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Amazing Grace: A Vocab...
Kathleen Norris
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Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary Of Faith

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  5,036 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
"Our ridiculously fallible language becomes a lesson in how God's grace works despite and even through our human frailty. We will never get the words exactly right. There will always be room for imperfection, for struggle, growth and change. And this is as it should be." With observations like this one, Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota and The Cloister Walk, has again pro ...more
Published (first published January 1st 1998)
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Rebecca Foster
This makes the shortlist of books I would hand to skeptics to show them there might be something to this Christianity nonsense after all.* Like Speaking Christian by Marcus Borg, it aims to inject new life into theological terms that have become mere jargon; “it is my accommodation of and reconciliation with the vocabulary of Christian faith that has been the measure of my conversion,” Norris writes.

She spent 20 years away from the faith but gradually made her way back, via the simple Presbyteri
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of this book over a decade ago when I was in a much different place in my spiritual journey. An acquaintance (who was a member of a church that I judged as too liberal in their interpretation of scripture and therefore, I'm ashamed to say, I believed meant they didn't have true faith) was reading this book and it caught my eye. I dismissed it at the time because if that person was reading it then it probably was not the best choice for me. Sheesh!!! Could I have been more judgmenta ...more
As I have said earlier, I am on a kind of Kathleen Norris roll here...... Reading her books is kind of like peeling an onion. She is telling much the same story in every book, but from a different perspective. "Dakota" had to do with understanding her geographical roots. "The Cloister Walk" had to do with her discovery of the Liturgy of the Hours as practiced by the Benedictines. This book has to do with the underlying "language" that she had to examine upon her return to the Christian church an ...more
Katherine Blankenship
I really wanted to love this book. I loved the idea of re-defining terms in our faith that have transformed into representing something we don't understand. The beginning of the book was amazing, it's clear that Kathleen Norris has a way with words and experiences that I do not, but as the book continued her chapters became less about the terminology and more of a repetitive account of her experiences in Benedictine spirituality. Her writings became less of using her life and the readers lives t ...more
Kathleen Norris is a wordsmith, so I'd probably enjoy reading her essays even if I couldn't relate much to the content. She just writes in a way that is clear and crisp as a fall morning. She's had an interesting life, and she's not afraid to examine it.

That said, this is a book that I never would have read if I'd first read a review of it. Norris is almost always reviewed as a "Christian author." That lumps her in with the same group as that creepy Left Behind guy, Pat Robertson's rantings and
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with so many profound human concepts, our language around the topic of spirituality and devotion is limited, divisive and often fails us. This is a wonderful book for someone who both loves words, their intricacies & evolution, and is reconstructing a personal spiritual ground.
Danni Green
This was a really interesting book. As a non-Christian who is not interested in becoming a Christian, I felt like I wasn't really the intended audience for it. But I enjoyed getting to know this author and her perspectives on a wide range of relevant terms and concepts in her religious tradition, and having the opportunity to reflect on how some of them might fit with my own faith and practice (as a Pagan Quaker Jew myself).
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seekers
Most books that I have read about religion and spirituality assume the reader has an understanding of the vocabulary of those topics. I have found that that is not always the case. This book attempts and almost succeeds in addressing this problem. I still found some ambiguity that I felt was caused by the author's personal perceptions. It is still an excellent book, but I can only give it 4 stars.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book felt to me like it was rushed to press after the success of The Cloister Walk. Norris is one of my favorite writers, but this book didn't seem up to her usual standard.
Michael Walker
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mature Christians and those seeking God
Norris, a poet by trade, writes evocatively as a Christian who has returned to her faith roots. This is her third book about her return to Christianity after a two-decade hiatus brought on by a liberal secular education. In this installment she reflects on religious words - "scary words" she calls them - and what they mean to her now that she has embraced Jesus Christ. Fundamentalists and Conservatives may cringe at some of her statements, as may liberal believers. Honest, excellent writing that ...more
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SR Summer Reading: Norris, Amazing Grace 3 12 Aug 22, 2014 02:59PM  
  • Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith
  • An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith
  • The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith
  • Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion
  • The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days
  • Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
  • Stalking the Divine
  • Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today
  • Mudhouse Sabbath
  • The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart
  • The Inner Voice of Love
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
  • Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
  • Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
  • The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
Kathleen Norris was born on July 27, 1947 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Lemmon, South Dakota.

Her sheltered upbringing left her unprepared for the world she encountered when she began attending Bennington College in Vermont. At first shocked by the unconventionality surrounding her, Norris took refuge in poetry.

After she grad
More about Kathleen Norris...
“This is a God who is not identified with the help of a dictionary but through a relationship.” 14 likes
“But in order to have an adult faith, most of us have to outgrow and unlearn much of what we were taught about religion.” 5 likes
More quotes…