Our Hearts Are Restless: The Art of Spiritual Memoir

Richard Lischer
Oxford University Press
Published Year: 
Book cover for "Our Hearts Are Restless" featuring books formed into the shape of a heart

Richard Lischer, the James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor Emeritus of Preaching at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book, Our Hearts Are Restless: The Art of Spiritual Memoir, a guided tour of spiritual autobiography that grants readers new insights and appreciation of the genre.

The genre of spiritual autobiography has flourished ever since Augustine essentially invented it in the fourth century. Lischer, himself the author of two spiritual memoirs, takes readers in this new book on a tour of the genre, examining the life writings of twenty-one figures from the expected (Thomas Merton) to the surprising (James Baldwin); from the sublime Julian of Norwich and Emily Dickinson to the outrageous Anne Lamott.

Our Hearts Are Restless shows readers how history's most brilliant spiritual writers have sought and found a pattern of meaning in the face of tragedy, conflict, and the responsibilities of daily life.

Lischer is the author of 15 books including the prize-winning The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word That Moved America, a classic published 25 years ago on King and his mission to “redeem the soul of America.” An updated edition was reissued in 2020. He is also the author of the anthology The Company of Preachers, The End of Words: The Language of Reconciliation in a Culture of Violence, and Just Tell the Truth: A Call to Faith, Hope, and Courage.

Lischer has taught and lectured widely in the areas of practical theology, ministry, religious autobiography, and preaching. He has held many distinguished lectureships, including the Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale Divinity School. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 from the Academy of Homiletics. Visit Professor Richard Lischer’s website.