I’m thankful for an advanced copy of Carol Howard Merritt’s new book, Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church. I know Carol, and she is a compassionate, deeply spiritual, and articulate voice in the world of theology and Church. She is warm, welcoming, and engaging. Her writing is passionate about a Church that has hurt her much, and about a God who has walked with her through it all and into a space of ongoing healing and hope.
Having known a little about her journey through conversations with her and her husband, Brian, I had no idea how deep the wounds were. In Healing Spiritual Wounds, she invites readers to walk with her as she holds our hands through some very scary stuff in her life. She invites us to discover and re-discover the reality of a loving God who walks with us through our suffering, and who even suffers with us.
One of the co-moderators of my denomination’s General Assembly, the Rev. Jan Edmiston, has recommended Carol’s book for Lenten studies. What an incredible match! A season of deep introspection in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, as we anticipate the healing of resurrection hope. Carol has created a weekly study guide for the book, which I think is perfect for such an endeavor (find it here).
In the spirit of Brené Brown, Carol invites us to tap into the more vulnerable places of our wounds, the pain from which can come out in some strange ways (hurt can come out as anger, or anger as woundedness). With exercises at the end of each chapter, Carol gently encourages the reader to not be afraid and trust in the God who is love. I wish every pastor and parishioner, every Christian and non-Christian, might read this book. I truly believe the world would be a very different place from what we see today.