Sunday, April 5, 2009

Review: Amazing Grace

This book is going to be one on my "read again and again" shelf.. It is the first book in years (if ever) that I was compelled to mark up. It is beautifully written and was for me at least, truly inspirational. Raised in mainstream American protestant religion, the author then left organized church membership during her college years. As her career as a poet progressed, and her husband endured some incidents of deep depression, she began to visit Benedictine monasteries close to her home in North Dakota, and discovered the poetry of Judao/Christian scripture, and the tradition of the litury of the hours as a form of worship. Eventually, she re-joined the Presbyterian church of her grandmother, and was called to preach, while at the same time becoming a Benedictine oblate. Her book is a series of short, compellingly written inpirational essays (none more than 5 pages long) about the 'vocabulary of faith' as she calls it. There are thoughts on such words as Heresy, Reprobate, Idolatry, Anger, Herod, Hospitality, Orthodoxy, Ecstacy, Trinity, and a host of others. It is difficult for me to explain how deeply this book affected me, and how personally inspirational I found it. She certainly is well-studied, but it is the poetic insight that she imparts to traditional scriptural and 'doctrinal' terminology and worship that is so gripping. The fact that she manages to weave her personal story into this is almost a cherry on top a huge sundae. It may not be the book for everyone, but if you are looking for a positive, beautifully written, easy to read book, you will not go wrong with this one.


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