Amazing Grace

( 11 )

Overview

Struggling with her return to the Christian church after many years away, Kathleen Norris found it was the language of Christianity that most distanced her from faith. Words like "judgment," "faith," "dogma," "salvation," "sinner"—even "Christ"—formed what she called her "scary vocabulary," words that had become so codified or abstract that their meanings were all but impenetrable. She found she had to wrestle with them and make them her own before they could confer their blessings and their grace. Blending ...

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Overview

Struggling with her return to the Christian church after many years away, Kathleen Norris found it was the language of Christianity that most distanced her from faith. Words like "judgment," "faith," "dogma," "salvation," "sinner"—even "Christ"—formed what she called her "scary vocabulary," words that had become so codified or abstract that their meanings were all but impenetrable. She found she had to wrestle with them and make them her own before they could confer their blessings and their grace. Blending history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir, Norris uses these words as a starting point for reflection, and offers a moving account of her own gradual conversion. She evokes a rich spirituality rooted firmly in the chaos of everyday life—and offers believers and doubters alike an illuminating perspective on how we can embrace ancient traditions and find faith in the contemporary world.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"An engaging meditation on the language of faith."&#151The New York Times Book Review

"A unique and glorious voice."—Boston Globe

"[Kathleen Norris] writes about religion with the imagination of a poet."—Chicago Tribune

"It's hard to imagine less off-putting or pious writing about religion than this sublimely commonsensical lexicon of words and concepts that, as Kathleen Norris explains them, have rarely sounded less frightening&#151or quite so simple to understand."—Elle

"One of the most eloquent yet earthbound spiritual writers of our time...frequently irreverent and funny...She makes us converts to her simple faith of warmth."—San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle

"Definitely worthwhile reading...She combines an impressive understanding of theology with personal experience, making her essays read like letters from a highly literate friend."—People

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573227216
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 211,174
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Norris

Kathleen Norris is the award-winning, bestselling author of Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith; The Cloister Walk; and Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, in various anthologies, and in her own three volumes of poetry. She divides her time between South Dakota and Hawaii.

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Table of Contents

Amazing Grace Preface

Eschatology
Antichrist
Silence
Salvation
Inheritance: Blessing and Curse
Incarnation
Detachment
Conversion: The Family Story
Exorcism
Perfection
Prayer
Belief, Doubt, and Sacred Ambiguity
Repentance
Annunciation
Inheritance: What Religion Were You Raised in, and WhatAre You Now?
Commandments
Idolatry
Bible
Righteous
Conversion: The Stories
God
Blood
Virgin Mary, Mother of God
Anger
Conversion: The Feminist Impasse
Chosen
Fear
Conversion: One More Boom
Grace
Intolerance/Forbearance
Christ
Sinner, Wretch, and Reprobate
Faith
Good and Evil
Preaching
The Bible: Illiteracies and Ironies
Heresy/Apostasy
Creeds
Orthodoxy
God-Talk
Inquisition
Oppression
Herod
Conversion: The Wild West
Ecstasy
Medieval
Christian
The Bible Study
Worship
Conversion: My Ebenezer
The Bible: Give Me a Word

"Organized" Religion
Hospitality
Church
Lectio Divina
Mystic
Trinity
Seeking
Conversion: The Scary Stuff
Evangelism
Imagination (Or, How Many Christians Does It Take to Balance N. Scott Momaday?)
Unchurched
Hell
Judgment
Apocalypse
Prayer as Remembrance: The Expert Marksman's Medal
Dogma
Angels
Wickedness
Interpretation: "I Know Not"
Revelation
Pentecostal
Prayer as Mystery
Neighbor
Theology
Asceticism
Heaven
Infallibility
Truth
The New Jerusalem

Acknowledgments

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2004

    Another inspiring read from Kathleen Norris

    I have read the Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace by Ms. Norris. She writes in a conversational tone which is easy to read and understand.I especially liked her treatment of the word doubt. It helped me tremendously.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2001

    Brought me to Church

    This is a very enlightening book for any Christian. As a person who was always afraid of 'organized religion', it gave me a new understanding of what it means to be a Christian. The author found that it was often the vocabulary of the church that most distanced her from it. The book helped me to realize that 'Christ died to take away my sins, not my mind.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Loved this book!

    Although I have some fundamental differences with Norris's theology -- in her effort to be ultra-inclusive, she conspicuously omits one of the basics of Christianity that require one to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour (among others), I found a lot of compassion and beauty here. I too grew up the daughter of protestant ministers and converted to Catholicism later in life for many of the same reasons Norris became a Catholic Oblate. There is a lot of wisdom here, a lot of searching, and seemingly a great desire to level the field (which at times reduces Chirst from being "God" to little more than an "everyman"). This is a great book for discussion and introspection. Once I read it, I bought several as gifts that should be greatly appreciated by open-minded people who honestly seek the truth and wish to expand their own ideas. Norris's writing is a bonus--she is a master, weaving words into beautiful gifts page by page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2000

    Taking the fear out of Christian terms

    Ms. Norris' book is an excellent read whether you are a new Christian, one who has been on the Christian journey for many years, or merely seek to understand many of the theological terms used by Christians. The personal reflections, incorporating the words discussed, is enlightening, as Ms. Norris continues her faith journey. These reflections, and the 'definitions' used by Ms. Norris, can not only take the fear out of these terms, but can help each of us understand that many times the different factions of Christianity are divided by 'words' instead of 'beliefs'

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