Putting the Amazing Back in Grace

By Ann Weems
WJKP. 1999. 112 pp. $14.95. ISBN 0-664-22150-5

Reviewed by Jane C. Perdue


Pay attention, lay people, ministers and Christian educators! Putting the Amazing Back in Grace is another Ann Weems collection of poems to use in reflection, preaching and teaching!

Her narrative poetry recalls life as a “child of the manse” during the outbreak of World War II. She remembers how she was troubled by the custom of awarding stars for Sunday school attendance and good behavior, wrote poetry her mother thought too pious, and struggled to understand the practice of self-denial during Lent (her father explained it as giving up selfishness).

She was aware of quarrels within the congregation over her father’s patriotic and prophetic preaching as a pacifist. Tracing her growth as a Christian nurtured by her writer-attorney mother and her preacher father, she says they . . . “filled our heads with stories, both secular and sacred.”

In her clear and realistic style, the author weaves accounts of Mary of Magdala, the grateful leper and her family into a poetic autobiography of her childhood spiritual journey.

Weems pleads for the quarrelsome modern church to be amazed by Jesus, who “speaks the poetry of God.” She has written a thoughtful reminiscence of how the poetry of the gospel is lived out in the daily life of a family committed not only to words, but to The Word.