Magazine article The Christian Century

God's Longing

Magazine article The Christian Century

God's Longing

Article excerpt

Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer

By Micha Boyett

Worthy, 240 pp., $14.99 paperback

The first time I read Micha Boyett's Found, I didn't know that I would be reviewing it. Which is to say I didn't read the book with an eye for what potential readers might find in its pages, and I didn't jot down critical notes in the margins. I read it for what I found in its pages. My marginalia were for myself, and my impressions were not yet bound to the obligations of a reviewer.

Perhaps, at least sometimes, it is acceptable to slip an uncritical reaction into a proper analysis of a book. This is mine: the morning after I stayed up too late finishing the last chapter, I called a local spiritual director to book my first appointment. For years I have resisted the whole enterprise, and this one imperfect yet powerful memoir nudged me to stop accepting the lukewarm state of my spiritual life. During my first session with Bridget I explained my mystifying impetus: I wanted to yearn for God as deeply as Micha Boyett does. For Micha Boyett longs for God with a disarming earnestness.

Neither Boyett nor her story fit into tidy categories. Found isn't a parenting memoir, though Boyett's experience as a new mother no longer engaged in fulltime ministry is the context for her so-called prayerlessness. Nor is this the tale of an angry former Southern Baptist repudiating her spiritual heritage. Her ambivalence for revival-fueled legalism is clear, but Boyett writes tenderly and appreciatively of her childhood church even as she grafts herself into a more liturgical expression of the Christian faith.

Although Boyett is drawn to monastic spirituality, Found is far from an account of wholesale immersion into Benedict's Rule, for she does not so much embrace Benedictine practices as wrestle with them. At one point in the narrative, she is mildly annoyed by a well-meaning monk whose assessment of the relationship between her spiritual life and her maternal role rings false; at another point, she is moved to tears by the astute wisdom her brother's friend shares at a charismatic prayer meeting. Her refusal to romanticize one tradition or vilify another is refreshing. She celebrates that which contributes wisdom and light to her spiritual reawakening, regardless of the source.

Although the writing is strong and frequently even exquisite (Boyett has a master of fine arts in poetry and isn't afraid to write like it), there's a certain messiness to the narrative, particularly as she strives to ground her spiritual journey in ordinary realities. A beautifully crafted paragraph sussing out the intricate details of her interior life might be rudely interrupted by her son's need for a diaper change. …

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