My fifth-grade son used to walk around the house pretending to be texting. Rehearsing what has become a central practice of 21st-century life, he would move his thumbs across a cast-off cell phone that no longer worked. Finding no solace in the fact that he had the rest of his life to be beholden to gadgetry, he had decided that feigned distraction was better than no distraction at all.
Lauren Winner first drew widespread literary attention in 2004 with the spritely spiritual memoir Girl Meets God: A Memoir, which told the story of her conversion first to Orthodox Judaism and then to a Christianity of a Jesus-loving-Anglican-intellectual-evangelical kind. That book, with its fun and its chatty tone, snuck up on me like a charming guest at a cocktail party.
When I was doing my taxes this year, it occurred to me that the process is a bit like praying the prayer of examen. This Ignatian prayer is used at the end of the day to think back on what happened that day, to ponder where God was in it and to think ahead to the next day. In doing my taxes, I was forced to think back on the events of my life in 2011, both the good and the bad.
Most Bosnian Muslims living in America—Bosniaks, as they are called— immigrated during the Balkan wars, from 1992 to 1995. They don’t fit the stereotype of what a Muslim looks like. The women rarely wear the hijab, except for prayers. Bosnians blend into American society fairly well. Bosnian Muslims will often overhear other Americans speaking pejoratively about Muslims. When Bosniaks announce they are Muslims, coworkers and neighbors are shocked (Los Angeles Times, July 4).