Item description for Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir by Joan D. Chittister...
Overview This unique and intensely personal memoir is about spirituality, not about religion, and is alive with the raw energy of a journal and polished with the skill of the master storyteller.
Publishers Description Called to Question is Sr. Joan Chittister's most personal and intense writing to date. Centered around a series of conversations with spiritual writers featured in her private journal, Sr. Joan looks at the common questions or dimensions of life as we know them in our daily lives-not answers as we've been given them-in an attempt to unravel their many meanings, to give them flesh, to honor their spiritual import now and here, in our time and in our own lives. By sharing the questions, doubts, and convictions in her own heart, Chittister explores the heart of faith itself and nurtures a spirituality that pushes readers beyond superficial questioning and unexamined faith. The paperback edition includes a new Prologue about the power of questions in today's society. Following a moving prologue on the nature of faith, Called to Question is broken into six parts that explore key themes- the inward life, immersion in life, resistance, feminist spirituality, ecology, dailiness. Within each theme is a wide array of topics that embody Sr. Joan's life's work as a sociologist, theologian, Benedictine nun, rights activist, and spiritual guide to countless people throughout the world. Alive with the raw energy of a journal and polished with the skill of a master storyteller, each chapter is an engaging dialogue between Sr. Joan and many different wisdom sources about such topics as God's existence and call, experience, struggle, justice, the role of women and men in society and church, living through doubt, and celebrating life. Called to Question is a rare and powerful invitation to look into the center of our own souls, name our questions about God and life, admit the worst, and pursue the best even when we are unsure where that pursuit will take us."
Citations And Professional Reviews Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir by Joan D. Chittister has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Booklist - 05/15/2004 page 1581
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Studio: Sheed & Ward
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.86 lbs.
Release Date Apr 27, 2004
Publisher Sheed and Ward
ISBN 1580511430 ISBN13 9781580511438
Availability 0 units.
More About Joan D. Chittister
Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister, best-selling author, and a well-known national and international lecturer. In 2007 she was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award from The Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Joan D. Chittister currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania.
Reviews - What do customers think about Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir?
benedictine nun's autobiographical reflections Jan 17, 2007
In this her most recent book, Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun and author of twenty-five books, continues to think out loud about just what it means to know, love, and follow Jesus in our crazy, contemporary world. This is the third book by her that I have read, and I have come to appreciate her spirit and gift to do what good writers do, which is to connect with the every day experiences and aspirations of her readers. Using her own spiritual journal entries from across a four year period, she pushes, pokes and prods at the various dimensions of Christian living. In particular, I appreciated three themes from this book that also recur in her other works.
Chittister writes from very much "inside the box," the box that is the Roman Catholic Church. But no one likes to be boxed in, much less a feminist like her, and so one theme from this book is what I would call institutional frustration with the church. Our Christian institutions and churches often purvey a sort of "god of the system" that asks us at some level to sublimate our deeply personal identities to the group identity. But then we risk forfeiting conscience and becoming what she describes as "institutional robots." So, we try, often with very limited success, to change the institution for the better. Others just want to leave the church out of frustration. In the end, Chittister pictures herself as a "loyal member of a dysfunctional family" (p. 135).
A keen scholar like Chittister is also full of provocative questions about important issues like women's ordination, the place of gays in the church, global justice, and, as a member of a Benedictine community, obedience to the institutional church. But critical questions are just what the church often suppresses, obscures, or responds to with superficial and ideological answers. We can acquiesce to this, too, out of fear of being wrong or even punished. But Chittister does not want to live the Christian life asking other people's questions or accepting their answers, so she keeps asking, seeking, and knocking: how does the Christian relate questions of personal conscience and intellectual integrity to churchly fidelity?
Personal failure and struggle are also prominent themes for Chittister. The problem, it would seem, is to foolishly accept perfection as our standard or goal. But that goal is an oppressive one, and a set up for failure, for no Christian this side of heaven will ever reach it: "The problem, of course, is that we fail. We know ourselves to be weak. We stumble along, being less than we can be, never living up to our own standards, let alone anyone else's. We eat too much between meals, we work too little to get ahead, we drink more than we should at the office party. We're all addicted to something. Those addictions not only cripple us, they convince us that we are worthless and incapable of being worthwhile. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of the worst order because it traps us inside our own sense of inadequacy, of futility, of failure" (p. 195). Instead, we ought to view failure as "among the best friends of the soul" (p. 91). Rather than subscribe to the unattainable, we should come to appropriate the "sanctifying nature of mistakes and calculations" (p. ix).
Chittister begins her book with a well known story of the seeker who asked the monk just what they did in the monastery: "Oh, we fall and we get up, and we fall and we get up, and we fall and we get up again." Beyond the institutional frustrations, the stymied but important questions, and the realization of but limited progress, she encourages us to hear God's voice to keep going, to "find the me in me" (p. 111), and to cultivate a sense of being at home with yourself because of the extravagant love and grace of God.
A Book for All Jul 3, 2006
This book by Sr Joan Chittister is inspirational and confirming. All believers who wonder, once in a while, if it is all true - no matter what comprises the "all", will find solace and consolation in this book. Sr Chittister answers your doubts and fears by putting hers on the line. Written beautifully, as are all her books, this one has you saying 'Yes, that's me!' over and over. I would recommend it to all who are interested in their own personal spiritual growth.
Jeanne MacCoy, San Leandro, California
As Always, The Best Mar 19, 2006
Joan Chittister always has the best sense of melding together the human with the divine, the natural with the supernatural, reality with theology. She's done it again.
Disrespectand Disregard Jan 20, 2006
I only wish I had the option of a "0" star rating. This book disrespects and disregards the teachings of the Church. This was particularly frustrating to me since I converted to Catholicism only a year ago. I have dedicated myself to Christ and His Church and try my best to align myself with it completely. The Church and all of its teachings (particularly regarding faith and morals) are true - as Catholics we agreed to submit to those teachings when we made our Profession of Faith at Confirmation. The stand the Church takes on the issues discussed in this book and the stand the author takes are polar opposites. I have never been so saddened by a book - and sad for the author who seems to have fallen away from the Catholic Church. What she says is completely heretical - a term that I don't use lightly. Complete lack of regard to the teachings of the Church is denying the truth of the Church. She should not be writing as a Catholic unless she actually is Catholic. As far as I am concerned, she has already left the Catholic Church. This is evident in her answer to the question: "Why do you stay in the Church?" Her answer: "Why do I continue to align myself with an institution so closed, so heretical, so sinful? Because Jesus stayed in the synagogue until they threw him out. That's why." She is in no way aligned with the Church. This book (if it is not already) should be banned by the Church. I pray for Joan, that she may convert back to Catholicism.
FOR HERESY Jul 15, 2005
Five stars for heresy!!!!! Well Sr. Joan, if you think its important for women to be priests, you better find another Church. It ain't never going to happen in this Church. The book is a brilliant treatise on what is wrong with most nuns who do not wear habits. If you want to know how feminist nuns convince themselves they are still Christian READ THIS BOOK!