Good Goats: Healing our Image of God

Title: Good Goats: Healing our Image of God
Author: Dennis Linn, Sheila Linn, and Matthew Linn
Publisher: Paulist Press New York
Year: 1994
Available:,, or Barnes & Noble

Linn, Linn, and Linn are prolific writers. On the Barnes and Noble web site, one can find over twenty listings for books written by the Linns.

There are different ways to describe health. Many of the models of health include a number of dimensions. One model of health has five different components. A five dimension model of health may include emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, and physical health. A better health model might add occupational health. The case can be made that a health plan ideally helps people find healing in every dimension of their lives.

Some people who have experienced significant pain in their lives have attempted to address the problem by concentrating on one or two dimensions. For example, they might have worked on the emotional, and social components of their health. Those people might continue to experience pain, if they have not addressed any spiritual dimensions to the hurt. Fortunately, there are a few very good books that can help people find healing in the spiritual dimension of their health. Good Goats is one of those books.

A fundamental cause of pain in the spiritual dimension is a person’s picture of God. Obviously, a person who sees God as a strict, harsh, unforgiving God, may have difficulty feeling either forgiven or accepted. The authors observe that many people have a “schizophrenic perception of God” showing love through cruelty. As noted in the book, we tend to become like our parents. And we also tend to become like our concept of God. In the book, one of the authors observes, “I changed when my image of God.”

The authors present a number of topics that challenge unhealthy views of God and that help people develop a better image of God. A few topics covered that help us develop a better concept of God appear below:

  • Reading some Bible texts literally.
  • God as a defense attorney.
  • God is both a mother and a father.
  • Love, not punishment, heals.
  • Does God send people to hell?
  • How changing our image of God brings healing.

  • This book is a "must read" for people who have come from churches where judgment was emphasized more than grace, or from homes where God was presented as an angry, vengeful God. Because many gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people have experienced spiritual abuse, at the hands of those who did not understand God's radical grace, this book is very important for queer Christians to read.