For Catholics and Protestants alike, Augustine’s views of grace and freedom have set the theological agenda. His trinitarian theology, his account of evil and his views on the relationship between the church and secular government also continue to be the subject of fierce debate.
Elizabeth Marquardt’s book sat on my shelf for many weeks. I really wanted to read it. I had heard about her research and had been intrigued. Yet I kept avoiding actually opening the book. It does not take a shrink to tell me I was avoiding it because I didn’t want to take a look into this particular mirror.
To keep his two-year-old son amused during long family dinners, a father invents a game: he tells the story of a little boy who finds himself in a scary, dangerous place—a cave perhaps, or a witch’s house, or a dark forest. Sometimes the boy rescues himself; sometimes an animal or a kindly human being helps him find his way back home.
Few writers can stand on the edge of personal destruction and then report on the process with both mordant wit and complete honesty. For Anne Lamott, the combination made Traveling Mercies a runaway best seller.
Six years later, Lamott continues her account of her new faith and its application to her life as a writer, church member and parent in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. In the five years since Traveling, Lamott seems to have gained strength, propelling herself forward through rough moments by leaning on her congregation, her friendships and therapy, and shaping a Christian life for herself and her son, Sam, now a teenager.