Following up her highly acclaimed Girl Meets God, author Lauren F. Winner has written an engrossing reflection of literary grace and spiritual wisdom with Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. As she lives through a failed marriage and the loss of her mother, Winner finds her Christian faith slipping away. Through reading religious works and tomes and being counseled by leaders of the church, she learns she must find the courage to trust in God in order to to find His presence. Elegantly written and profound, Still offers reflections on how murky and gray the spiritual life can be while, at the same time, shows us how to see the light we do encounter more clearly.
I loved Lauren F. Winners book [Mudhouse Sabbath] in which she reflects and look back at some of the Jewish practices that she misses
In Still we find Lauren in a crisis of faith after going through a divorce and she finds herself spiritual lost and bewildered.
There is a movement toward finding some solace in the presence of God - although He’s still rather elusive.
“Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt, or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith. And yet I continue to live in a world the way a religious person lives in the world; I keep living in a world that I know to be enchanted, and not left alone. I doubt; I am uncertain; I am restless, prone to wander. And yet glimmers of holy keep interrupting my gaze.”
These glimmers of holy - of the enchanted world keep popping up in the journal-like entries, that are deeply personal - it's a vulnerable soul who shares her loss and pain but also the light and beauty.
In Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren offers readers a quietly powerful and fiercely honest exploration of love, loss and what it means to land at the "middle stage" of the spiritual life. Taking her spiritual quest even deeper, she navigates difficult new terrain as she confronts the spiritual aftermath of personal tragedy.
At a time of crisis - grieving her mother's death, navigating a painful divorce - Lauren finds that she is mourning her faith as well. She hasn't lost sight of God entirely, but she's watching him gradually fade away. She offers us a "picture of the end of darkness, of the stumbling out of the darkness into something new."
I received Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis compliments of Authors On The Web for my honest review and have to say, no matter where we are at in our religious beliefs, we've all come to a place where we find ourselves in the middle. Whether we are waiting on answers for prayer, looking for water in the desert when we find ourselves parched and searching, we all hit our dry spells. This is just the point that Lauren takes the readers into her personal life. Between experiencing the newness of finding God and the moment when we find ourselves just accepting life as it is, until we can find our way back to God at some point. An interesting look at something most Christians don't share in their walk with others this is a refreshing look at things from a different perspective not often talked about and for that reason I rate this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Then she divorced her husband and found that God was gone.
Winner was bereft, filled with
She began to do what she does best: she researched others who felt they had lost God and she talked with people about losing God and she began to write about it and think about it. And somehow she found God again in the middle of all the struggle and she realized this would be something she would deal with every day of the rest of her life.
Winner is smart and soulful and funny and poignant. I loved reading this book and I imagine that I will read it again one day. I recommend it for all of us who struggle with our faith (and that is all of us, I think).
What I like about Winner is that she's well past the point of debating whether God exists, or if its cool to believe in God, etc. God and her church are part of the fabric of her life, even when she feels distant from God, or, as she admits, even bored with the whole religion thing. She writes well about divine mystery, and doesn't seem to feel like she needs to know all the answers (a rare quality in an academic like Winner, who is a professor at Duke Divinity School). She also stays out of the religious vs. secular "culture wars."
If you liked Winner's Girl Meets God, you will probably like this book, with its similar approach, as well.
Still is a far cry from Girl Meets God, which I