Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
HarperOne, Hardcover, 9780061768118, 272pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
In the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, Lauren F. Winner chronicled her sojourn from Judaism to Christianity. Now, in Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair: My belief has faltered, my sense of Gods closeness has grown strained, my efforts at living in accord with what I take to be the call of the gospel have come undone.
Witty, relatable, and fiercely honest, Winner lays bare her experience of what she calls the middle of the spiritual life. In elegant and spare prose, she explores whyin the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness, and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God isthe Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story shes ever known. Still is an absorbing meditation combining literary grace with spiritual wisdom. It is sure to resonate with anyone looking to sustain a spiritual life in the midst of real life.
Lauren f. Winner is the author of numerous books, including Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath, and teaches at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Books & Culture, and other periodicals.
“Anyone committed to truly examining the shape of personal faith, unfolding over the years in a broken world, should sense a fruitful opportunity, if not a solemn obligation, to expound at length…[Winner] probes these depths as deftly and eloquently as anyone writing today… An instant spiritual classic.”
“In present-tense, lyrical essays . . . [Winner] explores her emotional landscape as she struggles to move beyond the depression that plagues her following her mother’s death and her own divorce. Examining feelings of grief, failure, and doubt . . . Winner brings poetic nuances to her exquisitely crafted prose.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Compulsively readable, direct yet never indiscreet, Winner’s book shows intelligence and verve as it seriously addresses the spiritual crises around God’s apparent absence or silence, as faced by many. A must-have for Winner’s readers and fans of Anne Lamott.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“Titles to pick up now... Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis: insights on spiritual uncertainty from a devout Christian convert.”
-O, the Oprah Magazine
“Elegantly written . . . eminently readable.”
“The book is made to pour over again and again. You’ll fill the pages with underlines, the margins with notes. Each short chapter is loaded with insights that don’t so much build on one another as weave a rich tapestry of possibilities in the midst of a spiritual desert.”
“[A] provocative memoir . . . an open, honest contemplation of a spiritual impasse.”
“Winner writes thoughtfully and eloquently about finding herself in the middle and accepting her place there.”
“Still grasps for faith in a Middle space and discovers a stranger, bigger and more faithful God than we expected.”
“Soft and vulnerable, yet blunt and veracious . . . If you’re a lover of books like Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott or any other writers who are not afraid to unveil their imperfections in hopes of finding kindred spirits, then take this walk with Winner.”
“Winner possesses a flair for narrative and a willingness to use her life’s story as an easel. . . . Like Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies), or Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Winner is at her best spinning small but hopeful meditations on life’s imperfections.”
-The Washington Post
“Lauren Winner’s brave, spare, and subtle book is a great gift to the church. She lifts up doubt and absence with enough honesty to reveal the unfinished edges, and the radiance, of faith itself.”
-Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak
“Winner grabs God’s hiddenness by the shoulders and will not let go. She knows the grace that can only be learned when we stand with Moses, staring into the raging waters, and hear a voice say, ‘The LORD will fight for you; you need only to stand still.”
-Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of The Wisdom of Stability
“Still water reveals depth--as does this account of ordinary life and what lies beneath.”
-Philip Yancey, author of What Good Is God?
“An unusually painful story, told with rare honesty by an unusually gifted writer.”
-N.T. Wright, author of Simply Jesus
“Not for the faint-hearted, Winner’s book not only undresses and confronts doubt, but imparts new courage to trust God through it.”
-Worship Leader Magazine
“Winner is one of those gifted teachers who slips in some wisdom along with the sweet stuff on the spoon. We take our medicine from the ancients, the Christian mystics and the scriptures while tasting the sweetness of her narrative.”
“In an age when it is much easier to make fun of the church than to love it ... Winner has made the church a main character so honestly drawn that we recognize it ... treasure it and laugh in amazement that God can work with it. Still.”
“Still is about losing the connection to God, or Jesus, and then getting that connection back.”