Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

When we were in Vegas last year, [Chris->] told me about a book that he was reading called “Amazing Grace.” He was finding it immensely meaningful, to the point where he bestowed a copy on me at Christmas. I’ve been gradually chewing it up since, and have found it quite a read.

Kathleen Norris was brought up in church, but decided upon reaching maturity that she didn’t buy into what was taught there. Twenty years later, as much to her own surprise as anyone else’s, she found herself returning to Christianity. She had a difficult struggle with that return, largely due to “scary words” — the vocabulary of the church which, as a poet, she took very seriously.

The book consists of a series of meditations on various words associated with Christianity. They mingle reflections on scriptural texts, stories, poetry, and her own experiences and thoughts into some excellent, thought-provoking reading. Since she has spent a lot of time both in and out of the church, her matter-of-fact, straightforward writing is very accessible both to those who watch TBN and those who cringe at churchspeak. Though I wasn’t always comfortable with everything she had to say, I found the book a consistently challenging and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.