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Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In the highly praised memoir Things Seen and Unseen, Nora Gallagher reflected on a year of spiritual renewal and the fact of mortality with uncommon wisdom and grace. We rejoin her in Practicing Resurrection as Gallagher searches for direction in the wake of her brother’s death. A desire to reclaim her own “wild life” and a sense of the sacred in the world compels her to a ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book beautifully describes in unsentimental language Nora's three year process of deciding whether to become a priest or not. Key to her decision is a small group of trusted church friends who serve as her discernment committee. The group's intimacy, honesty and support are to be longed for. In the process of discernment, Nora's beloved brother dies and her marriage is challenged.

This is a reality-based memoir of what it's like to be called, to respond, to question and to live in the margi
Jean Marie Angelo
I read this book at the urging of my spiritual director, an Episcopal priest who usually ends each session by handing me a bag or a pile of books.
I especially gleaned much from Nora Gallagher. Like me, she had been a journalist. I toiled away for several business to business magazines and websites, and sometimes for small, local newspapers. She wrote for Time and other national magazines. Nora is obviously in another league. Still, I could relate to her all consuming writing career that never p
I had hoped that I would get to hear Nora Gallagher last year at the WomanKind conference that I went to. She was supposed to be the keynote speaker. Unfortunately, she was sick and we got Anne Lamott instead. I love Anne, but she had spoken two years before. I did take the opportunity to buy Gallagher's book.

A year later, I finally sat down to read it. Timing is everything. I wonder about the ordination process occasionally but I believe my role in the church is as laity. Gallagher's story was
Wow, Nora Gallagher was a hot mess before she found her way back to church and God. In her previous book, Things Seen and Unseen, she mentions spending many worship services in tears and not really understanding why. But as someone who also took a several-year hiatus from church, I understand why because I, too, lived it. Practicing Resurrection is as much about her discernment process and what she felt was a call to the Episcopal priesthood as much as it is about her coming to terms with the ot ...more
Beautiful stories. Frequently made me cry.

Gallagher is discerning a vocation from the priesthood in the context of the Episcopal church, so some of it is strange to me whose church home is a radical queer Methodist church (and whose secondary church home is a UCC church) -- reading the book I sometimes retort, "You don't have to be ordained to do that! _I_'ve done that!" I feel confident that I'm not Called to ordained ministry (at least not right now -- I'm allowing for the possibility that thi
Kasey Jueds
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While I didn't love this book quite as much as Things Seen and Unseen, it's still smart and moving and wonderful. It's a sequel memoir that deals with both the death of the author's brother, and her struggle to figure out whether or not she wants to become a priest. Again, I loved rediscovering it--both her books are worth reading and rereading, they are so full of depth.
Janet Daniels
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nora Gallagher chronicles her "year of discernment" for the Episcopal priesthood. Reflecting on her personal experiences, she describes her choice, once she has been approved to attend seminary to be ordained.

This is a great illustration of the discernment process at work. Listening for call and discerning where it leads is no simple procedure.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Nora Gallagher's memoir takes us on her spiritual journey of resurrection. Her reflections convey the tidal wave of emotions that grief hit her with; and how it eventually led her to a new, unexpected, and rewarding life. The book is a slow read--moving back and forth chronologically in a series of flashbacks. Thought provoking at times; a little too esoteric at times. Would not recommend.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really struggled with the first half of this book. Someone I like recommended the author, and I ordered the book from the library, not knowing that a significant part of the book focuses on her discernment of call to Episcopal priesthood. I cringed in some places, nodded in others, and by about page 160, was glad I'd held on.

So much of her book is more about Church than about God-- and she wrestles with the way priesthood can often be about profession and power, rather than about God. I respe
Lee Wilkins
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, but I can see that it takes a particular type of reader. Although the author is an Episcopalian woman on a journey of discernment as to her role as an ordained minister, I think that it would be appropriate for someone of any religious background, but I do think that in order to truly appreciate it, one would need to be on some type of spiritual quest. So much wisdom here, and it definitely helps me on my discernment journey.
Nov 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I found this book surprisingly accessible to someone who knows little about the Episcopalian discernment process. Nora Gallagher managers to write about her experience in the church without sounding too Jesus-y, and her candor--about everything from her use of cocaine to the fact that she froze when asked to answer the question "I have never engaged in any unusual sexual practices"--was refreshing.

Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related
Moving at times, this book details Gallagher's year of discernment around her sense of call to the priesthood. There are some deeply profound moments in here as she describes her understanding of the Eucharist and her emotion around her brother's death. There are also some moments that fall very flat. Gallagher struggles with vulnerability and the sensitive reader will feel her holding back, when you most want exposure. How much truth does a reader have the right to ask of a writer?
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I love Nora Gallagher. This is a book about grief and discernment. The first half felt familiar, like I had perhaps read it before, but the second half felt wholly new to me. A beautiful story about how life continues after loss, about participating in the work of God and the church, and the renewal of a marriage. Recommended for: people who like to think about vocation (whether that’s explicitly in church work or not).
I gave this book to my brother as he was embarking on a cross country trip, and he said he read it aloud to his partner and cried all the way to Canada. This is a book about the spiritual path, about family,place, vocation. New Mexico. Death of a beloved sibling. Discernment and call. Nice writing. Highly recommended
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the second time I read this book and I loved it just as much as I did the first time. I enjoyed Nora Gallagher's process of discernment as she tried to figure out whether she was called to be a priest in the Episcopal church. I loved the idea of vocation, or calling, as a broader experience that we all might have.
Kate Davis
Not very well organized, and not really all that interesting. The book pretty much concludes with "and then I realized I should write something that bridges the ordained and lay ministries," but that's not a thing she actually accomplishes in this book. Is this ENTIRE BOOK a prelude to her next? Obnoxious.

Not that there aren't some good gems in there. Just, as a whole, disappointing.
Josephine Ensign
Mar 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Yuck. I picked up this book at my cute little neighborhood 'pocket library' based on its very lovely cover, but not realizing how nauseatingly entitled/ navel-gazing religious it was inside that lovely cover. While I can tolerate--and even like--Madeline L'Engle's Episcopalian/spiritual writings, Gallagher's I cannot find anything remotely--well, redemptive... Don't trust a book by its cover.
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: I would definitely NOT limit recommendation only for those seeking discernment within church
This well written book about Nora's discernment process, not only regarding the priesthood, but of her call day-to-day, rang very true to me. She is thoughtful and passionate, serious and light hearted. Her ability to see the big picture is excellent, and I agree with much of her thoughts about the church and its process.
Tony Snyder
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book forced me to look at faith in so many new, interesting ways. I had never thought of longing as a positive emotion before. Now I won't run from it. I haven't read a more vivid description of the Body of Christ before. Finally, the thought of Christ loving us as though we are dear siblings of His resonated with me so much! If you have any curiosity about faith, read this book!
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The most powerful and unforgettable books I have read this year. Given to me unexpectedly by an extraordinary man, I connect with Nora's discernment...her exploration of personal death, resurrection, ascension and liberation. A not oft-talked about book, but it will endure for many years.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is written about an Episcopal woman trying to discern whether or not to become a priest, but her insights are far more universal and really raise questions about what vocation is for any one of us.
Marcia Call
Aug 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Nora Gallagher has a lot in common with Sarah Miles and Anne LaMott.
Judy S
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just read this book for a second time and I know I'll read it again. So many wonderful passages that I wish I could memorize. An honest and moving bood.
Amy Young
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I like spiritual memoirs and hadn't known much about the discernment process to become an Episcopal priest. I will say I found it a bit tedious in parts.
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful, encouraging view of life and spirituality.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
The second half was much more interesting and enjoyable than the first.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This was okay. Really, just okay. Very well written, but she annoyed me some and I can't exactly say that it really went much of anywhere.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
ya, must have been good, I took notes, highlighted, put pages numbers in the back for future reference and even found an image for my brother's wedding sermon.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-essays
Beautiful written description of a woman's spiritual journey. Not cliched and stereotypical. Thoughtful, theological, smart, tender.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Loved the info about the discernment process and the combination of her brother's death with the discernment process.
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