Industrial-Sized Deals Shop all Back to School Shop Men's Hightops Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Cecile McLorin Salvant $5 Off Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Shop Popular Services hog hog hog  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Gear Up for Football Deal of the Day

Customer Reviews

122
Embracing the Gray: A Wing, a Prayer, and a Doubter's Resolve
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$16.26+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2010
To agree with some of the reviews Mark has gotten from ongoing fans of his writings...I, too, see Mark as "a master storyteller, who's lived a story worth telling" ... "who has a poignancy in [his] writing that captures such unique experiences" ... "Deep, candid, honest stuff" where he "puts into words what many of us have experienced in some shape or form, in a truly profound way." Yet for some of these stories, he is "able to take some of the worst situations and use humor in a way that I *feel* I should feel sorry for [him], but I can't stop laughing!" I was planning on giving a review in my own words, but his readers have it exactly right. This brings out the best of all the emotional worlds.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2010
In his new book 'Embracing the Gray: A Wing, A Prayer, and a Doubter's Resolve,' Mark A. Hollingsworth touches on every part of the human spirit. Recounting experiences as a son, brother, general fan of music, band manager for some of CCM's greatest bands, lover of life, and as an advocate for the least of these across the globe, he inspires laughter, disgust, inspiration, empathy, and the ongoing human need to search the soul and find what it craves. While readers will undoubtably experience moments of "What the...!?" and "What has this man NOT done?" and "Who does this man NOT know?" they will inevitably turn the last page knowing that the deeply personal moments with Mercy and times of relentless spiritual drought are both the valleys and pinnacles of his life story. Buy this book. For yourself and for your friends, even for your enemies.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2011
Anyone who has spent a few hours around Mark Hollingsworth knows his conversational references to culture, politics, the Good Book and the good fight span a really broad horizon. Hollingsworth has also led a truly fascinating life, and has the wit and wordsmithing at his disposal to make his journey into a really entertaining read. Embracing the Gray is a delightful, sometimes dizzying account of Mark's adventures that demonstrates his gifts as a cultural commentator and a writer worth reading. Hollingsworth pulls no punches as he rolls through episodes of his life in the music industry and ministry to the poor, rubbing shoulders with rock royalty and desperately at-risk children, and coming of age between Vietnam and Van Halen. Having said all that, I've barely scratched the surface of the remarkable range of subjects Hollingsworth addresses with unflinching honesty-- and then draws a beeline to his faith, and how all that experience helped develop him into a truly authentic, thoughtful Jesus-follower. As pastor of a rowdy bunch of mostly Millennials (roughly 18-30 years of age), I am highly recommending Embracing the Gray to them because it provides them a wonderful tool: an example of how to think about faith, as opposed to simply what to think about faith. And to my Boomer contemporaries? Buy it for yourself. If you're a fan of Jesus, contemporary music, social action, Petra, Rush (the group; maybe not Limbaugh for this book), or needing to know that someone else has been through the pain of helping their parents shed the mortal coil with love and dignity, read this book. Then do your grown kids a favor and give it to them to read. (If you're sensitive to salty language, be warned that it makes an occasional appearance in this book. Thus the encouragement to make it available to your "grown children." But please, put some U2 on in the background and read it anyway. You really won't regret it.)
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2010
If I lived to be a very active one-hundred, I don't think my life could possibly have as many adventures as this author's life has had. A pastor's kid who ended up with more questions than answers, Mark Hollingsworth uses a series of chronological true life vignettes to highlight his struggle to reconcile the concept of a loving God with real life. Through stories of his childhood, being the brother of a drug addict, a recurring dream, four years at Wheaton college, experiences on the road as a band manager, life in Nashville, an encounter with a homeless woman walking through his neighborhood, a night with a hitchhiker, moving his elderly father into a nursing home, and visits to third world countries with a children's relief organization, it is with humor, tenderness, intelligence, and honesty that he brings us into the questions with him. And in the end, it's hard not to agree that beyond the black and white parameters of tidy Christianity - a loving God still exists, but prefers to paint Himself into our lives in colorful shades of gray.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
Moving, but entertaining, read for anyone interested in spirituality, music, life's tough questions or just a great story. Part autobiography and part theology, Hollingsworth takes the reader from joy to tears and back again with stories of his ultra-eventful life. His writings center around his continued search for meaning and struggles with doubt as told through his encounter with U2, experiences with devastating poverty in working with Compassion International, stories of God's unmistakable interventions in his life, and his unlikely friendships with both rock stars and street people.

I really liked the honesty in the writing. The book reads a bit like a more mature version of a Donald Miller piece. The theme is that life doesn't always make sense, and we can't find answers to all of life's tough questions, but there's a God who wants to experience our questions with us and occasionally help us along in the struggle. So if you enjoyed Blue Like Jazz, you'll love Embracing The Gray.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2010
I often find books in which the author ponders life, faith, and their doubts simply ponderous. That could not be further from my experience reading Mark Hollingsworth's "Embracing the Gray." His insights and observations left me hopeful and aware that I am not alone in my own struggles. At turns inspiring, informative and very, very funny, I would recommend this book to anyone: Christian, non-Christian, agnostic, or atheist; conservative, liberal, progressive, Democrat or Republican. Take the time to read this book. As with most great books, you will find yourself thinking about it long after you have read the last page.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2010
I haven't started reading it yet because my husband picked it up first. He proceeded to keep me all that night, pacing, walking neighborhood, soul-searching, grieving, challenging, yelling, I got no sleep at all. Needless to say the book is making an impression! I urged him to please finish it as soon as possible so he can hopefully be encouraged by Mark's conclusions, & I can get some sleep! Went to book premiere party, enjoyed the excerpts that were read. Some of his stories are hysterical, but he makes them even funnier with the frothy descriptions. Definitely has watched too much Monty Python.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2010
Give yourself an early Christmas present and read this book now. Mark's unique talent as a storyteller will have you laughing, sighing, & most importantly thinking ... often in the same chapter & sometimes in the same paragraph. I found myself making an effort to find "just a few minutes" to sneak in "just one more chapter", and know I will re-read it often. This is a book that would be enjoyed by & beneficial for everyone to read ... so buy it, read it, & share it!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2012
First of all, Mark is one of my younger cousins. I haven't seen him in probably 37 years or so, the last time being when he and his family were at my parents' house for some family thing. I just know that we were looking for something to do and Mark suggested we go see Star Wars - for his umpteenth time - and I'd never seen it. So, we got our cousin Kathy to go, as it was something to do that night. Needless to say, we were all around the same ages, and I'd known Jimmy, Mark, Joyce and Uncle John and Aunt Marilyn my whole life. I knew Jim was a rocker, and John was a minister, and everybody was just a "regular family" I guessed. OK, that's enough background.

I'm fine with science fiction, but Not on such things as the whole Stars Wars phenomenon. I'm also a somewhat musician, but never was too big on prog rock bands at all - at least not in the same way as Mark is. Same goes for my religious beliefs. But I can tell you this: I can and Do appreciate ALL these factors of life, and that includes what others are into and believe too. Everything matters, to each and every one of us. And they all relate too. These are things we think about as we grow older.

After years of no communication, we get back in touch via the internet. And this book appears. Obviously Mark has been busy with an Extraordinary life of varied activities. I had No idea, but I'm also not surprised. This book is a wonderful journal of thoughts and feelings - they're his experiences, but I know we readers can relate to them in one way or another.

In a world where many people try to delineate the "black & white" - the "one way or the other" - it's refreshing that someone has "embraced the gray" because that's where we All live. There's too many factors involved in Everything to make a clean cut decision between "this and that" - even though that's what many of us want. What's written in this book are Mark's experiences, but I'm sure any/all of us can relate somehow. If not, then I don't know...

"I may make you feel, but I can't make you think..."
Ian Anderson

Either way is good by me. Get the book, read it, and come to your own thoughts as to how what is said applies to your own life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
I heartily enjoyed this memoir from my friend and fellow sojourner, Mark Hollingsworth. If you're a fan of a great story, you'll be happy to know this book is chocked full, spun in the vivid and descriptive manner that Mark so effectively shares. Unlike the yarns of a spinster, Mark's tales are true and from the heart. From the sacred to the profane, he holds little back in bringing you into the transparent experiences of his life. One can't help but wonder as he pines about Michelle in Chapter 16 (I Shoulda Kissed Her) if those feelings ever really go away. Or if faced with the same dilemma compliments of a gun-wielding roommate in Chapter 17 (If You Really Wanna Die, Let Me Help You), whether we would still be alive to tell it as it really unfolded.

When Mark deals honestly with his struggles of the deaths of close friends and family members, we share in the pain and long to be of comfort for our friend. This isn't a rosy picture yet it is full of hope.

There may be issues of the profanity both voiced by him and those he has encountered. But after quick review of the violent imagery in Old Testament plagues and battles, the crucifixion, Revelations; bodily function edicts of Leviticus 15; or the mature content of Song of Solomon we realize that his somewhat blunt and descriptive manner is a way of humanizing his viewpoint sans spiritual plateaus and brings us in on the same level.

Embrace the gray and let it bring you into an inspired, whimsical, mysterious understanding of our spiritual journey.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.