Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

Printer-friendly version
Monday, February 20, 2012

A new book by Lauren Winner, assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School, exploring an unexpected crisis in the middle of her faith journey has drawn national attention from the Christian and popular media.

The memoir, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, has received critical acclaim in periodicals and blogs ranging from USA Today and Christianity Today magazine (which called the book “an instant spiritual classic”) to Beliefnet and Publishers Weekly.  Published by HarperOne in January, the book also was recommended in book lists in the February issues of O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine and Vanity Fair magazine.

A recently ordained Episcopal priest, Winner has been interviewed about the memoir on North Carolina Public Radio’s “The State of Things,” and her book has been featured in a Religion Roundtable on Patheos, a website on religion and spirituality.

Winner writes of finding herself in a mid-faith crisis that caught her by surprise and situated her in a stage during which God seemed to be hiding. “Yet in those same moments of strained belief, of not knowing where or if God is, it has also seemed that the Christian story keeps explaining who and where I am, better than any other story I know,” Winner writes in her book.

She also writes that American Christianity has often taught people how to talk about the beginnings of their faith lives – their conversions, their born-again moments – but has offered less language for narrating the complicated middles of the spiritual life.

“I don't like to think that I am embarking on an extended sojourn into the spiritual equivalent of middle school, all insecurity and queen bee alpha girls. I begin to look for other middles, middles with more specificity, more grist,” Winner writes in the book, and goes on to explore how the linguistic concept of the “middle voice” and the artistic concept of “middle tint” might serve as fruitful metaphors for middle seasons of the life of faith. 

Winner will do a reading and book signing today (Feb. 20) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at her parish, St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 1737 Hillandale Road in Durham, N.C., as part of a fund-raiser for the church’s youth group.

In addition, she will be the guest preacher at the Duke University Sunday Worship Service on March 11 from 11 a.m. to noon and also lead the 2012 Anglican Episcopal House of Study Day, "Re-imagining God: Vintage Shopping in the Scriptural Closet," on March 12 at the Divinity School. The study day offers clergy and other ministry professionals the chance to learn and reflect on a theological topic.

Winner writes and lectures on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish-Christian relations. Her other books include Girl Meets God, Mudhouse Sabbath, Real Sex, and A Cheerful and Comfortable Faith.