"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bless Me Father for I Have Lost My Faith....in My Parish?

Though I was privileged to read it in draft form, I was still excited last night to find in my mailbox a copy of Bill Mills' new book, Losing My Religion: A Memoir of Faith and Finding (Resource Publications-Wipf and Stock, 2019), 170pp.

It comes, rightly and justly, bearing a slew of impressive blurbs:

"William Mills has given us a true story told truthfully, a story of a faith lost and found, a story of the church at its best and worst, a story of a priest who persisted in his vocation in spite of everything. Service to the Body of Christ, the church, is not for the faint of heart and yet, in the end, there are blessings" (Will Willimon, United Methodist Bishop, retired, and Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School).

 "William Mills has gone honest and intimate with us in telling his story of the travail of ministry. His drama of mean-spirited betrayal in the congregation and the late unexpected reassurance of support replicates our best story of crucifixion and resurrection" (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary).

 "William Mills' memoir is a beautifully crafted, honest, wise, and insightful book. It stands in the very best tradition of spirituality--a writer and text that can speak to the real condition of the soul, and the day-to-day struggle that many have with belief. . . Honest and wise books on religious resilience are often hard to find. But this is one of those rare gems, and I commend it for anyone who knows how long our spiritual journey can be" (Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford).

"The Church speaks a lot about truth but isn't so good at honesty. Here is a priest who has learned the cost of this and who, with courage and imagination, encourages us to join him and to say it as it is. We clergy often know the words of religion but miss the music. William Mills calls us back to the vocation of trying to tune our lives to the harmonies of the eternal but only by recognizing emotional and factual truth and in pursuit of justice. Enjoy it and feel yourself defrost" (Mark Oakley, Dean, St. John's College, Cambridge).

 "Losing My Religion is the brave, tender, furious account of how William Mills is lifted, brought low, broken, healed, and made whole. As books about religious life go, it is among the wisest and most honest I've ever read. This book should keep company on your shelf with the better works of J.F. Powers, Larry Woiwode, and Thomas Merton" (Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk: Stories).

"The memoir is entitled Losing My Religion, but it is a testament to all that can be gained by remaining true to one's moral compass, staying honest and authentic, seeking to learn lessons in each of life's challenges. This is a passionate, compelling book, full of meaning"  (Judy Goldman, author, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap).

So you don't just have to take my word that this is a delightful book, and I'm glad to have the handsome finished edition in my hands to read it again and savor its humility, humor, and candor about the difficult life of parish ministry today. I will write more about it in the coming days, and arrange to interview him (as I have done in the past on here), but for now just wanted to note that if you count clergy among your family and friends, if you are yourself a pastor, or if you know someone contemplating seminary and parish ministry, then you must get this book into their hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...