Amazing Grace

 Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris 

I'm not sure how to articulate my thoughts, or even what they are really, about this book of essays chronicling the author's return to the Christian church and her struggles with the 'vocabulary of faith'.  

She attended church as a child but grew away from it in her teens. As an adult she began to feel drawn back to it but was hindered by the faith words she had always found difficult to understand - words like judgement, grace, sin, salvation, faith, dogma, sinner, and evangelism. In short chapters - I no longer have the book but there might have been 60-70 - titled with the troublesome words, she explains how she has come to terms with them. Throughout the book she refers to her involvement with a local monastery and all that she has learned there, and to her family influencing both her stepping away from and returning to the church. 

There's a lot of interesting reading here, though I admit to finding myself confused at times. Granted she knows far more church history than I do and is much better at putting her thoughts into words, so some of the difficulty is my own.  She writes a lot about her spiritual heritage and what it has taught her about living out her faith in modern world, a life that in some ways is an admirable example for the rest of us. Yet it isn't clear if she believes in an actual heaven or hell, something the Bible leaves no question about, and she seems quite set against "evangelicals" and the term "born again", though the Bible is clear that Jesus himself said "You must be born again." 

I appreciated her openness and her gifted writing, I just didn't find many answers here. And maybe that's the point after all, that we each need to find our own answers and our own path to "the Way, the Truth and the Life". I believe there is only one God and one way to Him, through faith in His son, Jesus Christ, but I also believe there are as many journeys to finding Jesus as there are people who do. The important thing is not how we come to faith in Christ, but that we do. This book may help some with the hurdles on their own particular journey. 


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