UNLIKELY WAYS HOME: Real-Life Spiritual Detours

Edward L. Beck, Author . Doubleday $21.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-50858-2

Having charmed enough readers to make his 2001 memoir, God Underneath , a bestseller, Beck takes his storytelling skills in a new direction with this collection of a dozen tales from other people's lives. The Catholic priest and member of the Passionists wrote this latest book to "give voice" to people who followed unlikely paths to God. With the sensitivity and tenderness that marked God Underneath , Beck introduces readers to a firefighter who was killed in the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001; a lay church worker who was sexually abused by a priest as a boy; and a gay couple who find shelter in the Catholic Church, despite its institutional disapproval of their relationship. Beck's diverse subjects are united by the way each encounters the divine, often in the midst of circumstances that would cause some to reject God or at least the idea of church. Although some readers might be inclined to dismiss their experiences as too loosely connected to Catholic teachings, Beck's style is so inviting as to disengage such judgment. Possibly to assuage any objections, however, he includes a disclaimer saying the views expressed by the people in his stories do not necessarily reflect his own. Even with its strong Catholic flavor, this book should have multidenominational appeal thanks to Beck's winsome style. (July 20)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-385-50859-9
Open Ebook - 171 pages - 978-0-307-42420-4
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