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"Confessions of an Amateur Believer"

by Dr. D ~

By Patty Kirk (Nashville,Tenn.: Nelson Books, 2006, 275 pages)

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A very interesting book on the real-life faith journey of Patty Kirk: a college teacher, farmer, mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and regular Christian.  She writes about her path from a simple faith in God as a child, to her tragedy induced unbelief and eventual atheism.  Then she traces her way back to God through the example of a Christian sister and the patience of a loving Christian husband.


She started life as one of six children in a Catholic family who attended church every Sunday.  Soon tragedy in the form of illness (her mother suffered from a brain tumor and survived an operation) brought suffering, strife, and division to her family.  This started her on a path of wondering where God was or even if there was such a thing.  Later a personal assault left her devastated and on a downward spiral towards unbelief and avowed atheism.

Her flight from God and her family took her on a lonesome journey around the world.  Finally, a miracle marriage to a Christian husband and the coming of children ended up bringing Patty into a new life that increasingly included God, greater engagement with real life, a mother-in-law, neighbors, a farm, and a new teaching career.

The book contains vignettes, or short word pictures, experiences, and observations which are organized according to different periods in Ms. Kirk’s life.  Her candor is refreshing and should be helpful to many.  This is not a rosy pie-in-the-sky testimony.  It is a presentation of real life, warts and all.  There are a couple of fallen preachers that could take lessons from Patty the next time they write on victorious Christian living.  The book is easy to read but not necessarily always easy to take.  She provides relevant scriptures at the end of each chapter along with other references, which I found extremely helpful.

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