A Look at a Book
BOOK REVIEW: The Spontaneous You by Norman Grubb
The Spontaneous You, published in 1966, was written on the threshold of this modern era, yet at a point in time that seems eerily distant as we sense Norman’s incredulity when "some claim that physical life will soon be produced in a test tube." However, his opening juxtaposition of man’s rejection of answers from without and his quest for answers within is almost disconcertingly up-to-date. The Total Truth, which Norman so astutely gleaned and taught from Scriptures, is the transforming realization that God is the Universal Spirit; He is the Within One. God is the Person manifested through persons.
God is Spirit. He is love. So, too, He is absolute freedom. Freedom, Norman explains, before the Fall, simply equaled right choice. Therefore, God is right choice. The key to the liberating joy of this book is that "God is actually the love between us when we are just spontaneously loving one another without consciousness of Him at all." As God is completely spontaneous, once we come to live from the fixed inner consciousness-attained at our "personal Pentecost"–that we are joined at our spirit centre with Him, we, too, are spontaneous: "not living by effort, compulsion, law or dutiful obedience." What a relief!
But how do we get to that place in which the fact of God as spontaneous love becomes personal? In Chapter 6, most appropriately entitled, "That Clever God," Norman begins to answer that question. Firstly, he explains, "There is no secular and spiritual with God. All is basically spiritual…"; so a perfectly designed moment of "awakening or disillusionment, or sense of need or lack" brings us to choose God’s way. We are saved!
Then there follows "a stage we all have to pass through when we are miserable Christians and…think we were happier in the old life than in the new!" In this stage of "temporary self-depreciation" we realise that we are unable to live as we are are told we ought-"the wilderness experience." This second crisis ends only when we surrender to the "I AM" and totally abandon the "I ought" We embark on the third state of our journey in faith when we accept the Christ!! union: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Then, in "true self-appreciation," living from Him in our spirit centre, we become natural, automatic, spontaneous vessels of Christ’s love.
Norman’s definition of the "spontaneous you" needs no embellishment or comment: "All that we distinctly know that life should be-purpose, adventure, usefulness, gaiety, seriousness, harmony, ultimate meaning every faculty of mind and body ‘tasked to its highest,’ limitless in outreach-all is ours….Joy is an apt way of putting in one word all that life at its fullest should mean to us." In Chapter 12, he expands: "So we live, relaxed in the sense of not questioning who we are or what we are, but being ourselves….We live as fully emancipated human beings, which we are, running our own affairs: we ourselves know and are conscious of a kind of envelopment of light within, the inner subconscious presence like the flowing of an underground stream."
An inspired feature of this work is how Norman uses just the right image to capture an elusive point. For example, in Chapter 3, he pictures the self as fire. Unharnessed, in wrong use, fire consumes itself and is an agent of destruction-just as self-for-self living is; on the other hand, fire, when it surrenders its energy, becomes a source of light and life for others–so, too, is self-for-others living. Similarly, I really savoured the description of mankind as "stolen from God," the gospels as the account of "the restoration of right ownership," the re-birth as God’s love regaining "His stolen property" by removing "the false possessor." In Chapter 13, he continues in the same vein: "We are not God’s liabilities, we are God’s assets."
So, in ninety short pages, Norman Grubb makes conclusive sense of all human history since creation, and then, in the final chapters, he poses "the great why"–or what purpose to we attain spontaneity? With a perfectly circular sweep, Norman answers that question with precisely the same truth he presented in the opening chapters: God is love. Our spontaneous living "is wholly for God’s saving purposes by us in others." "Every situation we are in God puts us in, and it has some saving purpose in it." ‘We are exactly positioned, everyone of us, appointed from before the foundation of the world to be just where we are and what we are–to fill some gap, make up some hedge" Yes, exactly!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 14 No 1
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Tony’s Testimony
- Zerubbabel Focus: Z Youth!
- British Conference Report
- Musings on the British Conference
- Bible Study: Undiscovered Self
- Body, Soul, and Spirit
- Questions & Answers
- Area Fellowship News: Boone
- The Mailbox
- Tape Talk
- New York Conference Report
- Youth Report: Fall Harvest in New York
- Anatomy of Unbelief
- Need–Evidence of Supply
- Words to Live By…