of God can coexist, or any number of apparent contradictions in the Bible can be resolved, here are your answers. DAVID WINTER, Hon. Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; former Head of Religious Broadcasting, BBC
With perception and depth, Hansen describes the paradoxes of the Christian faith and life. In doing so, he leads us to a deeper understanding of discipleship that includes humility and confidence and, above all, grace. An invaluable aid for our lifelong journey of following Jesus. PAUL E. PIERSON, Dean Emeritus, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rooted in Scripture at every turn, this profound book comes as a fresh wind, refreshing the mind and showing he way to the depth of knowing and being known that we all long for. Hansen’s timely and prophetic book lifts our eyes to see how we more truly can be the people of God. JAMES STARR, Professor of New Testament, Johannelund School of Theology, Sweden
Meet a very serious pastor, a world missionary and a deeply searching scholar. You will never be ashamed of paradox again. And Jesus Christ, the Paradox par excellence, will be more revered than ever. FREDERICK DALE BRUNER, Wason Professor Emeritus of Religion, Whitworth University; author, A Theology of the Holy Spirit
What is paradox? Why a book about it?
The essence of paradox is the tension created by bringing seemingly opposite ideas into relationship with each other, and such tensions are prominent throughout Scripture. What I hope to offer are ways we can recognize these paradoxical tensions, reflect on them, and ultimately harness them as “windows” into knowing God better. The purpose of my book is to reclaim and embrace biblical paradox as a means by which we can more fully experience the mystery of God.
Paradox sounds too intellectual or impractical. Is it?
In America today, the Christian faith is often presented as “practical answers to meet my felt needs”—i.e. God exists to solve my problems and make my life better. While God certainly does meet our needs, our most basic need according to Scripture is simply ““that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). To me, nothing is more practical than knowing God! By wrestling with the paradoxes I write about, I hope readers will come to know God more deeply, especially the God of the Bible who is more awesomely mysterious than the consumer-oriented, problem-solving God we often settle for today.
Who might buy this book or enjoy it as a gift?
My primary audience is “thinking Christians”—believers who sense there is more still out there for them and want to keep exploring their faith. It is really a book for spiritual explorers. My secondary audience I might call “seekers”—folks interested in spiritual questions who may have been turned off if they encountered an anti-intellectual style of Christianity that did not take their doubts or questions seriously. Both audiences can, I believe, profit greatly from the book.
Do you discuss modern day paradoxes outside the Bible?
Absolutely! I work hard using biblical paradox to shine a spotlight on all the paradoxical tensions everyone constantly lives within every day. Indeed, I think ordinary life is quite paradoxical today on any number of fronts. For example, America is tragically polarized today precisely because we have lost the paradox the ancient Greeks knew well—truth often exists in the tension between opposite extremes. To live successfully in the 21st century, we will all need to become more comfortable living within paradox.
What's a paradox that has strengthened your own faith?
Two that have helped me immensely are the paradox of the Trinity (God is Three, yet One) and the paradox of the Incarnation (Jesus is 100% human, yet 100% God). Both have forced me to not settle for easy, simplistic answers in my faith. Both, oddly enough, have immense practical value for daily living once we stop trying to “solve” them and instead look through them. This drive to use biblical paradoxes as windows through which we see God more deeply and truly is the theme of the book.
Over my 35 years of pastoral ministry, and especially in the last few years, I have regularly encountered a deep longing to connect with the awesome mystery of God…people who suspect God is far larger than their personal ticket to heaven or to a better life.
Paradox Lost speaks to this growing appetite to welcome, ponder, and even enjoy the mystery of God. My goal is not to look at biblical paradox (and especially not try to solve, justify or rationalize it) but rather to look through it to better see what it reveals—namely a holy, mysterious, awesome God.
I invite you to see if my book speaks to your needs, or those of your friends. I also welcome your comments and feedback. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org