Allison's Book Bag

Current Read #25: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

Posted on: February 9, 2015

MusingMondaysWhat are you reading right now?
What do you think of it?
Why did you chose it?

In the religious world, I’ve often felt like a misfit. Sometimes that has bothered me less than others. Whenever I do start to feel angst, I search for books written by other Christians who have also wrestled with their faith. This past year, when questions started once again to plague me, I checked the religious shelves of our local bookstores and libraries. Among them, I discovered Amazing Grace A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris.

When Norris began attending her grandmother’s small-town church on the Great Plains, she was a transplanted poet with more doubt than faith. Even so, Norris felt pulled to return week after week to the Sunday morning services. She also developed ties with a nearby monastery. In her slow but steady conversion, Norris found one of her biggest struggles to be with the language of Christian religion. In her book of about seventy short chapters, Norris explores the meaning behind those words that many church-goers might take for granted such as incarnation, repentance, apostasy, trinity.

The first books that I recently checked out from the library had been written by those new to the faith. While I appreciated hearing their stories, I couldn’t readily connect to their experiences. I grew up in the church. Although I have at times drifted into apathy and/or rebellion, I’ve never completely relinquished that heritage. Thus, I found more of a kinship with Norris, who also had religious roots. Multiple moves have at times forced me to search out new churches, which is a rather daunting experience, and sometimes have left me feeling like an outsider. Thus, I also relate to how so many church terms can feel alien even to a person founded in the faith. In this way too then, I felt a connection to Norris.

She and I are not perfectly matched. Her background is that of Catholicism and the Benedict monks. Mine is that of Protestantism. We also at times differ in beliefs. I am not sure that she believes in a physical heaven and a physical hell, doctrines which are part of my faith. She might also have more openness to other religions being a way to God. Nonetheless, we do share a lot of common ground. Just as importantly, we’re both seeking a greater knowledge of Biblical truths and through them a deeper relationship with God.

10 Responses to "Current Read #25: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris"

Religious faith is not a subject I can comment on but to read a book which connects so strongly to one is a delight even if it throws up more questions than answers and the background is different:) I also liked the sound of the shorter chapters, when I have read books on religions I find there is a tendency to verbal excess, to explain and engage is most important I would think in this kind of book

I understand a little of your feeling of being outside, not religion in my case , but society because of having dyspraxia, social inept many a time I have had to search for a way to understand the world I inhabited – good luck in finding your place:)

Thank you for sharing your experience! There are many ways in which I often find myself an outsider: having just a father raise me, being introverted and highly sensitive, loving children’s books, and marrying late in life. Whenever I meet others with similar experiences, it’s always encouraging to make connections.

Being a teacher of students with special needs, I can understand how you would sometimes feel outside. Some of my students blend in with their peers, but others have them have a more difficult time. We have lots of conversations to help them find their place.

Issues of faith are definitely those that I ponder at times. Thanks for sharing…and here are my BLUE MONDAYS MUSINGS

My current book of faith is Christy by Catherine Marshall. I’ll be reviewing it at a future date.

You put a lot of thought into who is writing what you read.

I’ve always enjoyed reading author backgrounds. 🙂

Sounds like an interesting book. I may have to check it out of my local library and give it a read.

Kathleen Norris has written a few other religious books. They’re on my To Read list. 🙂

Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

You’re welcome! Thanks for your visit. 🙂

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