Thursday, July 19, 2012

Still Going

One of my summer reads, completed last night, was Lauren F. Winner's latest, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis.  Winner, a Duke Divinity School Professor, soon-to-be Episcopal priest, and author of several other recent best-selling biographical/devotional works including Girl Meets God, has a talent for weaving personal insights and experiences into modern-day theology with a twist of lime.

In this instance (and, to be fair, the only Winner book I have read) I came away with a mixture of understanding and disconnect.  In many ways Still is a women's book.  In other respects it speaks to the themes and faith experiences of the many who are in the "middle" portions of their lives and faith--which is essentially what this book is about.

Winner's book is at once saturated with her personal spiritual quest for Christ that can be found in going to church, teaching others, and the work of the writer.  And she speaks equally well of the spiritual life centered on baking pounds of zucchini bread on Sunday afternoons, or reading chick lit, or navigating the questions born in the aftermath of her divorce and her mother's death.

The former set I can identify with personally.  The latter set, no.

I'd recommend Still, however, as a woman's read.  Any woman who has (or is) experiencing the dry season of mid-life and the long-haul of creating a meaningful relationship with God will find the book compelling and insightful.

After reading Winner's book, however, I found myself drawing back to the "masculine" endeavors of hard work, reading and writing from a man's perspective, and spirit born of interstices of solitude and community involvement (as leader and friend).  Winner's book did affirm what I already know: that mid-life is difficult, perhaps the most difficult of all, and most of faith is, indeed, carried forward in the long slough of boredom, tedium, and the dry seasons of questioning, yearning, and seeking.

Now I can get back to walking like a man.  I can listen to that Frankie Vallie album.  I'm going to watch The Shawshank Redemption.      

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