Dancing with God: Americans Who Have Been Touched by the Divine

Steve Wall, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-18562-6
Wall, a journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in a variety of publications, writes this combination road trip and spiritual allegory (which includes 40 of his b&w photographs) in a journalistic style suitable for a popular audience. The narrative skates along the edges of main thoroughfares that lead from the deep South to New Mexico, then back to Tennessee as Wall sets out to find people who've encountered God. In a series of 11 vignettes, he almost always finds them where he is not looking, and they lead him not so much to God as to a new encounter with himself. In the first vignette, Wall goes ""undercover"" to an Atlanta mission where one of the ""regulars"" takes him under his wing. Surprised by this encounter, he goes on the road, where he meets ordinary people whose encounters with God have often come in near-death experiences. He speaks with a hitchhiker in Texas, a journalist who has moved to New Mexico and ventured into herbal medicine, a New Mexico artist who tells him to ""pay attention."" Paying attention leads Wall back to his alma mater, Tennessee Temple University, a Fundamentalist college to which he had promised himself he would never return. The result is an encounter with himself that is also an encounter with fundamentalism. Wall's book should prove a timely provocation for a significant audience that doesn't much get off the Interstate. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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