It is as if a secularist, who’s “immanence” world view can’t allow for the possibility of transcendence is trying to figure out how people claim a personal communication with the invisible Being who is transcendent. As such this books stands as a counterpoint to Taylor’s A Secular Age. 
When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God presents Tanya M. Luhrmann’s study of “ How does God become real for people? How are sensible people able to believe in an invisible being who has a demonstrable effect on their lives? And how can they sustain that belief in the face of what skeptical observes think must be inevitable disconfirmation?” 
Whatever Dr. Luhrmann’s personal faith might be (she describes this slightly on the last page of the book), she writes in a fairly even-handed and objective style, with no apparent ax to grind on either side. I will say, however, this book should be read with a vigilance that will make sure we don’t allow our faith to be reduced to a psychological phenomenon.
She also writes, “…the idea of God arises out of this evolved tendency to attribute intention to an inanimate world. Religious belief would then be an accidental by-product of the way our minds have evolved.”  If a person is a non-transcendent secularist, there is no choice but to assume this. In a secular age it is impossible to imagine believing in the transcendent. If a person’s view of reality has a ceiling, with nothing above it, discussing how we experience and converse with “God” could drive that person mad, or else they would dismiss it as pure self-deluded fantasy.
Epistemology really stands at the core of this book. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines epistemology as “the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.”  The ultimate question is, “How do we know?” For a secularist, a claim to know anything that claims the immanence of transcendence, particularly in a personal knowledge, is impossible to accept.
As counterpoint to the immanence concept of contemporary secularism this book brings to us a great irony: that those in evangelical Christianity understand the word “immanent” in precisely the opposite way of a secularist who believes there’s nothing above the ceiling. Immanence becomes good news when it communicates the presence of the transcendent One.
There is power in the contrast. There is irony in the contrast. There is good news in the contrast; at least it should be good news: “We are really not alone!”
As Dr. Luhrmann attempts to provide a way to understand how it is a Christian can claim relationship with an invisible being, she discusses children playing with imaginary friends. It seems that she is attempting to give a somewhat metaphorical example of how we can “imagine” something that is not visible.
I do not think she is advocating that God is just our imaginary friend. As I read, I began to wonder about “imaginary friends” from the opposite side. Might it be that the impulse for countless children to have an imaginary friend is, in fact, a demonstration of our human need, created in the image of God, to have someone “other” to whom we can pour out our troubles?
A poignant section focused on experiencing God as unconditionally loving. She spoke of the struggle we have to really believe that we are unconditionally loved… “The point is that the real problem with which we all struggle is not God’s judgement but our own. God believes that we are worthwhile and loves us for ourselves.” 
Regarding the predictions of mid-twentieth century social scientists, that faith would disappear, Dr. Luhrmann says, “We now know that those scholars were wrong.” She points out that “Pentecostalism is among the fastest-growing religions in the world.”  Lewis and Pierard will be happy to know this. 
Dr. Luhrmann begins the final chapter, “This book began with the nonbeliever’s puzzle: How can sensible, educated people believe in an invisible being who has a real effect on their lives?” 
Continuing in the spirit of Charles Taylor, perhaps the big question is: “How are Christians able to hold on to their faith despite the frank skepticism that they encounter again and again?”  She answers her own question by saying, “The answer is that they understand their God in a way that adapts to the skepticism.” 
In the end part of the answer is existential. I believe in God, in part, because the Bible makes sense of the world for me. But also I believe because of my EXPERIENCES with God. I have seen and experienced many things that have no explanation other than the real presence of the all-powerful, imminently present, transcendent God.
Luhrmann writes, “In this modern experiential evangelical faith, this way of understanding God insists on a reality so vivid that it demands a willing suspension of disbelief while generating direct personal experiences that make that God real and integral to one’s experiences of self.” 
An advantage to reading this book is that it reminds us that “hearing from God” really is a complex experience and is, therefore, subject to error. No one wants to hear from another person, “God told me,” or even worse, “God told me to tell you.” My wife’s response to statements like that is, “Where’s my copy of the e mail.”
So although I am convinced that God does speak to us, mostly (second to Scripture) in our minds, we need to maintain a strong sense of humility in order to hold what we think God has said to us in a loose grip.
 Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007).
 Tanya M. Luhrmann, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God ( New York, NY: Vintage Books of Random House, 2012), xi.
 Ibid., xii.
 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ Accessed March 9, 2017.
 Luhrmann, 105.
 Ibid., 301.
 Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, eds. Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective ( Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2014).
 Luhrmann, 300.
 Ibid., 301,