Duke Divinity Professor Explores Mid-Faith Crisis in New Book
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
An author, professor and lecturer who has shared her continuing spiritual journey through her writings, Dr. Lauren Winner comes to the Sandhills the weekend of Feb. 25-26, as the guest of The Country Bookshop and Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Winner will discuss her new book, "Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis," and sign copies of the book at The Country Bookshop on Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
Kimberly Daniels, who manages the Broad Street book store in Southern Pines, has commented, "'Still' grabbed me from the beginning, because I found it unique that an esteemed theologian would be writing about a mid-faith -crisis. Her honesty is refreshing."
On Sunday morning, as part of the Bill Jones Series, which -welcomes prominent speakers and theologians to the -pulpit of Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Winner will preach at the worship services at 8:45 and 11:10 a.m. In addition, at 10 a.m. in the fellowship hall, she will -present "From Nighttime Into Day: What Christians Have to Learn from Judaism about Spirituality."
Raised in the Jewish tradition, she immersed herself in all of its teachings, traditions and rituals. She converted to Christianity while studying for her master's degree in philosophy at Cambridge University, and has described her challenging journey to Christianity in an earlier book, "Girl Meets God."
In the last 10 years, Winner's writing and -theology have continued to evolve. Completing a doctoral degree at Columbia University and a Master of Divinity degree at Duke University, currently she is assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School.
Her writings include three other books published during the period and in such publications as The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and Books and Culture. In addition, she lectures widely on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish-Christian relations.
Pastor Grady Perryman of Brownson says, "We are delighted to share Dr. Winner with our community. She opens her heart and reaches other hearts with her own style of spiritual writings."
Observing that "Still" is a book which has great appeal for the lay person, Perryman notes that Dr. Winner's style is fluid and effortless.
"She is not developing any scholarly beliefs here, but rather is simply telling the story of her own path through life, as she examines her thoughts and newfound answers to life's questions," he says.
In preparation for Winner's visit to Brownson, regular adult church school classes held on Sunday mornings have featured three sessions led by Angela and Bob Zumwalt, in which Winner's book has formed the basis for discussions of the class participants' own very personal spiritual journeys.
According to Angela and Bob Zumwalt, "Dr. Winner explores the concept of -coming up against a spiritual wall, where, as she writes, 'The things you thought you knew about the spiritual life turn out not to suffice for the life you are actually living.'
"One of her most important messages we will emphasize is that you are not alone in attempting to climb over that wall."
During a recent interview, Winner answered a question about what she hopes her readers will glean from her book with this response.
"I hope people find companionship," she says. "I hope the narrator of the book, the 'me' character, is passing on things she's received in her life. I hope that people find wisdom and insight that seems applicable to where they are.
"We all have moments when the ground shifts, and those moments are worth paying attention to, both in an individual life and in the spiritual community."
The Saturday evening event at The Country Bookshop, at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25, is open to the public, and an invitation is extended to the community to attend either of the Sunday morning worship services or Winner's presentation in fellowship hall at 10 a.m. on Feb. 26, at Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 330 May St. in Southern Pines.
For more information, contact the church office at (910) 692-6252 or The Country Bookshop at (910) 692-3211.
Contact Pinehurst writer Mary Elle Hunter at me email@example.com.
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