Nancy Mairs is the author of eight books; she writes creatively and cogently about her own life and the troublesome dimensions of our crazy culture. Raised a Congregationalist, she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1977. In this collection of spiritual essays, Mairs explores various dimensions of her faith.
Instead of viewing the Bible as a holy book filled with answers, she sees it as "a tool, a rigorous and recurrent challenge to unfold truths about the lively Holiness that acts in and upon my life." She considers herself an unconventional Catholic given her views on the church's shabby treatment of women, its abuse of clerical power, and its random use of scare tactics to keep things in order. Still, Mairs is nourished by the Catholic Church's "symbols and ceremonies for recognizing, contemplating, celebrating the Holy." She has recently started the process of becoming an oblate at the Tucson monastery of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
These essays are grouped under three sections: Why I Am the Catholic I Am: A Journey; Faith Matters: Meditations on God, Sin, and Abundance; and Called to Action: God in the World. Mairs and her husband George attend an alternative worship group called the Community of Christ of the Desert and are involved in social activism, such as sheltering and counseling refugees, scrubbing pots at Our Lady of Guadalupe Free Kitchen, crossing the line at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, and carrying water to remote stations along the border. The author sees all of these ethical actions as addressing the challenge facing all believers "making real the Kingdom of God." Putting Jesus' teachings to work leads Mairs to some other places where she decides God is living, including a local nursing home and the Arizona State prison complex.
Early in the book, the author states that her intent is to throw wide the door for the Holy One to enter. She has done that and much more.