I am finishing up one book: The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong and am halfway through another: In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister.
In Armstrong's book, she shares her journey through the convent, her loss of faith, and her transformation to a different type of "monastic" existence as she puts it as a "freelance monotheist." Her journey is fascinating. I have read several of her books and this one provides more insight into her journey as she was writing those books. I find that I can relate to her loss of faith and her transformation. I also found it fascinating that she lives a type of contemplative life now in the world. I can relate to that.

In the book, In Search of Belief, Chittister writes as a nun who left behind a faith that no longer made sense, allowing it to develop into something more thoughtful and powerful. This book is about the Apostles Creed, and her new eyes to read the creed in a new way. No longer able to sign on the dotted line of traditional regurgitated belief in how the creed is understood, Chittister explores how to understand the words of the Apostle's Creed in a postmodern way-making room for women, the environment, inter-religious understanding and the such. Like Armstrong, Chittister has undergone a transformation that has deepened her understanding.

Both women have had to confront their traditional understandings that were given to them. Leaving behind this hand me down faith, they have made it their own. In both of these stories you see pain, loss, and renewal.

My own journey as a fundamentalist and being kicked out of my church led to a real crises of faith. I was not prepared to confront my own inner demons, nor did I know how to move beyond what dogmas I had been fed as absolute truth. It took years...even during my conversion to Catholicism and entering a religous community-I had not grieved the loss of my dogmatic faith...and thus I was not ready to explore a new understanding of ancient Christian teachings. At times I feel I am still pushing through some of the grieving stages....loss, anger, etc. What both of these books do is provide are stories of those who have gone on similar journeys, though they have emerged on opposite sides of the fence (one left Christianity and the convent and one stayed).


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