Friday, November 10, 2006

Today's quote from Lauren Winner, distinguished author and speaker:

"If you want a neighbor to love, get married. If you want to welcome a stranger, have a kid."

This actually came in the middle of a fascinating and very insightful discussion of marriage as a way to love one's neighbor, and how to create community (other than with one's spouse) as a married person. Lauren Winner has been on campus at ACU for the past two days, and I've heard her speak four times in the past thirty-six hours: at chapel on Thursday, in a forum Thursday night, in a class this morning (where the above comment came from), and at a luncheon for female faculty/staff members today. According to my roommate, Bethany, I'm becoming an addict - though I think I already qualified as one, since I've read all three of Lauren's books and have been talking them up to people for the past year.

Lauren has a fascinating story - in terms of faith, sexuality, personhood and social consciousness. She was raised by divorced parents, a Jewish father and a "lapsed" (her word) Baptist mother, and became an Orthodox Jew in college when she was attending Columbia University in New York. She became a Christian when she moved to Cambridge, England, for graduate school, and has since written three books. Girl Meets God is her first book, a memoir of her personal and spiritual journey; Mudhouse Sabbath is a meditation on eleven spiritual practices that Jews "do better" than Christians, as she says, although both Jews and Christians practice the discplines described, such as Sabbath, prayer, candle-lighting, fasting and mourning. Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity is a deeply insightful, thought-provoking work on sexuality and how we (as Christians and as people) should think more intentionally about being embodied and sexual people. In it, she dissects lies the church and our culture tell about sexuality and chastity, and shares some of her own sexual struggles and mistakes (she had a lot of premarital sex before she married her husband, Griff, and is candid about the realities and consequences thereof).

Lauren is striking to me in that she is never only thinking about the issue at hand. She's never just thinking about sex, or just talking about spiritual practices, or just telling her life story. There's always a larger aim, a bigger story, a deeper context behind her words. She is interested in how people are formed spiritually and how we form our children, our spouses, the people in our churches, and generally each other - by the ways we think about sex and money and spirituality and all those things.

Hearing an author speak in person is also a quite different experience from reading his or her books. Now that I've heard Lauren's voice, seen her constant, almost nervous hand gestures (though she's very collected onstage) and her ornately decorated cat's-eye glasses (which somehow work on her), and laughed at her dry, hilarious humor, I will see her books in a different light. I'll still respect them and learn from them, no doubt - but it will be richer because I now know a little more of the person she is.

More about her books may come later. For now, you can read about them on her website here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

5 Comments:

Blogger Jacque said...

SO....JEALOUS....! :) Sounds awesome.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That is such an interesting quote. I am so interested to know more about the overall context. Likewise, I have heard her work is really insightful and have been anxious to read her books. After reading your post, I think there shall be no more delay... thanks for sharing, Katie.

I wish so much I could have been there to hear her, too.

10:28 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I love Lauren Winner!

9:04 AM  
Blogger Beverly said...

I need to read this girl..Whitney said she really liked her. She said the chapel forum was really good.
These last few years at ACU I had lots of different kinds of friends and the strange thing is that they would tell me EVERYTHING going on in their life. I miss all of them. There is so much ministry to be done on that campus because what I found was such a dark dividing line between those who were "spiritual" and those who got drunk, smoked pot, and had sex. Man, those three things are running rampant on that campus but what I saw that concerned me the most was those lost and those who couldn't see them.
Seriously, I had study groups where I would have to ask a guy to take off his Girls Gone Wild cap before we started out review. I loved these kids.
Anyways, Katie, good grief how did I get on this soapbox. I am so glad there are those like you and Jeremiah who are approachable (sp?) and can reach out to these kids.
love you...

9:08 AM  
Blogger DISCOM said...

YOU SO CAPTURED ME ON THIS POST - I SPENT THE NEXT TWO HOURS AFTER READING YOURS READING HER SITE!!!! I CAN NOT WAIT TO START READING HER!!!

2:18 PM  

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