Monday, November 28, 2011

Currently Reading: Girl Meets God

 photo from:

Girl Meets God: A Memior
Lauren F. Winner

Do I agree with her on every point?


Do I agree with anyone on every point.

Also no.

I am learning that people who think differently than I do are a treasure.  That they strengthen and fortify me.  That while it seems prickly and awkward at times, I am a better person and a better thinker when I am challenged in my comfortable ways.

This is Dr. Winner's memoir of her religious life.  She converted to Orthodox Judaism in her teen years and then converted again to Christianity in her twenties.  It is interesting to read how Christ wooed her.  How, despite her reluctance at at times, He made Himself known and revealed to her that He is the only way.  As she is a practicing Episcopalian and writes from that perspective, she showed me some of the beauty that I may have overlooked in liturgy.

While reading this book I told Mr. Mays that were I actually friends with Dr. Winner (which I am not) I could see myself pulling her aside one day at church and uncomfortably saying, "Um, so, I just wanted to let you know that Christians don't really talk like that...."  She is the kind of honest that I wish I could be with myself.  She says the things that "good Christians" won't even admit to thinking.  But there is something so incredibly appealing about her honesty.  Instead of judging her for the faults that she openly admits to having, I found it rather endearing to hear someone admit their sins rather than try and make excuses for them.

My copy of "Girl Meets God" has pencil markings throughout as I underlined and annotated my way through the text.  I stopped multiple times to read something aloud to Mr. Mays.

This is the third book I have read by Dr. Winner.  At the suggestion of a friend, I read Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chasity which has since become my one of my favorite books on sexuality from a Christian perspective and one that I have passed along to many friends.  I also read (and loved) Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation To A Life of Spiritual Disciplines which is actually on my Christmas list for this year.  :)

Here's the except I read aloud to my mom (from pages 261-262):

"I have always felt faintly embarrassed about the role Jan Karon's Mitford novels have played in my conversion.  I'm sure God, who could have thrown a little Dostoyevsky Barth in my path, was playing some sort of divine joke, figuring He would both get me to the baptismal font and erode some of my cherished intellectual snobbery in one fell swoop.  Still I often reflect on the books God has used in other people's conversions - Richard Gilman turned to Catholicism after reading Graham Greene and Georges Bernanos, for example, and Augustine famously became a Christian after reading the Book of Romans - and I feel annoyed that in His wisdom, He chose to reel me in with middle-brow Christian fiction.  It could be worse, I suppose.  I could have come to faith while reading Left Behind."

Read it.  You'll like it.  :)

On a side note, a dear friend of mine is studying at Duke Divinity School and Dr. Winner is her academic adviser!  How rad is that?! 


  1. Nice, honest review. I have met Lauren Winner a couple of different times and last year sat in a small writer's workshop with her.

    As I read your post, I kept thinking how Girl Meets God was an early book, early in her conversion, early in her walk with Christ. Mudhouse and Real Sex came much later. And I thought about how God changes us over time, and I find that as He works on hearts, sometimes the things that seem the most obvious to the world (language, for example) that could be changed, He saves for later as He conforms us more and more into His likeness.

    She is a hard-working writer. One of many things I walked away with from that that session with her was the importance of revision. Also, the importance of praying before and about my writing.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Mrs. Kroeker! How cool that you have had the chance to meet her before!

    I agree that this was written early in her conversion and even when I was reading it I wondered how she had progressed and changed since then.

  3. i came to faith after listening to dc talk and jars of clay. God uses the all sorts of things to nab us, i guess (even lapses in "good taste").


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