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The child of a Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother Lauren F Winner chose to become an Orthodox Jew But even as she was observing Sabbath rituals and studying Jewish law Lauren was increasingly drawn to Christianity Courageously leaving what she loved she eventually converted In Girl Meets God this appealing woman takes us through a year in her Christian life as she attempts to reconcile both sides of her religious identityHere readers will find a new literary voice a spiritual seeker who is both an unconventional thinker and a devoted Christian The twists and turns of Winner’s journey make her the perfect guide to exploring true faith in today’s complicated world

10 thoughts on “Girl Meets God

  1. says:

    WARNING Do not read this book if you do not want to grow spiritually

  2. says:

    Perplexing A few thoughts on this account of a girl who converts to orthodox Judaism and then later decides to leave it for Christianity1 I guess I don't know much about Christian theology but I find it strange that someone as clearly intelligent as this girl has no problem with the doctrine which to me seems so beyond human reason2 Reading about someone's mikva experience as she enters the jewish community followed by her baptism a few chapters later is nothing short of jarring3 It is ironic that in so many ways a convert has a hard time being fully accepted she touches on this and yet if he or she decides to leave it suddenly becomes so apparent how full fledged Jewish she is4 The constant Jesus stuff is really hard to take5 The parallels between Christianity and Judaism as well as the non parallels are always of interest to me and it can make sense paradoxically enough that the same things can be attractive about both yet at the same time this is true of the ways in which they are different I found it particularly interesting that she was encouraged to give up her passion reading for Lent as this was considered a much beautfiul sacrifice for Gd since it's something she truly loves At first I found that repugnant love for Gd is not manifest in sacrficing gifts He gives us But then I was thinking how lehavdil we give up music for sefirah or take on extra things to show a sense of mourning or loss during Av or whatever and it really is the same thing all the so if reading becomes idolotrous which even I especially I? can see6 As an aside while I'm taken by the premise and her turn of phrase she can be really irritating at times and falls under the second category of memoir writers darn narcisist than the popular first has a good story to tellAnyway just had to get all that down

  3. says:

    I enjoyed this book I found it engaging I liked the voice I felt like I would enjoy talking to Lauren Winter if I met her I liked reading it and will probably go back and read portions againI had a little trouble with the structure of the book For the first third of the book or so I was under the impression we were following a distinct through line There seemed to be a narrative going on with lots of reflection yes but with a firm plot that everything tied in to The book is structured to align with the liturgical year which itself is a narrative so it made sense that Winter was setting up her memoir to follow However after a while the through line seemed to fall apart and the rest of the book became a collection of reflections on Judaism and Christianity just kind of loosely connected to the liturgical seasons without much connection to each other I realize memoir doesn't always have the same kind of narrative that fiction does but I still believe it requires some structureIn addition I found myself wishing that the story were being told by an older experienced Lauren Winter Certainly her religious experiences are real but they are still those of someone very young I think a rewrite of this memoir in another five or ten or fifteen years would be really compellingFinally I wished attention had been given to why Winter chose the particular denomination of Christianity she did The minimal explanation of her reasoning didn't seem to align with her thought process in choosing Orthodox Judaism over Reform or Conservative

  4. says:

    I found this book deeply inspiring and somewhat related to my own struggles with faith It was a gift to me in a non pushy way from a friend of mine from church a peer who took a course with me called alpha where you have the opportunities to ask all sorts of questions about God and faith and challenges with it with structure and guidance Being in a personal sort of environment combined with my ultra open self she was very aware of both my Jewish and Catholic heritage and thought of me when she read this book The protagonist is much certain of her belief in God then I am and devout She grows up both Southern and Jewish which she describes in utter conflict with each other However that is how she sees herself and she becomes very involved in her community She makes the decision to convert after years of study and commitment and lives the life of an Orthodox Jew Her decision to then convert to Christianity during graduate school therefore had reprocussions throughout her life how her family her peers and her collegues saw her as well as how she saw herself I liked that the authors name is Lauren Winner and I think how she reviews her situations and her struggles helps contribute to her success She not only loved theology and reading and history but has an admirable ability to weave them together I like that she gave the book a timeline not just of how events transpired but within the Christian and Jewish calendar year marked by various fesitivies Thankfully much then the chick lit I thought it might be

  5. says:

    Ms Winner has a unique and intimate voice and I enjoyed listening to her tell her story Still I agree with the other reviewers that she fails to offer any signs of awareness of her journey in a larger context I have a ton of questions that this book brought up and it disappointed that she didn't seem able to offer any perspective making this less of a memoir and of a journalMy questions that I was left with What does it mean to leave Judaim? Not just in a personal sense but in the South in America in the post Holocaust worldHow can she be sure that her new committment to Christianity isn't just another passionate phase? What does it mean that her phases of faith coincide with phases of infactuation with boys of that faith? And has she noticed that she seems to be searching for a real family at every stage of her spiritual and emotional journey? Has she found that home in Christianity? Her later books suggest she hasn't and you sense that pervasive sense of displacement throughout this book Her writing style kept me reading but the lack of reflection left me wondering how this book got published

  6. says:

    This is the story of how Lauren met her Savior Jesus Coming from a broken home with a Baptist mother and Jewish father Lauren's spiritual growth begins in the Jewish faith She brings everything that she is to this quest She immerses herself in study in worship traditions in community into Orthodox community She was an outsider and would remain an outsider no matter how hard she studied to be approved of by the community The local Levite son would never become a marriage opportunity for herLauren began to study Christianity its history and practices while at the height of her Orthodox Jewish experience Little by little Jesus won her heart her words From this point on we are given the opportunity to see what this actually costs Lauren as she divorces herself from her identity as JewessWe see her struggles to tell close friends and we see how the Lord placed kind and loving mentors in her life all along the way to help explain encourage champion and bring her along to the next place in her spiritual journey Next to the fainting plant Lauren describes a dream of rescue and redemption to a devout Christian woman who acknowledges that an Orthodox Jew doesn't ordinarily have much room for Jesus Lauren is convinced that this dream is from God and holds the truth that Jesus is God The very fact that Lauren has gone to seek out a known Christian one known for her devout attention to the faith says a lot about Lauren's determination to find answers much as a researcher looks for clues to a mystery I love the detail that Lauren included in this vignette of dream telling A fainting plant is one that is reactive Lauren is certainly processing all the input she can find about this Jesus willing to see a reactionMy favorite story in this book is an overheard conversation where 2 friends were discussing what category Lauren might fit into as she transitioned Y was saying You're pretty good friends with that Lauren girl Is she some sort of fundamentalist Bible thumper?I listen to Z maneuver her way through Why do you ask?' asks ZWell there's her paper topic Fair enough I am writing a paper about the history of the Eucarist in nineteenth century America And then you know she always seems to be quoting the Book of Romans I think Bible thumper is something of a derisive term says Z and She is quite religious though I think she calls herself an evangelical I don't think I've ever heard her call herself a Bible thumper or a fundamentalist Then Z changes the subject backand she and Y walk away leaving me to munch my scone and look around for a Bible to thumpI find that I gain a lot of information from this particular book I am aware of the cost to an individual to leave a faith that identifies a family for a closer relationship and walk with the living GodI find that there is tremendous beauty and purpose in the various worship practices and festivals that God ordained for the Jewish people These are linked to sacraments that are found in the Christian faith I am challenged to be much intentional about how and when I dedicate myself to time with my Lord There is tremendous value found in the community of faith I believe that is the message Lauren found in the Mitford series books by Jan Karon Lauren said that when she read these stories she yearned for what the Christian community had in Jesus This was Lauren Winner's first book It was definitely a good read

  7. says:

    I admire the courage it may have taken to write this book I couldn't write so briefly about my own spiritual journeys certainly but I found this book to be mainly trite self serving and underwhelming Ms Winner claims at every turn to be over analytical and yet she barely scratches the surface of the meaning of her religious promiscuity She writes at length about the appeal of becoming a real orthodox Jew and it sounds like she just really wants to be part of the club her absentee father is from her protestant mother with whom she grew up might not have seemed so cool Why didn't she address these deeper sociological questions? Not to mention the ontological and deeper philosophical questions A few of these are skimmed over but every time I hoped we would start hearing a vulnerable soul writing about the existential struggle I was carried back to a dinner table and a flirtatious girl who probably talks a good talk but didn't bring it to the book This could have been a fantastic companion tosayMere Christianity if Ms Winner had gone a little further but no such luck For a writer who must be fairly intelligent and has been through extremely rigorous religious scholarship I expected a much interesting read Needless to say I still haven't found what I'm looking for and somehow I doubt she has either

  8. says:

    This memoir is provocative endearing brilliant and wonderful Please don't judge the book by its lacy shoe light bluepurple design cover I admit I was embarrassed to read it in public but it was so good that I'd sneak it into restaurants with the front cover hidden firmly against my side or armThe book allows Dr Winner to give reflections on roughly one year of her life according to sections labeled with various sections of the Christian liturgical calendar but within that year are extensive flashbacks stretching almost from birth through a decision to become an Orthodox Jew through a later decision to be baptized as a Christian in an Episcopalian church Dr Winner beautifully expresses the strengths and limitations she perceives in the people around her while presenting her own flaws and strengths with painful honesty Along the way she also explores her spiritual views with clarity describing Judaism with a nostalgic fondness and explaining the richness of her participation in structured liturgy I don't share all of Dr Winner's spiritual views for example she employs a hermeneutic that involves interpreting Scripture in light of what traditional interpretations have been since it was written and I prefer to derive meaning from the text alone whenever possible and she finds much value in midrash and the Talmud than I do but I respect her beliefs and her presentation of them This is an author who loves learning loves her communities and loves God and I have gained a great deal for the time I spent reading her book

  9. says:

    This is a memoir of one woman's conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity The book was totally not what I was expecting and I loved it I recently read a book by a Women of Faith speaker and this was just so much meaty meaningful and impactful to me Lauren Winner is an intellectual a woman who has not just professed her faith but one who has struggled over it studied it in depth and tenaciously hung on I can't help but admire her leaving one faith for another in spite of the way her family and friends felt about it Reading her story made me realize how paltry my own faith is in comparisonThe church that Winner attends is All Angels Episcopal Church in Manhattan also home to one of my most beloved authors Madeleine L'Engle I've read L'Engle's books and marveled at her faith at how someone in a liturgical setting could find so much meaning in the rituals have so much reverence for the written prayers However reading her analogies and examples brought so much meaning to the practices I take for granted at my own nondenomenational church In Winner's story I hear the echoes of L'Engle's own sentiments I think I appreciated this book so much because it's from an intellectual standpoint rather than an emotional one She did tons of research countless hours of reading and years of soul searching to come to the place where she is I can't help by respect her and hope that one day my own faith can be as strong

  10. says:

    On the whole I think this book's big problem is that it's a memoir about a spiritual journey which means it has two very different things to talk about and both of them get short changed because she's not a good enough writer to pull it off The anecdotes about her life and the trajectory of her life feel scattered She doesn't give me great faith that she could even pull off a straight memoir Additionally for someone who is so intellectually oriented her discussions of religion feel very superficial