ORDINARY TIME by Nancy Mairs


Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal
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 This is no ordinary book. A ``spiritual companion'' to Remembering the Bone House (1989), it continues Mairs's intensely personal interior journey as it explores issues of faith and social conscience with edgy honesty and poise. Most often, Mairs begins, religious belief is something you keep to yourself, but, in any case, life forces the construction of a moral sense, however haphazard its defining moments. The author's own convictions evolved gradually, along with a creeping feminism, until both she and husband George left behind the comfortable shelter of Protestant childhood labels and celebrated a Mass marking their conversion to Catholicism. Now they belong to the Community of Christ of the Desert and pursue the social-justice commitment articulated by Leonardo Boff, making political choices independent of official Church policy. Theirs is a spiritual quest, a profound collaboration, a willed engagement with people in need: ``God was here, and the law was unembellished: take care of each other.'' Mairs's theology is by no means traditional, with unusual references to God (``she,'' always) and a stance that's ``both pro- choice and anti-abortion,'' but her expression of religious belief is a powerful statement presented, as in previous books, in the context of family history and ongoing calamity--George's third bout with melanoma, her own increased physical deterioration from MS. Surpassing earlier efforts, she writes with extraordinary grace of ``memory's malarial tenacity,'' of ``the passionate tenderness children evoke'' in their caregivers, or of the approach of death as ``a kind of conversion experience.'' Consoling and poignant: a Catholic feminist moral inquiry that resists New Age simplifications and shares its message of deep faith with courage and dignity.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8070-7056-4
Page count: 245pp
Publisher: Beacon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993


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