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Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (1998)

by Kathleen Norris

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Great book. I had been hounding my men's bible study group to read it and discuss it as a group (I eventually gave up on that and decided to just read it on my own); after reading it, I believe more than ever that there is a terrific amount of material to discuss, with most chapters only a few pages long. Kathleen Norris provides thoughts on many terms associated with the Chritian faith, and many of her comments will provoke some soul-searching, by members of all Christian traditions. Something for everyone. And great for those that are seeking to understand some of the words we Christians seem to throw around believing that everyone else understands what we are saying. A very good read in my opinion. ( )
  highlander6022 | Mar 16, 2016 |
Other nonfiction books by Kathleen Norris are The Virgin of Bennington, The Cloister Walk, and Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. She has also published books of poetry. Elle Magazine said of this book, "It's hard to imagine less off-putting or pious writing about religion than this sublimely commensensical lexicon of words and concepts that, as Kathleen Norris explains them, have rarely sounded less frightening--or quite so simple to understand."
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  uufnn | May 25, 2015 |
The most powerful, thought-provoking book on religion which I've ever read. I re-read it frequently. ( )
  annemlanderson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Another home run by Norris. I need to go back and reread this having read her Cloister Walk and Dakota as the streams of the three works have become con-fused in my recollection. ( )
  Tpoi | Aug 10, 2011 |
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  MsPibel | Mar 3, 2010 |
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Epigraph
O to grace how great a debtor...Robert Robertson-"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
Dedication
For my husband David
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I was about sixteen years of age when I discovered the word "eschatology."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0783802978, Hardcover)

"Our ridiculously fallible language becomes a lesson in how God's grace works despite and even through our human frailty. We will never get the words exactly right. There will always be room for imperfection, for struggle, growth and change. And this is as it should be." With observations like this one, Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota and The Cloister Walk, has again provided a salutary corrective for contemporary Christians in Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. The book is about how she learned to use religious words, such as "incarnation," "idolatry," and "evangelism." Norris is a feminist, a theological conservative, a sophisticate, and a country bumpkin. And she's one of the few living Christian writers who can be described as truly great.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:04 -0400)

"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, story-telling, 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." -- from back cover.… (more)

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