Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber

I don't really have anything deep and powerful to share with this read except to say, "READ IT!" You won't regret it. Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir is no doubt going to be one of my favorite reads in 2014.

This is the story of Carolyn Weber's conversion to Christianity while attending Oxford University in England. She came to Oxford as an agnostic feminist and the book details her journey to the Christian faith. This story will no doubt ring bells as being similar to that of C.S. Lewis except that particular "version" is told from the perspective of a female academic in more modern times.

As Mrs. Weber has stated elsewhere, she came from a family that she felt was "loving enough to get by, but broken enough not to deserve God's attention." Her mother was an alcoholic and her father dealt with anger issues which resulted in long absences on his part. Mrs. Weber kept herself busy with school and full-time jobs to keep the pain at bay. She had an inner fear and distrust of men in general, specifically fathers. The idea of a sovereign father was unappealing to her core nature.

A professor of hers in college submitted her name to Oxford for a scholarship without her knowledge. She was thrilled to discover that she had been awarded said scholarship. The amount she received was generous enough for her to be able to live on, to attend classes, and to have enough left over to send money back home to her mother. She went to Oxford with time on her hands - something that she was not used to, with her full-time employment on top of her college courses. This gift of time allowed her the opportunity to begin thinking through questions that had been percolating in her mind - questions about God and questions about faith.

While at Oxford she met an incredibly handsome man who she discovers to be a Christian. Many long hours are spent asking him questions about his faith and fighting with him over his firmly held beliefs. Essentially she was wrestling against the idea of becoming a Christian; she did not want to be one. But God.

The story is predictable in one sense but on the other hand, everyone's story is unique enough to allow for many unseen twists and turns. Events happen in our lives with regularity that we do not recognize as playing a significant role until much later. Conversations are had with friends and acquaintances which help us to discern what is truth. We find God in fellowship and we see Him in nature. Every story is perfectly, wonderfully unique and when we take the time to tell our stories to others and to listen to theirs we will find ourselves encouraged by God and left in awe of Him at the same time. Such is true for this book. I was blessed and encouraged by the reading of it.

All of our lives are stories for His glory. ~ Carolyn Weber

I read this book along with my church book club. We haven't met for our discussion yet so I'm holding back a bit on my thoughts. However, I read the book a bit early and before I just forget to make a note that I read it at all - I wanted to post something. I'm very glad to have read this book.

Here's a fun interview to watch with Carolyn Weber if you still need some convincing.


Lisa Spence said...

I love this book!

bekahcubed said...

I have heard such good things about this book, but haven't read it yet. Your synopsis, however, may be enough to fix it in my brain such that I might actually pick it up one of these days (Crossing fingers).

"But God" have got to be among the two most amazing words in any language.

Monica said...

I loved this book and was very curious what you would think of it! I am so glad you liked it!

Cassandra said...

I also loved this book! It's one I want to buy so that I can write in it. ;)

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I can't wait to read this one!

Susan said...

My library has 2 copies, so I'm going to reserve one. Sounds intriguing!

BerlinerinPoet said...

I can't wait to read this!

Barbara H. said...

I've heard great things about this and hope to read it some day.

Annette Whipple said...

Sounds similar (yet very different) than a book you reviewed last month (or so) about The Unlikely Convert. (Title name?) Which would you recommend more?

Annette Whipple said...

Sounds similar (yet very different) than a book you reviewed last month (or so) about The Unlikely Convert. (Title name?) Which would you recommend more?

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