Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{WWRW} Why SOTG Matters

Linking up with Jessica over at HousewifeSpice for another installment of What We're Reading Wednesday.

I suspect my reading looked very similar to many, many bloggers this week.

Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It

No doubt you've seen many pictures of this book floating around the blogosphere.

If you've read any other reviews, you know this is the conversion story of Jennifer Fulwiler, blogger at Conversion Diary.  It is fantastically written.  Just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.  If I hadn't found this absolutely stunning, I would have quietly put it on the back of my shelf and not mentioned it.  But you need to know about this book.  Because, perhaps, something written here will strike you as it did me.

I'm not going to give away any spoilers here.  I know many books were delayed in the shipping and if that had been mine, I would be so disappointed to stumble across a spoiler on a favorite blog.

So, instead, I will tell you not only that you must read it, I will tell you why.

Jennifer's account is warm.  It grabs you from the first moment when she recounts an experience as an 11 year-old atheist.  From the position of a cradle Catholic, I've never been so effectively placed in the shoes of an atheist.  Jennifer got to me.  From the very center of my being, I cringed when she spoke of feeling ostracized by Christians. 

That's not how we're supposed to be.  But too often, we just don't spend enough time loving and learning about someone; we try to place them into our boxes. 

Jennifer describes her struggle with the finality and futility of life so honestly.  I was so deeply drawn into her story, that I felt shock and elation as she crept towards the Catholic Church.  I sobbed like a big baby when read the story of her baptism.  I could just feel the saints in heaven singing, and for every parent or grandparent that worries about the faith of their children/grandchildren, I felt a St. Monica moment over that baptism story.  Jennifer's grandparents HAD to be singing with the chorus of angels when they saw her come into the Church.

For all that I love conversion stories, this one was special.  It gave me a better understanding and new appreciation for the atheist perspective.  All my life, I have sorted it into the box of "unbelief".  Atheists were classified in my mental stores as lacking in a belief system.  While perhaps that is the case with some I've encountered, Jennifer showed me how good people could be so convinced; how there is a mental construct that centers focus elsewhere, rather than not having a focus at all.  That was my biggest gift in reading this story.  It grew my compassion and understanding.  It increased my ability to love.  It renewed my hope that there is always a way home, from any direction.

In seeing how Jennifer was loved and reasoned into the faith by articulate, intelligent Catholics, it also renewed my desire to grow in the understanding of my faith. 

What Scott Hahn's Rome Sweet Home is to the Protestant convert to Catholicism, Something Other Than God is to the Atheist.  It is the path, forged and shared, making the journey more relate-able for us all.


  1. Wow, Annery, I am SO honored by your words!

    I'm so encouraged by your perspective, because one of the big things I wanted to do in the early chapters of the book was make atheists feel like they could relate to the old me. My hope is that if a nonbeliever somehow stumbled across the book, he or she would read the first few pages and think, "Hey, yeah, that's how I feel a lot of the time." It sounds like there might be hope for that.

    Thank you for such an insightful and generous review!

    1. And I mean every bit of it. I gave a copy to a family member who is questioning and I'm hoping it gives her some thoughts and questions to ask that will help her come home.

  2. Guess that one need to be added to my reading list.

    Welcome to the Catholic blog directory. I'd like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, which is a weekly link-up where Catholic bloggers share their posts with each other. This week's host post is at It is a great way to meet fellow bloggers and attract new readers to your blog.


I welcome positive, supportive sharing in this community. God bless!