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!