Saturday, July 4, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

OK. So what were the other two books I bought?

After nine years serving on the staff of a big urban church in Atlanta, Barbara Brown Taylor arrives in rural Clarkesville, Georgia (population 1,500), following her dream to become the pastor of her own small congregation. The adjustment from city life to country dweller is something of a shock -- Taylor is one of the only professional women in the community -- but small-town life offers many of its own unique joys. Taylor has five successful years that see significant growth in the church she serves, but ultimately she finds herself experiencing "compassion fatigue" and wonders what exactly God has called her to do. She realizes that in order to keep her faith she may have to leave.

Taylor describes a rich spiritual journey in which God has given her more questions than answers. As she becomes part of the flock instead of the shepherd, she describes her poignant and sincere struggle to regain her footing in the world without her defining collar. Taylor's realization that this may in fact be God's surprising path for her leads her to a refreshing search to find Him in new places.Leaving Church will remind even the most skeptical among us that life is about both disappointment and hope -- and ultimately, renewal.

From Booklist
Collins is a jester and a double agent. A poet readers flock to, he gets the laughs and the applause, he paces and bows, concealing his weapons and serious mien. His self-portraiture is mordant, his drollery preemptive, his insouciance camouflage, his intelligence of the stealth kind, and his intricately constructed poems detonate as they blossom in the reader’s mind. Collins is fanciful and mindful, cocky and prayerful, blissful over ordinary things and intimate with dread and loneliness. Here he is morose in Paris, staring down a fish staring back on a plate in Pittsburgh, rain-harried in Dublin, awake and repentant at the fringe of night in a bright bathroom, loitering with intent in the kitchen. Collins’ seductive poems are decoys drawing us into deep waters where memories waft like tangled weeds and death lurks in the cold spots. Wryly philosophical, caustically whimsical, disarmingly beautiful, Collins’ covertly powerful lyrics deftly snare all that is fine and ludicrous about us, from the old habit of poetry itself to the spell of love and the long, rolling song of the self. --Donna Seaman

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