cover image WHITE CHINA: Finding the Divine in the Everyday

WHITE CHINA: Finding the Divine in the Everyday

Molly Wolf, Phyllis Tickle, D. Ed. Wolf, . . Jossey-Bass, $16.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-7879-6580-8

Although she confesses that in her middle age she finds that "virtually everything that is spiritually right is messy," Wolf, a Web columnist living in Ontario, Canada, writes about spiritual things with disarming simplicity. Her pithy essays begin with ordinary objects or events, and gently grow to include a spiritual musing or discovery. A disgruntlement over winter evolves into a discussion on God and the natural order of things. Mulling over her cat, Maggie, causes her to think about grace, while a trip to the supermarket spawns a few pages on children and poverty. Like a quality box of chocolates, you can dip in anywhere and come away with something worthwhile to enjoy or chew over. While Wolf, a Christian, is careful to say she does not find all belief systems equally good, she suggests Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other faiths are best evaluated using this rule: "By their fruits you shall know them." Her thoughtful essays are rich in description (a ladybug has a "burnished, richly red-brown spotted carapace"), and often humorous. Although Wolf doesn't shy away from sharing her positions on everything from the war in Iraq to homosexuality, her tone avoids becoming strident. "All I can do is to show you how I struggle with belief... maybe that will keep you company in your own struggles." Wolf is a compassionate companion for any spiritual journey. (Apr.)