Lauren Winner’s Loneliness

All week, I’ll be posting about Lauren Winner’s new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. I’m doing so because I think it’s an important book, and I hope that you all read it.

Lauren is a self-confessed introvert, but that doesn’t meant that she doesn’t experience deep and terrifying loneliness, a topic she addresses forthrightly in Still:

I used to say to Ruth, in all those tortured moments before I left my husband, that what I feared most was loneliness. Not being alone, which I often find perfect and peaceful, but loneliness, which makes me want to die, which makes me think I will die, which I will do anything to avoid feeling: call a friend, go shopping; pedal endless, frantic miles on my stationary bike; pour another drink; take another sleeping pill.

What Ruth says is: Maybe I should try to stay in the loneliness, just for five minutes, just for ten minutes. Maybe the loneliness has something for me. Maybe I should see what that something is.

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Lauren Winner’s Divorce

All week, I’ll be posting about Lauren Winner’s new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. I’m doing so because I think it’s an important book, and I hope that you all read it.

Although Lauren denies it at the beginning of the book, this is a memoir. It is the sequel to Girl Meets God. And it is, like that book, funny, literary, and honest honest honest. It’s that honesty that is most striking to me in the book

A couple years ago, Lauren got divorced. In fact, we got divorced at about the same time, and we had a couple of late-night phone conversations about our shared experience. I didn’t really know Lauren before that, and we’ve become close friends since.

Back when we first talked about our divorces, we discussed the incredible pain involved. We also wondered about how honest we’d be able to be about our divorces in the Christian community. There is an inevitable — and understandable — stigma attached to divorce in the church, particularly among those of us who are considered Christian “leaders” (authors, speakers, professors, pastors). How honest can we be? we asked each other.

Well, for her part, Lauren answers that question in the preface:

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On Opening the Cabin

As I hinted last week, I’m tapering off on blogging for the next week or so, with a big change and significant increase in volume coming on June 1.  Watch this space for more details.

In the meantime, I’ve been at the family cabin the north woods of Minnesota, reading and prepping for the class on Christian Spirituality that I’m teaching (along with Lauren Winner and Phyllis Tickle) next month at Fuller Seminary.

Here’s a post I wrote last year about the significance of opening the cabin:

Honestly, I even think there’s something sacred about the fact that the cabin is locked up and snowed in from mid-October till now.  It’s inaccessible and uninhabitable, not unlike the pattern of fasting and feasting that’s so integral to all religious systems.  Being without this place for half the year causes me to long for it and appreciate it in a way that I likely would not if it were available to me all the time.

Join Lauren Winner, Phyllis Tickle, and Me on June 8 in Pasadena, CA

From Fuller Seminary’s Burner Blog:

Join authors Tony Jones, Lauren Winner and Phyllis Tickle as they discuss “Emerging Spiritualities in the American Church” as a part of the Christian Spirituality cohort in the Fuller Doctor of Ministry Program. The event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Berry Center for Lifelong Learning and The Burner Blog.

Date: 06/08/11

Ends: 06/08/11

Time: 7:00pm


Travis Auditorium, Pasadena, Calif.

via Tony Jones, Lauren Winner and Phyllis Tickle at Fuller « The Burner.