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Monday, May 28, 2012

RevGalBookPals: Any Day A Beautiful Change


Today we review Any Day a Beautiful Change, a new book by ring member Katherine Willis Pershey, whose blog has the same title. See the end of the review for a chance to win a free copy!

I am not a young clergywoman, and so possibly not the intended audience for Katherine Willis Pershey's small but powerful memoir.  And I will admit, I approached her book with some fear and trembling.  Though I read many memoirs, I have avoided sometimes those that have dealt much with motherhood and ministry, a combination I have yearned for but have not been able to experience.  Yet I'm glad I read this book, because Katherine Willis Pershey is not afraid to tell the truth.

She tells the truth about her own life, about the challenges of life in a tiny parish, and how the members there supported her.  She tells the truth about her courtship and marriage, about the specific challenges that she and her husband faced, and in those I think all of us can recognize our own challenges when we have tried (either successfully or unsuccessfully) to navigate the terrain of ministry marriage. 

What I am most impressed with is that she doesn't spare herself.  She tells the truth about her own missteps; she extends grace to herself as well as others.  And she carefully weaves throughout her story the stories of Scripture.

I was particularly moved by her chapter, "Saved by the Childbearing."  She considers one of the most difficult passages of Scripture in terms of her own experience of becoming a mother, and navigates through both the Scripture passage and the early days back in her church.  In closes, she muses that though she exegeted one particular passage, "Saved by THE childbearing," meaning, saved by the One born fully human and fully divine, she considers another truth later on:

"though it seems an affront to my feminism and my faith, it's true:  I am one woman who has been saved -- at least in part -- by childbearing.  Not just the childbearing that Mary undertook to bring the newborn Christ into the world, but the childbearing I did to bring the newborn Juliette into the world.  Her birth opened something in me, and while that opening is a magnet for fear -- and oh, what a risk it is to love so completely-- it is also an invitation to greater faith, love, and holiness." (p.47.)

To me, the close of her book does not seem to be an ending, but more a "to be continued..."  At the conclusion of her book, she is setting out from California to Illinois, with her husband, a two-year-old, and a new call, and more new and unexpected life.  There is more beautiful change in store.

But like the close of the book of Acts, perhaps the ending is an invitation to each of us to consider our own unfinished lives and ministries, and how the tasks and relationships that God has called us to make us the people that we are.

What are your insights, thoughts, and experiences upon reading this book?  Let us know what you thought, what moved you, what caused you to wonder.

Chalice Press provided a free copy of this book for review; no promises were made to the author or reviewer in exchange. Chalice Press is also offering a free copy of "Any Day A Beautiful Change" to a follower of RevGalBlogPals. To be entered in the drawing leave a comment here or reply to a RevGalBookPals' post on our Facebook page or group, or send us an @ response on Twitter. The deadline for commenting is 9 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, May 29. The winner will be determined using a random number generator. Many thanks to Chalice and to Katherine Willis Pershey!

25 comments:

  1. I would love a copy of this. Several young clergy and I are going to read this for book club.
    Megan

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  2. I read this book a couple of weeks after Easter. I was engaged by the story, wondering what the next chapter would bring, and found Katherine's writing refreshing.

    I read it as a by-stander...watching what happened in her life but realizing that her life of church/husband/child/family/ministry are so very different from being single in the church/ministry. All that aside, I would recommend this book as it's story does not sugar-coat ministry and life.

    sidebar: I tried to post this on FB but keep getting a data-writing entry error (not just on the RevGals but on all of FB)

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    1. Purple, try logging out and back in again. If that doesn't help, you might want to try another browser. Which one do you use?

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    2. Thanks Martha. I've tried it in Chrome and IE as well as logging in and out. No luck. I believe I am at the mercy of the "FB Help Center" which I've sent three emails for them to know what is happening. I am wondering if it is something with my login in that I can not post from my iphone either.

      Love technology when it works...when it doesn't...I tend to use colorful metaphors!

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  3. Really interested in reading this one I am not "young" but am a clergy woman about to begin service in a tiny parish. Sounds like a good read

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  4. Appreciate this review and now I'm looking forward to reading Katherine's book too.

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  5. This sounds like a lovely book and I am going to order it later today thanks to this review.

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  6. THank you for the review. I would love to read this book. Ministry interwoven with family and family-of-origin is an ongoing theme for each of us who are clergy and parents.

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  7. Have not read it yet, but I really look forward to it. Thanks for the review, Diane!

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  8. (I don't need a copy of the book...I have one!)

    I love love loved Katherine's book. I thought it was beautifully written and unflinchingly honest, and her storytelling style fit exactly with how I know her to be and with how I understand ministry and other callings (family, etc) to fit together. I'm a single young clergy woman, but still loved this book. The fact that I know Katherine in person was a beautiful bonus, since I can hear her voice and see her face when reading. I am hopeful that lots of people will read this, as it's an entry into young married life, young parents, the church, and so many other things that are important in the lives of young adults in these times.

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  9. Thank you so much for highlighting this book, it sounds like a great and inspiring read. And it raises interest for me as a "younger" pastor with small children.

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  10. I would love to have a copy of the book.

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  11. I have loved reading Katherine's blog for years and I loved this book so much!! I thank Katherine for her depth of sharing. She reminded me that I am not alone as a young woman in negotiating family and ministry. I hope there is a two-be continued! Katherine's writing is graceful and beautiful.

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  12. This sounds like a wonderful book. As a young single clergy woman, it would be interesting to read her perspective on ministry as someone down a life path that I may take (married, kids).

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  13. Sounds wonderful. I would love to read it.

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  14. Sounds wonderful. I would love to read it.

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  15. Looks great! I would love to read it!

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  16. Sounds like a good summer read.

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  17. This sounds like a phenomenal book and one that resonates with me as I'm beginning in ministry with young children (that came to us by way of adoption) yet I, too, am not a young clergwoman having just turned 49 today. I'm glad to be introduced to Katherine's work and now plan on subscribing to her blog. Thank you.

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  18. No, I'm not a young clergywoman (although I'm young on the inside) and my children are out fo the nest, but I've enjoyed Katherine's blog for quite some time - I'd love to read the book!

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  19. I just turned 49 a few days ago but began seminary when my kids via adoption were 8 months and 4 yo. Now 2.3 years into my first call, I find I can relate to some of her blog posts. I would love to read her book. Being in central IL in the same denom, I am wondering if I will get the chance to meet her in a couple of weeks at annual meeting. My contact info, if I were to win the drawing is jaxucc@frontier.com. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  20. Thanks for the review, Diane. I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

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  21. Thanks for the wonderful review and kind comments! I'm hopeful that the book will find an audience beyond clergy women - let alone just young clergy women. I think the amazing thing about memoirs is that they offer a lens into someone's life that can be very different from your own.

    Happy reading. :)

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  22. We have a winner from over at the Facebook group. Thanks, everyone!

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