Ordinary Time: Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal

Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1993

An unconventional spiritual autobiography, told in a remarkable, outspoken voice and rooted in the messy realities and questions—the 'ordinary time'—of one woman's life, from infidelity to living with multiple sclerosis, to death, to renewing a marriage.

A New York Times Notable Book of 1993, this spiritual autobiography of astonishing candor and earthy unsentimentality has something ...

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Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1993

An unconventional spiritual autobiography, told in a remarkable, outspoken voice and rooted in the messy realities and questions—the 'ordinary time'—of one woman's life, from infidelity to living with multiple sclerosis, to death, to renewing a marriage.

A New York Times Notable Book of 1993, this spiritual autobiography of astonishing candor and earthy unsentimentality has something to teach all of us about living. Full of probing intelligence and wry dispassion, Mairs relates her conversion from good-girl spirituality to something much deeper and darker.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A remarkable accomplishment. —Kathleen Norris, New York Times Book Review

"This is no ordinary book. … Consoling and poignant: a Catholic feminist moral inquiry that resists New Age simplifications and shares its message of deep faith with courage and dignity." —Kirkus

"As a Catholic feminist (an oxymoron, she observes), [Mairs] contemplates the thorny relationships she has had with the Church and with her family (at one time in her marriage, both partners were adulterous). She examines the effects of her multiple sclerosis and of her husband's cancer, conditions which contributed to their reconciliation and personal growth. In spirited essays that trace her journey from her Congregationalist childhood to her current individualistic Catholicism, she poses questions about marriage, parenthood and the meaning of suffering that will resonate with many contemporary lives. Her voice is challenging and her thrust at times radical, but Mairs maintains a disarming, self-deprecating wit and unflinching effort to remain true in this charting of the 'terrain of a conscientious life.'" —Publishers Weekly

"This is the remarkable story of a woman who faces the vicissitudes of life with honesty, courage, and, ultimately, commitment. Hers is no easy or ideal life: her own adultery, her husband's adultery, his cancer, her multiple sclerosis, and her spiritual struggles, including bouts with clinical depression, culminate in an affirmation of marriage, life, and love that inspires Mairs to a stronger commitment. She struggles with self-image, with images of God, and with fears of loss and pain. Poignantly, she learns that she can love her husband ''more often than not, in a way that reflects the love of God,'' a sentiment that is tested when he is unfaithful. Mairs also finds feminism, Roman Catholicism, and sacrament in ways that inspire." Recommended for public and seminary libraries. —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The ``uneasy and unrelenting state of religious faith'' which, according to Mairs, has marked the ``whole of my conscious life,'' is explored with elan in this spiritual autobiography that generates sparks about many issues. As a Catholic feminist (an oxymoron, she observes), the author of Plaintext contemplates the thorny relationships she has had with the Church and with her family (at one time in her marriage, both partners were adulterous). She examines the effects of her multiple sclerosis and of her husband's cancer, conditions which contributed to their reconciliation and personal growth. In spirited essays that trace her journey from her Congregationalist childhood to her current individualistic Catholicism, she poses questions about marriage, parenthood and the meaning of suffering that will resonate with many contemporary lives. Her voice is challenging and her thrust at times radical, but Mairs maintains a disarming, self-deprecating wit and unflinching effort to remain true in this charting of the ``terrain of a conscientious life.'' (May)
Library Journal
This is the remarkable story of a woman who faces the vicissitudes of life with honesty, courage, and, ultimately, commitment. Hers is no easy or ideal life: her own adultery, her husband's adultery, his cancer, her multiple sclerosis, and her spiritual struggles, including bouts with clinical depression, culminate in an affirmation of marriage, life, and love that inspires Mairs to a stronger commitment. She struggles with self-image, with images of God, and with fears of loss and pain. Poignantly, she learns that she can love her husband ``more often than not, in a way that reflects the love of God,'' a sentiment that is tested when he is unfaithful. Mairs ( Carnal Acts , LJ 10/1/90) also finds feminism, Roman Catholicism, and sacrament in ways that inspire. Recommended for public and seminary libraries.
Kirkus Reviews
This is no ordinary book. A "spiritual companion" to Remembering the Bone House (1989), it continues Mairs's intensely personal interior journey as it explores issues of faith and social conscience with edgy honesty and poise. Most often, Mairs begins, religious belief is something you keep to yourself, but, in any case, life forces the construction of a moral sense, however haphazard its defining moments. The author's own convictions evolved gradually, along with a creeping feminism, until both she and husband George left behind the comfortable shelter of Protestant childhood labels and celebrated a Mass marking their conversion to Catholicism. Now they belong to the Community of Christ of the Desert and pursue the social-justice commitment articulated by Leonardo Boff, making political choices independent of official Church policy. Theirs is a spiritual quest, a profound collaboration, a willed engagement with people in need: "God was here, and the law was unembellished: take care of each other." Mairs's theology is by no means traditional, with unusual references to God ("she," always) and a stance that's "both pro- choice and anti-abortion," but her expression of religious belief is a powerful statement presented, as in previous books, in the context of family history and ongoing calamity—George's third bout with melanoma, her own increased physical deterioration from MS. Surpassing earlier efforts, she writes with extraordinary grace of "memory's malarial tenacity," of "the passionate tenderness children evoke" in their caregivers, or of the approach of death as "a kind of conversion experience." Consoling and poignant: a Catholic feminist moral inquiry thatresists New Age simplifications and shares its message of deep faith with courage and dignity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807070574
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Mairs is author of several acclaimed books, including Ordinary Time, Carnal Acts, Remembering the Bone House, and Plaintext.

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