Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith

Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith

I had tried everything: therapy, medication, meditation. Everything except God. Lily Burana was in crisis. Desperate for rescue from her depression and anxiety, the punk-rock-girl-turned-writer feared she would die. She was down to her remedy of last resort: faith. A lapsed believer who had drifted away from the church and into a life on the margins during her young adult...

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Title:Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith
Author:Lily Burana
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Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith Reviews

  • Holly

    I have never, for the millions of books I've read, ever wanted to meet an author so much after reading something. This book resonated with me in a way that nothing else of this genre has before, and I highly recommend it to (a) those who don't fit into the box, don't even want to fit in the box, but want to come to terms with their faith, (b) those who aren't sure where they fit at all, and (c) those who do fit into the box who want to reach out to others. I recommend it to the last group becaus

    I have never, for the millions of books I've read, ever wanted to meet an author so much after reading something. This book resonated with me in a way that nothing else of this genre has before, and I highly recommend it to (a) those who don't fit into the box, don't even want to fit in the box, but want to come to terms with their faith, (b) those who aren't sure where they fit at all, and (c) those who do fit into the box who want to reach out to others. I recommend it to the last group because this book was written from the trenches...and it seems that people just don't really understand the trenches unless they've lived through them. This book is detailed, and will give a realistic view to those who haven't been there.

  • Melanie Springer Mock

    Such beautiful writing. Burana sets a high bar for nonfiction by a Christian author in this book, probably my favorite memoir about faith, grace, mercy, forgiveness since Lamott's "Traveling Mercies."

  • Janice

    I really, really appreciated this book because I also have been (and still are to a real extent) on the same kind of journey towards faith. It is not an easy path but Lily Burana makes it both accessible and interesting. I enjoyed her wit and candour and don’t hesitate to recommend this book to any fellow travelers.

    My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.

  • Audacia Ray

    I read this book because I love Lily and will read anything she writes, and because I was skeptically curious about how a woman I’ve always identified with could go and get churchy. I was happily surprised to find that more than being a book about re-finding Jesus, it’s a book about coping, survival, pain and loss - exactly my kind of read. No easy solutions, no “it was Gods plan” garbage. I’m still an atheist, though I think I’m becoming less of an asshole about it, and I really appreciated get

    I read this book because I love Lily and will read anything she writes, and because I was skeptically curious about how a woman I’ve always identified with could go and get churchy. I was happily surprised to find that more than being a book about re-finding Jesus, it’s a book about coping, survival, pain and loss - exactly my kind of read. No easy solutions, no “it was Gods plan” garbage. I’m still an atheist, though I think I’m becoming less of an asshole about it, and I really appreciated getting into Lily’s field notes as she muddled through a reckoning with faith.

  • Elizabeth

    In this collection of loosely connected essays, Lily Burana clearly enters into the humorous yet heartachingly real vein of spiritual author extraordinaire Anne Lamott. She tracks her journey back to the faith with clarity, honesty and a hefty dose of (fun) self-deprecation.

    For me, Burana is at her best in her early essays, where she tracks the miracle of her turn towards God in the midst of mental illness and her slow, unsure stepping toward Him, asking for signs with the impunity of Gideon. I

    In this collection of loosely connected essays, Lily Burana clearly enters into the humorous yet heartachingly real vein of spiritual author extraordinaire Anne Lamott. She tracks her journey back to the faith with clarity, honesty and a hefty dose of (fun) self-deprecation.

    For me, Burana is at her best in her early essays, where she tracks the miracle of her turn towards God in the midst of mental illness and her slow, unsure stepping toward Him, asking for signs with the impunity of Gideon. Its hard, however, as an almost lifelong, mostly enthusiastic, only briefly interrupted believer, not to get weary at her continuous aching to be, you know – Christian, but certainly not that type of Christian. Its not so much her progressive Christianity that irks – I’m a huge Lamott fan and a bit lefty myself, but she’s very soapbox-y about it, and includes almost no serious theological treatments of the issues beyond how she already felt about them which makes it all fall sort of flat.

    The author also felt unrelatable to me. For some reason, I got a serious yuppie vibe, despite her constant references to her less than yuppie past.

    In addition, the essays seem to wander a bit. Although each individual one is, at the very least, decent writing, some only tangentially seem related to the theme of the collection. In truth, I feel like there’s two good books that have been smushed together into one okay book. One book which deals with themes of family, illness, and grief; the other which deals with finding religion and inviting God’s grace into the daily life of the author.

    There are good things in this book, and for outsiders who want to know what sort of Christianity exists beyond the religious right, it’s a decent look. But progressive Christianity has a lot more solid writing to offer beyond just “this is what I believe, and I couldn’t accept a God who didn’t agree with me”. Overall, I find it simply too meandering and unfocused as a collection of spiritual essays.

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