Girl Meets God - Lauren F. Winner

I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while, mostly because I knew Lauren Winner's writing from RQ, and it seems we have some friends in common through that magazine. It happened to finally come into my life at a time when I have suddenly been reading and hearing and learning a lot about the (very broken) relationship between Christianity and Judaism, and so it was oddly appropriate that this book is largely about Winner's spiritual journey from growing up in a mixed-religion home, to her conversion to Orthodox Judaism, to her baptism as a follower of Jesus. Besides learning a lot that I didn't know about what it means to be Orthodox, I was fascinated by the struggles she has encountered in trying to mesh her present and former lives. When she first became a Christian, Winner emptied her apartment of all Jewish prayer books and paraphernalia, and talked about giving up the baking of Challah bread, one of her favorite rituals. This shocked me - I have never thought that a Jewish person who decides to follow Jesus would ever disavow her status as one of God's Chosen People. It still doesn't entirely make sense to me, but by the end of the story Winner is slowly rebuilding her collection of literary Judaica (which made me feel much better).

In addition to rambling theological discussions (which I love, by the way), this story is also intensely personal. So much so that it almost made me uncomfortable as I was reading it: "Lauren, we haven't even met yet, are you sure you want to be telling me this?" But I appreciate that she is being as honest as humanly possible in telling her story, which makes that story more compelling than if she had tried to make it more genteel.

Fed to robyn's brain | March 07, 2003