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Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith (Vintage) [Paperback]

By Nora Gallagher (Author)
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Item description for Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith (Vintage) by Nora Gallagher...

While engaged in a year-long journey to reclaim her faith using the Christian calendar, the author shares her revelations about suffering, death, and life in this moving meditation on the meaning of belief. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.

Publishers Description
"Gracefully written and moving ... Things Seen and Unseen starts with Nora Gallagher entering the labyrinth of her life ... and ultimately it leads to the center of her being."--"The Boston Globe"
It started with an occasional Sunday, a "tourist's" visit to a local church. Eventually Nora Gallagher entered into a yearlong journey to discover her
faith and a relationship with God, using the Christian calendar as her compass.
Whether writing about her brother's battle against cancer, talking to homeless men about the World Series, or questioning the afterlife ("One world
at a time"), Gallagher draws us into a world of journeys and mysteries, yet grounded in a gritty reality. She braids together the symbols of the
Christian calendar, the events of a year in one church, and her own spiritual journey, each strand combed out with harrowing intimacy. Thought provoking and profoundly perceptive, Things Seen and Unseen is a remarkable demonstration that "the road to the sacred is paved with the ordinary."
"Like Kathleen Norris in Amazing Grace, Gallagher is renewing the language of ultimate concerns."--"San Francisco Chronicle"
"The deep serenity that suffuses Gallagher's work, the lyrical cadences in which she writes, do not blunt the sharp edges of what she discovered in her quest for meaning."--"Los Angeles Times"

Citations And Professional Reviews
Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith (Vintage) by Nora Gallagher has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 05/01/2009 page 63

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Vintage
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.46 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 7, 1999
Publisher   Vintage
ISBN  0679775498  
ISBN13  9780679775492  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Nora Gallagher

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Nora Gallagher is the author of Changing Light, Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, and Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace. Her essays, book reviews, and journalism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, DoubleTake, and Mother Jones, among other publications. She is also the editor of the award-winning Notes from the Field, a collection of literary essays about the outdoors. She sits on the advisory board of the Yale Divinity School.

Nora Gallagher currently resides in Santa Barbara, in the state of California. Nora Gallagher was born in 1949.

Nora Gallagher has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Practices

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Episcopalian > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith (Vintage)?

A Bit Disjointed  Apr 6, 2008
While I appreciated the book as an Episcopalian who is very involved with my own parish, and one who is someone new to faith, I did find fault with her book. I felt it neeeded more structure.
She tended to jump from person to person and from situtation to situation too quickly, leaving me with a long, dizzy list of people who mattered to her, but it seemed like I didn't really know too much about any of them. It would have have been better if she focused on a just a few people in the church and expanded more on her experiences with them. Still it is worth a read and an honest peak into what being involved in a church is all about.
TRUE Religion  Mar 2, 2008
A good Episcopalian who has returned to the Church after a decade-long hiatus, Gallagher examines Christianity in action using the liturgical calendar as a framework. Her bold voice is one of common sense and reason, always true to her innate feminism without becoming strident. Good for seekers and rock-solid believers alike.
faith and faithfulness  Jan 25, 2007
"Sometimes I just can't stand church life," confessed Nora Gallagher to her friend Ann on the next-to-the-last page of her memoir. Baptized at the age of 15, she dropped out of church for about a decade, returned in her late twenties, then spent two decades negotiating a lover's quarrel with church life that she describes as both "familiar and a foreign planet. To cope we are often ambivalent." I suspect that a large part of this best-seller's success has been Gallagher's candor and the chord it has struck with readers who resonate with her experience.

Gallagher came to Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara as a "tourist," she says, but narrates how five years later, much to her surprise, she discovered that she had stayed on as a "pilgrim." Trinity was struggling in many ways for many reasons. The sanctuary that held 400 people was three-quarters empty. Dysfunctions abounded. But a new interim pastor, Mark, heralded a new day and the ship began to turn around. Gallagher organizes her eight chapters according to the church liturgical year (much as Kathleen Norris did for her monastic year in Cloister Walk)--Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time, and pulls back the curtain on every day church life at Trinity among ordinary people. She steps forward as a lay minister, serves communion, participates in a base community, and works at the church soup kitchen. She visits the dying, learns to love Republicans, attends meetings, and eats many a tuna casserole.

At its best, she discovered, church can be a place where, as her friend put it, "you can bring your whole self." Like her brother's bladder cancer, her non-believing husband, the drug death of Ephraim (one of their homeless regulars), or their pastor's announcement that he was gay and how Trinity handled that explosive issue. Gallagher shows what it looks like to do your doubting inside the church, rather than taking pot shots from the outside. She describes a very imperfect human institution where honest people articulate genuine questions and differing opinions. In such a church, observed the English historian Esther de Waal, we encounter the "sense of allowing the extraordinary to break in on the ordinary" (p. 18). If that prospect sounds attractive to you, then read Things Seen and Unseen. Then do what I did; read her sequel called Practicing Resurrection (2003).
Journey Towards Faith  Jul 22, 2004
Ms. Gallagher's year long journey with faith was very inspiring. The book covers her year at Trinity Episcopal Church and her growing faith. The chapters follow the Christian calendar and each is filled with insight into the season as well as her personal journey. A very rewarding book.
This is what faith is really about!  Jul 1, 2004
Gallagher has written a beautiful book, giving us a year-long chronicle of her faith, using the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church as her guide. She shows us that faith encompasses the whole human person--doubt, pain, loss, and joy. She reminds us that God's in it all, for better or worse--"God is not too good to hang out with jet-lagged women with cat-litter boxes in their dining rooms, or men dying of AIDS, or, for that matter, someone nailed in humiliation to a cross."

This is real faith--faith that faces life rather than hiding from it. Nora reminds us that prayer is not simply the words we say to God, but what happens when we throw our lives into God's work. For her this involves helping the homeless, working in a soup kitchen, caring for dying friends... Her book has a lot to offer and remind us. So buy a copy and share it with your friends... it's what I've done. ;)

...and as for the reviewer below who states "I'd only recommend this book if you are a feminist or leftist" I ask, Wasn't Jesus both?


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