Synopses & Reviews
Struggling with her return to the Christian church after many years away, Kathleen Norris found it was the language of Christianity that most distanced her from faith. Words like "judgment," "faith," "dogma," "salvation," "sinner"—even "Christ"—formed what she called her "scary vocabulary," words that had become so codified or abstract that their meanings were all but impenetrable. She found she had to wrestle with them and make them her own before they could confer their blessings and their grace. Blending history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir, Norris uses these words as a starting point for reflection, and offers a moving account of her own gradual conversion. She evokes a rich spirituality rooted firmly in the chaos of everyday life—and offers believers and doubters alike an illuminating perspective on how we can embrace ancient traditions and find faith in the contemporary world.
"Norris's lyrical prose rings with clarity and grace as she brings life to her experience of the church's vocabulary." Publishers Weekly
The beloved author of The Cloister Walk takes readers on a moving journey in this thoroughly original investigation of faith. Taking as her starting point the "scary words" that can intimidate and distance us from our religious heritage words like "judgment, faith, dogma, salvation", and "sinner" Norris blends history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir to reflect on their meanings.
About the Author
Norris is an award-winning poet and writer.
Table of Contents
Amazing Grace Preface
Inheritance: Blessing and Curse
Conversion: The Family Story
Belief, Doubt, and Sacred Ambiguity
Inheritance: What Religion Were You Raised in, and WhatAre You Now?
Conversion: The Stories
Virgin Mary, Mother of God
Conversion: The Feminist Impasse
Conversion: One More Boom
Sinner, Wretch, and Reprobate
Good and Evil
The Bible: Illiteracies and Ironies
Conversion: The Wild West
The Bible Study
Conversion: My Ebenezer
The Bible: Give Me a Word
Conversion: The Scary Stuff
Imagination (Or, How Many Christians Does It Take to Balance N. Scott Momaday?)
Prayer as Remembrance: The Expert Marksman's Medal
Interpretation: "I Know Not"
Prayer as Mystery
The New Jerusalem