Not hidden, but misunderstood: Tony Kriz’s “Aloof”
Whenever I write a review for a book, I do not usually worry over word choice. A review is a simply that, a review. But every once in a while, I pick up a book (or a book is placed in my lap) which I suddenly feel paralyzed writing about because it is so good that I am worried that my words will fall short of painting an accurate picture of the book; Tony Kriz’s Aloof happens to be one of those books.
Readers familiar with the works of Tony Kriz will be familiar with his writing style; Tony weaves together a collection of narratives which when put together make the sum parts of a puzzle much larger than any of its pieces. The completed puzzle of Aloof is a picture of what life looks like when trying to make sense of life with a God who for much of it seems to be either absent or in hiding.
From the beginning of the “Author’s Note” to the last words of the last page, Kriz has a thesis and he does not veer off in different directions. It can be summed up in a brilliant quote attributed to a man named Randy: “God cannot be hidden. Jesus cannot be hidden, only misunderstood” (p. 211). Tony provides the reader with a collection of stories, some which are examples of a radically gracious God breaking into Kriz’s life, and other ones heartbreaking; anyone who has followed Jesus for a length of time can easily relate to these stories.
Throughout the book, Tony is open to the thought that the moments that result in what seems like God’s momentary coming out of hiding could be coincidence, inaccurate to his recollection, etc. That is what makes this book especially endearing and engaging, the fact that anyone who is/has believed will read this book and have moments where he or she thinks, “Something like that happened to me once.” It’s possible that people separated by geography could experience the same radical coincidences, but is it possible that it could be Something else?
Aloof is a book of stories which raise questions, which bring on more stories, which bring on more questions. By the end, though, Tony has figured out a way to provide a sense of closure which still leaves the door wide open (an allusion to my favorite chapter of the whole book, “Buccaneer Maps.”). Read this book. Buy it, borrow it, steal it (and then buy whomever you stole it from their own copy), but ultimately read it.
I received my copy of this book for free through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review on it. I was not obligated to publish a positive review; the opinions expressed here are mine alone.