Review of Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life.  By Lauren F. Winner.  Chapel Hill, NC.: Algonquin, 2002.  320 pp.

As we’ve started this series on the Nicene Creed, some of you may be thinking about your own church background (or lack thereof).  In particular, if you come from a less liturgical tradition, you may wonder how less familiar things like the Nicene Creed fit in with your own spiritual life.  And if I’m lucky some of my blog posts have inspired at least a few of you to ponder the Jewish origins of the Christian faith and feel frustrated by the church’s lack of familiarity with its own background!  Well, if any of the above applies to you, how about an author that helps you explore both of these at once?

Lauren Winner is one of my favorite people ever.  She is hard not to like: young, funny, intelligent, and the author of some fabulous books.  One of those books, Girl Meets God, tells her unique story as a Reform Jew who converted to Orthodox Judaism, only to later convert to Christianity.  As an evangelical Episcopalian from a Jewish background, as well a scholar of American religion (who now teaches at Duke Divinity School), Winner possesses unique insights into both religions.

I would say Winner played a formative role in my life in college, as well as the lives of several friends).  Especially for us coming out of conservative evangelical Protestant backgrounds, Winner was a fantastic introduction to many aspects of Judaism, as well as to a more liturgical Christian tradition.

While admittedly, the book is a memoir rather than a systematic explanation of either Jewish-Christian relations or the Anglican tradition, it is still a useful starting point for the curious.  Additionally, it is a fascinating and uplifting book, plain and simple.  Anyone with an interest in young adult journeys in religion should appreciate Winner’s story, and many may even find in her a kindred spirit or a hero of sorts.  I know for me, Winner has become one of my “smart Christian” role models and an example of how one can successfully integrate various spiritual influences into a more robust Christian faith.