Anna's Reviews > Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris
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's review
Feb 20, 2009

it was amazing

I wish I could exhibit even a fraction of the wisdom that poet Kathleen Norris displays in this beautiful book. Each chapter at most a few pages long, she addresses with masterful economy and native intelligence the words in what I'll call the Christian canon that scare her the most - salvation, heresy, Christian, medieval, faith, blood, etc. - and that were obstacles to her Christian conversion.
In these short essays, she relates her return to her tiny hometown in the Upper Midwest, her initially "nostalgic" attendance at her grandmother's Presbyterian church, her gradual conversion to Christianity and her growing involvement with a Benedictine monastery.
With a light (such a light!) touch, she uses etymology, memoir, theology and history to weave this glowing glossary of terms, many of which have strong or controversial connotations when used in common language. She releases them from the stifling bonds of polemic and in doing so breathes life into a vocabulary that many of her readers, like her, find impenetrable, unwelcoming or hijacked by politics.
I want to give this book to so many people.

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