Monday, August 15, 2011

Surprised by Oxford

I'm sure it is no surprise to any of my blog readers that I am a book fanatic. I've joked in the past about trying to figure out a way to get paid just to sit and read. Well, I still haven't figured that out, but I did learn about a website that does provide free books to bloggers in return for a review on their blog. Sign me up! The first book I picked was Surprised by Oxford a memoir by Carolyn Weber.

I work in student development at a Christian college so a memoir about discovering one's faith during their college years, well that's just right up my alley. Carolyn Weber is a self professed agnostic who from London, Ontario who receives a full scholarship to Oxford University where she plans to study romantic literature. She has spent her life relying on intellect and reason to survive, but it is faith she finds at Oxford. Her book reminded me a lot of another memoir "Girl meets God" which I also loved. Carolyn in just her first few days at Oxford was challenged by fellow students to really think more about her faith, God and what it means to be a Christian.

The fact that Ms. Weber has spent her life relying on her intellect she begins to look at her faith from an intellectual perspective and asking a lot of hard questions. One of my favorite quotes from this book is an interaction she has with one of her friends regarding her spiritual journey " I don't know if I can do this.. It's no use, I think I may need to leave it alone." Her friends response "Friend, you are no longer the person you were when you arrived in Oxford.. Oxford has changed you, or rather, what God is working through you at Oxford has changed you. You have been brought across, over, beyond. You are now in a different place. Of course you will continue to love, to question, to study, to learn, to do everything as before and more, just from a different place, this change, changes everything.

Isn't that the truth? Once we know and understand God's love, mercy and grace we are changed and we can no longer look at things in the same way. Ms Weber's mix of literature, her academic experience along with her spiritual journey make this a book I will share with others and keep for some time.

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