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Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faithby Nora Gallagher
Synopses & Reviews
"Faith is not about belief in something irrational or about a blind connection to something unreal. It's about a gathering, an accumulation of events and experiences of a different order . . . the longing a soul has to find its shape in the world."
In the late eighties, Nora Gallagher entered Trinity Episcopal Church as a tourist and ended up a pilgrim. What she wanted was peace, she thought. What she got was something entirely different. In this remarkable book she describes her journey from secular life into "the world of the almost known," the world of faith.
With her piercing powers of observation focused inward on herself and outward on her community, Nora Gallagher takes us into a year of her own spiritual searching and into the life of a parish church. During this year, Gallagher struggles with faith in the midst of community, a fatal illness in her family, guests in the church soup kitchen, and the efforts of a priest who is a gay man and the church's vestry to decide whether he should be called as their rector.
As Gallagher sits with a friend dying of AIDS and another with cancer, serves communion wine at the altar, locates buckets for the Holy Week foot washing, and copes with homeless men and women and their critics, we learn with her that "the road to the sacred is paved with the ordinary."
In the generous language of uncertainty, suffering, grace, and commitment, Gallagher writes of faith and its meaning and the need for ritual and sacrament. She continually reveals in her choice of metaphors her own emerging faith, and we seem to experience her discovery with her, in real time. She gives us, as well, a beautifully rendered portrait of a community struggling with change, without ever losing sight of the cross.
Perceptive, candid, and wonderfully written, Things Seen and Unseen embodies the demands and rewards, the mysteries and realities, of both personal and communal faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
While engaged in a year-long journey to reclaim her faith using the Christian calendar, the author shares her revelations about suffering, death, and life in this moving meditation on the meaning of belief. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.
Nora Gallagher lives in Santa Barbara, California.
About the Author
Nora Gallagher was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and lives in Santa Barbara, California. She has reported for Time and Life magazines, and her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Village Voice, Mother Jones, and the Utne Reader. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony and at Blue Mountain.
From the Hardcover edition.
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