****Yes, I am still fasting from blogging. (Currently working hard on my memoir, my sanity =), my house & my marriage). However, I could not keep my new cool writer friend, Enuma Okoro waiting any longer, nor could I keep you lovely folks from hearing about this fantastic book. After this, it’s back to the blog fast for a bit more!****
So, I got an email awhile ago from a very sweet freelance writer, Enuma Okoro. Enuma penned the book Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community & co-authored a book with Shane Claiborne & Jonathon Wilson-Hartgrove: Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. I will definitely be getting a copy of that.
Anyhow, Enuma sent me a copy of her book to review & bada-boom, bada-bing here we go…
RP is about Enuma’s longing to be close to the Lord in the midst of feeling unbelievably far from the Lord’s people. It is honest, it is vulnerable, it is a wonderful storytellers’ journey to come to peace with all of life’s up and downs while feeling displaced in Christianity, ethnically & in her family.
What made it is so interesting for me -what I love most about the memoir form- is that she describes her world with enough detail to help you know her fairly well. I dare say, to help you understand her though she is of Nigerian decent, raised Catholic AND Anglican and grew up on three different continents. She does this with humor, grace and a touch of moody, self-indulgence as she openly states on her cover.
I must admit though: the first few chapters threw me for a loop. RP starts off laying all her cards on her the table. Is this just hemming and hawing? Is she just giving excuses for not wanting to go to Church? Not so. (I’m so judgmental, y’all. Boo) Having finished it, she’s trying to say (I think) –this is me, like me or leave me this is my journey.And I wanted to go with her on that journey, and figure out what happened.
It only took another chapter to completely win me over. And then for the next three days I slowly sipped from the delicious fountain Enuma poured out for us. And then I journaled, prayed and thought about the Lord and how much he loves all of us. And I felt like I got to know God in a different way through her book.
I see this book being helpful for anyone, but especially for those who identify with her journey of not fitting into any Christian community whatsoever. If this is you, please read this! If you don’t feel like God loves you, please read this! If you wonder if you are good enough, please read this! If you want to catch a glimpse of God through his interactions with someone very different than you, please read this! So, my point is, if you are a human being, please read this! =)
Lastly, I loved that she begins each chapter with a brief thoughtful poem prayer which addresses an attribute of God. For example:
“Chapter 19 – Intimate God, you walked with Adam and befriended Moses. Give me the courage to nag you relentlessly as a holy lover.”
Pretty awesome, eh?
I’ll leave you with this quote, also from chapter 19…
“On a serious note, I don’t think we can ever nag God. Nagging suggests we’re being a pain in God’s proverbial ass. Bringing our cares and desires and worries to God is never a pain in God’s ass. Maybe God experiences holy frustration when we can’t seem to see the answers God’s already provided, or when we refuse to redirect our prayers as the Spirit guides us. But overall I’m choosing to believe God would rather be in ongoing conversation with us about whatever plagues, haunts, or disturbs us than have us pretend we’re so divinely patient and willing to ask once and trust if it’s meant to be, it will be. When I look to the Bible, I don’t see any of that saccharine shit going on.”
If there’s ever a book, I Grace Biskie love, it’s one that gives it to me straight. Enuma did this beautifully.