Tuesday, December 17, 2013

WITS Book Reviews December 2013

Book Title: Friending God: A Woman’s Quest through a Social Network
Author: Marsha L. Larsen
ISBN 10: 0989351807
Publisher: Lone Butte Press; First edition
Genre: faith, spirituality
Publication Date: September 30, 2013
Book Length in Pages: 136 pages
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

It’s not too often these days that we read a truly unique book—an eye-opener. Of course, this is relative; one person’s eye-opener is another person’s cure for insomnia. I personally found Marsha L. Larsen’s Friending God: A Woman’s Quest Through a Social Network to be the former. It not only taught me about the author and her fascinating journey, it also forced me to take a hard look at my own beliefs.

The book is about Larsen’s desire to know God better. As she states in her introduction, she had been searching for Him for years, but her attempts had “paved a path to a closed door.” I loved this line, for who hasn’t felt this way at one point or another? So, in the interest of paving a new path, she decided to conduct a series of interviews with women from her social network.

She chose a mix of people from various walks of life, geographical areas and, most importantly, belief systems: Buddhism, Catholicism, pantheism, and Protestantism (four different denominations). She also interviewed an atheist—which, in my opinion, demonstrates her commitment to getting different points of view. In other words, she did not engineer her interviews to get answers she wanted. Her most important criterion was that she chose women who she “suspected would have ripened ideas on the subject.” She was serious about learning about her subjects, and about God through them. Of course, she also wound up learning a whole lot about herself, and she is extremely candid about what she found.

What I found is that it’s impossible to read Friending God without learning about your own relationship with God… as well as your relationship with other people, yourself, and life. The interviews allowed me a window into each woman’s life, through the lens of her own spirituality. It forced me to re-examine my life as filtered through my beliefs, which is the first step to embracing those that work and those that are holding me back. She even included her questionnaire at the end—no avoidance allowed!

What I liked and appreciated most about this book (aside from Larsen’s smart yet down-to-earth writing style) was her approach. She conducted each interview with the professionalism of a journalist and the innocent curiosity of a seeker. 

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