Book Review: And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas (Four Stars)


Book Review: And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life by Jane Christmas

Four Stars

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G. K. Chesterton.

What might a wantabee-nun have to say to us normal people? A lot, and not all of it about faith or religious institutions. An honest, introspective foray into the contemplative life in the twenty-first century by a woman of the world. A good starting point for a lay person wondering how the other half–no, not half; a vanishingly small percent–lives and worships.

“You don’t rewrite Shakespeare’s sonnets to make them more understandable, you grow in your understanding of the words.”

Folksy, but wordy prose. Her narrative sucks the reader in and propels you along, but a bitmore polish is expected from a professional writer.

“Just as the prettiest vineyard doesn’t produce the best wine, neither does the grandest cathedral or the most respected theology think tank produce the holiest specimens.”

Many reflections on Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England organization, theology and practice versus Roman Catholic. Too esoteric for many readers.

“Lent is the desert season, an intense, bleak period requiring more spiritual vigilance, deeper introspection, and greater resistance to self-gratification. The grand reward is spiritual transformation.”

Correctly identifies practices and prejudices in the church and greater society, but a bit shrill on social gospel. Several references to herself as a “Warrior Nun.”  Promotes “writ[ing] letters of outrage” and other, more direct action against real and perceived faults.

“Faith is not a surrender of the mind but an expansion of it, and the heart and soul as well.”

“Hearing nuns’ confession was like being stoned to death with popcorn.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen