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Crossing Myself: A Story of Spiritual Rebirth

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Greg Garrett journeyed through intense depression and even a suicide attempt into the grace that brought him a life of service to others. This spiritual autobiography can be appreciated by men, women, or teens in its literary style and personal insights of redemptive faith.


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Greg Garrett journeyed through intense depression and even a suicide attempt into the grace that brought him a life of service to others. This spiritual autobiography can be appreciated by men, women, or teens in its literary style and personal insights of redemptive faith.

30 review for Crossing Myself: A Story of Spiritual Rebirth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    This book came strongly recommended to me by my fiance and after finishing it last night, we briefly discussed it. It's not a bad book, but I also can't say I was too impressed. The book centers around a crisis in the author's life -- he tried to commit suicide five years prior to writing this book. He focuses a lot on that and everything that comes out of it. My problem is simple. His suicide "attempt" wasn't really an attempt. He stood in a traffic median in the middle of the night and contemp This book came strongly recommended to me by my fiance and after finishing it last night, we briefly discussed it. It's not a bad book, but I also can't say I was too impressed. The book centers around a crisis in the author's life -- he tried to commit suicide five years prior to writing this book. He focuses a lot on that and everything that comes out of it. My problem is simple. His suicide "attempt" wasn't really an attempt. He stood in a traffic median in the middle of the night and contemplated stepping in front of an imagined oncoming truck for some two to 10 minutes before walking away. That, to me, is not a suicide "attempt." It's merely a thought and it doesn't merit a book. I don't want to go into too much detail, but I've had my own demons to wrestle with and I know people who have actually gone through with suicide attempts and I've had people in my life who succeeded in their suicide attempts. THEIR stories need to be told, not some wannabe suicider who doesn't even try. I also found the author, Greg Garrett, to be fairly unlikeable as a person. At least he's honest about himself though. He went through several failed marriages, drank, had a vicious temper, was allegedly battling depression, yet was somehow holding down a tenured teaching gig at Baylor University. I never figured out how he landed that job. He had kids, but I don't think he was a great father, and he essentially admits to traumatizing his youngest by his nasty fights with an ex. The kicker is, this guy is in seminary (although since this book was written a few years ago, I assume he's out by now). He is in training to become an Episcopalian priest. While working at a Baptist school. Here's where I did identify with the author and why I'm raising my rating to three stars instead of two -- he grew up a fundie with the fear of hell drilled into him on a near-daily basis, with regular alter calls, revivals, and the like. Huh, sounds like my childhood. And like me, he left the church and gave it up. I can identify a lot. What frustrated me a great deal about this book, though, was he never explains how he came to go to an Episcopalian church and how it "saved" him and turned his life around. Nowhere is that found. I, too, have had a bit of a spiritual rebirth and am active in an Episcopalian church of my own, something that would have been unthinkable in my upbringing. After all, those people weren't "real" Christians and were going to hell. How did Garrett come to this point in his life? Another problem I had with this book was that he comes across as somewhat of a spiritual advisor -- or so it seems to me -- but his life is royally messed up, even after he is re-"saved." He's forever calling his minister telling him he thinks he's going to do something bad to himself to hurt himself. What a pansy! Geez, just swallow those pills and be done with it. OK, I say that somewhat frivolously, or I mean to at least, but it's hard for me to take Garrett and this book too seriously when at his worst, he's not that bad, and at his best, he's not that great. He's rather mediocre; why does he merit a book? My fiance will probably be disappointed with this review, because his alternative ways of viewing Christianity jive with hers (and with me too, to a degree), but I just can't help feeling like this book ultimately fails in its mission, and that's an unfortunate thing indeed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    This book was hard for me to rate. The author rejected his Baptist background and is now preparing for ministry in the Episcopal church. He had a suicide attempt five years before writing this book. He has had several marriages and is not a model father. He is a tenured professor at Baylor. BUT Garrett lives in Texas (a big plus) and included some book recommendations that I knew and liked and has some interesting insights. His non-exemplary life taught him some life lessons, and he seems to hav This book was hard for me to rate. The author rejected his Baptist background and is now preparing for ministry in the Episcopal church. He had a suicide attempt five years before writing this book. He has had several marriages and is not a model father. He is a tenured professor at Baylor. BUT Garrett lives in Texas (a big plus) and included some book recommendations that I knew and liked and has some interesting insights. His non-exemplary life taught him some life lessons, and he seems to have a genuine heart for helping others. Leonard Cohen - "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." The Princess Bride - "As you wish." "Cloistered virtue is any attempt by Christians to preserve our sanctity by segregating ourselves or walling ourselves off from the world." On tatoos: "Do you remember yourself ten years ago? Do you remember how stupid you were? Is there anything you thought ten years ago that you still think now?" Thomas More: "Care of the soul requires a high degree of resistance to the culture around us simply because that culture is dedicated to values that have no concern for the soul. To preserve our precious hearts, we may have to live economically against the grain." Henri Nouwen: "Downward mobility - seeking to serve instead of seeking reward." "The world is full of broken people who think they're surrounded by whole people."

  3. 5 out of 5

    David

    Garrett begins this memoir with a recollection of a time that he stood at the intersection of St. Francis and Manhattan in Santa Fe. He was waiting for a semi truck to come along at sufficient speed that it would surely end his life when he stepped in its path. The book is a memoir of the next five years of his life that found him regaining his faith and eventually entering seminary. The book is raw, as are all good autobiographies. I first read Greg Garrett’s novels because he is a professor at Garrett begins this memoir with a recollection of a time that he stood at the intersection of St. Francis and Manhattan in Santa Fe. He was waiting for a semi truck to come along at sufficient speed that it would surely end his life when he stepped in its path. The book is a memoir of the next five years of his life that found him regaining his faith and eventually entering seminary. The book is raw, as are all good autobiographies. I first read Greg Garrett’s novels because he is a professor at Baylor. I later read them because they take the reader onto the depths of existential despair. This book shows the light at the end of the tunnel and reveals a reason to continue living.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andee

    Reading a book about depression and mental illness isn’t a first choice for someone who suffers from depression herself. Crossing Myself: A Story of Spiritual Rebirth isn’t about darkness, but rather the light of what Greg Garrett sees in community, history, music, and service. Greg’s voice throughout his story will make you think, will make you laugh, and maybe even reach out to someone to say, “I love you.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    Spiritual memoirs are tricky things. Many times they move from a dark place to a place of enlightenment or salvation. The writer wants to share a path of discovery with the hope that the story can help others find their way. On the other hand, a reader might feel like a bit of a voyeur. Still, testimony has a powerful effect on people. I expect that will be true for Greg Garrett's "story of spiritual rebirth." This is the story of a successful author and professor of English at a major private un Spiritual memoirs are tricky things. Many times they move from a dark place to a place of enlightenment or salvation. The writer wants to share a path of discovery with the hope that the story can help others find their way. On the other hand, a reader might feel like a bit of a voyeur. Still, testimony has a powerful effect on people. I expect that will be true for Greg Garrett's "story of spiritual rebirth." This is the story of a successful author and professor of English at a major private university, who struggled with deep depression and spiritual doubt. The book starts with a contemplated but unfulfilled attempt at suicide. It ends with a sense of being born again. It also involves a call to ministry in a tradition different from the one in which the author began life. Greg Garrett is an author of both fiction and non-fiction. He's a professor of English at Baylor University. He's a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest, an Episcopal Seminary. Raised Baptist and employed by a Baptist university, his journey to health took him into the Episcopal Church, where he found a spiritual home and new lease on life. The book was originally published in 2005 by NavPress, an evangelical publisher. It's been republished with minor revisions by Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of the Episcopal Church's publishing arm. Garrett states up front that he hadn't made a lot of changes between first printing and this one, except for some rewriting of text and perhaps expanding on stories in ways that wouldn't have fit the earlier publisher's needs. That's an intriguing thing about the book. It was originally published by an Evangelical Publisher, likely because he was already publishing with them, and because Evangelical publishers like conversion stories. That this is! The title, Crossing Myself, is taken in part from the growing habit within the Episcopal Tradition to cross oneself when praying. It may also have a connection to some concluding thoughts that speak of crossing a bridge to a new life and new sense of identity. This is the kind of book that's difficult to review. It's a personal story, and you don't want to be seen as critiquing a story, especially a spiritual testimony. Besides, you don't want to reveal to much about the nature of the story. So, without revealing too much, this is the story of a spiritual rebirth but also an emergence from deep depression. At points in the book, I felt overwhelmed by the lengthy descriptions of despair. Just when you thought your were moving on, Garrett returned to the depths. You will want to continue on, because hope does emerge. It emerges largely once Garrett finds a spiritual home in an Episcopal Church. It's there he finds himself and then a calling. I appreciate the story. There is joy in the end. But in someways there's something missing. While Garrett does include, often parenthetically, some notes about life since the book was originally published, I would have appreciated an epilogue. When we end, he's still a seminarian. Since then he's finished seminary, been ordained, and continues teaching at Baylor. An Epilogue might have allowed the reader to share the joy of new life in a fuller way. Obviously Garrett didn't choose that path. He like had a reason, but for this reader, that would have been helpful. So, if you're wanting to read a spiritual memoir that moves from darkness into light, this is a good place to go.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Guy

    The confessional style and somewhat trite endings to each chapter wear a little thin after about 40 pages. There are a couple of tender anecdotes, and some sound advice about persevering, but the challenges Garrett reveals here are not remarkable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    He's not quite Anne LaMott, but if you can appreciate her stories of grace, you will probably like this. Again, it's really a 3 and a half star book, but it's set in Austin, so bumped to 4. He's not quite Anne LaMott, but if you can appreciate her stories of grace, you will probably like this. Again, it's really a 3 and a half star book, but it's set in Austin, so bumped to 4.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    This book was ok. I read it mostly becuase my mom asked me to. But it had one line that made it worth it: "The world is full of broken people who think they are surrounded by whole people." This book was ok. I read it mostly becuase my mom asked me to. But it had one line that made it worth it: "The world is full of broken people who think they are surrounded by whole people."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  10. 4 out of 5

    David James

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brad Herridge

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paula Matuskey

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matt Swale

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura Amy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie Stahl

  19. 4 out of 5

    Terry Henry

  20. 4 out of 5

    Derrick Vitale

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol S. McKim

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vernon Bowen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  27. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Haworth

  28. 4 out of 5

    Plainswriter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Fawcett

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