Set in the context of the Church Year, The Close is an enthralling account of one young woman's spiritual journey. It is both a personal meditation on faith, in the spirit of Kathleen Norris's Cloister Walk, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of a graduate student's first year, in the mode of Scott Turow's One L. Raised in a liberal, interfaith home, Breyer, responding to an inner call to a spiritual vocation, began her training at New York's General Theological Seminary in 1997. She describes her intense immersion in daily prayer, the rigors and rewards of the academic program, and the challenging tension between secular and spiritual that marks her training, including working as a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital. She probes the day-to-day meanings of such profound issues as exaltation, enlightenment, and redemption, illuminating the unique experience of a young person of faith preparing to live and hoping to thrive in a secular modern world.
|Publisher:||Da Capo Press|
About the Author
Chloe Breyer is a seminary student at General Theological Seminary in New York City. The daughter of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, she is the founder of Who Cares, a publication for people working in service and community activism. This is her first book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a seminary student who just completed his first year, I could relate to Chloe's struggles through Greek, marriage, and questions of purpose in the ministry. Her book is well written and honest and has appeal beyond seminarians. Yet, I think the book speaks to the larger issue of the failure of liberal theology as it relates to ministry. She wants to retain her liberal activism while finding justification through selective Biblical passages. Unfortunately, she discovers that her Jesus, one who is stripped of his hard teachings she deems intolerant, does not offer much hope to the world she so desires to service. Although she mocks those for whom Jesus is their 'personal saviour,' she is ultimately left with the question her husband posed after hearing one of her redactional cricitcal sermons. He asks 'So what?' I think the reader is left with the same question as she enlightens us with her critical Biblical position that she tries to balance with ministry...So what, Chloe?
I greatly enjoyed reading 'The Close.' As a woman that has always wondered about going to seminary for post-graduate study, it was great to see how Chloe was challenged by her classes and the seminary atmosphere that seemed to follow her even when she was off campus. It was also great to read about how she battled with the toughest issues of Christian faith. Recommened highly!
I read this book very much interested in the topic, especially as someone who may also be heading to seminary soon. The stories of CPE, the classes, the questions were all good. The change in tense though got to me. Breyer would often try to place the reader in the 'present' by using the present tense. This got to be annoying when it would switch back and forth between present and past within paragraphs. Also the retelling of an event that took place her second year of seminary seemed out of place in an analysis of her first year of seminary.
This is a wonderful book told with great honesty, humor, and deep spirituality. It is not only about a young women's journey toward the Episcopal priesthood at a particular seminary, it is also a beautiful account of how the authro found her theological 'voice'. It is a book that would appeal to people considering seminary. But it is also in the vein of 'Cloister Walk' and other spiritual books of that kind and thus would appeal to a much wider audience. Great book!