“In our attempts to tame the almighty, we succeed only in confining ourselves”
– Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers
In the modern western Christian culture, it sometimes seems that we have lost our way when it comes to living a life prescribed by the scriptures. Drew Dyck, in his book Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying, believes he has put his finger on perhaps the central reason for failures in the modern church: our anemic understanding of God.
Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal, uses scriptural exegesis and personal anecdote to unpack his thesis. He contends that we have become too enamored of a false “safe” god when the real, sovereign, powerful, dangerous and true God is available to us. Thus, we are effectively responding to a fearsome presence with indifference.
Echoing C.S. Lewis of a generation before, Dyck points out that we have become far too easily pleased when it comes to our vision of God. As a result, we find ourselves unfulfilled and unmotivated to live the kinds of lives that marked both the early church and modern exemplary Christians.
Yawning at Tigers fills largely the same role as more tightly-argued scripturally-focused works, such as R.C. Sproul’s, The Holiness of God. This having been said, Dyck’s focus is much less about a deep dive into Biblical texts and more about examining personal experiences that have borne out the truth of the exegesis done in larger works. In this way, Yawning at Tigers has the possibility of ably filling a slightly different niche, putting the all-surpassing greatness of God as central to a more popular Christian readership.
If you are looking for tight argumentation dealing with possible theological and philosophical objections to the vision of an all-surpassingly great yet loving God, you may not be well-served by this book. Both the content and writing style seem more geared towards wooing readers to fall in love with the true God than with demonstrating the truth of his contentions. The result is a celebration of the greatness of an unsafe but monumentally glorious God who works through the lives of believers – a celebration that calls the reader to join in.
I highly recommend Yawning at Tigers to the person who feels dry or to one who needs to be shown a much sweeter, glorious, but difficult God. If you’re seeking a greater examination of the subject, you might consider supplementing it with more substantial works in personal discipleship with other critically-minded Christians.