"I came to this church five years ago as a tourist and ended up a pilgrim," writes Nora Gallagher, speaking of her year at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara. It started with an occasional Sunday visit, a shy toe dip into the Episcopal Church. Eventually she delved into a yearlong journey to discover her faith and a relationship with God, using the Christian calendar as her compass. What Kathleen Norris
did for the language of the church in Amazing Grace
, Gallagher does for the Christian calendar--finding contemporary meaning in an ancient calendar that is often misunderstood or overshadowed with oppressive dogma.
Starting with the chapter titled "Advent," and ending with "Ordinary Time," Gallagher speaks to the biblical and historical themes of the church's calendar, then offers a translation for living in America at the end of the millennium. Most touching is her raw honesty, whether writing about feeding the homeless in the Community Kitchen or the unglamorous job of caring for a friend with AIDS. Indeed, it is Gallagher's humble interpretations of faith that make her seasonal wisdom so trustworthy. "I learned something about faith, its mucky nature, how it lies down in the mud with the pigs and the rabble," she says when writing about the darkness of Advent. "...God is not too good to hang out with jet-lagged women with cat-litter boxes in their dining rooms, or men dying of AIDS, or, for that matter, someone nailed in humiliation to a cross." --Gail Hudson
From Library Journal
This is a book for those who doubt their faith, resist the institutional church, and yet are drawn to both. Faith, says journalist Gallagher, is "an accumulation of events and experiences of a different order." The author offers her insight into faith in artfully written chapters sprinkled with the wisdom of an array of writers from C.S. Lewis to medieval mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg. This is not, however, a collection of platitudes but a story of faith practiced in understanding and supporting a gay priest and in helping the homeless, hungry, sick, and dying, primarily through the Episcopal church to which she belongs. She avoids "cheap and casual religious jargon" to tell of work, doubt, searching?and moments of grace. Recommended for most devotional collections.?Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville
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