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.
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.