Surprised by Oxford
Author: Carolyn Webber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Agnostic girl meets atheist boy. Agnostic girl meets God. Atheist boy loses agnostic girl. Born-again girl falls in love with Christ. (Oh, and meets another boy along the way!) This is not the makings of a fairy tale or soon-to-be-released blockbuster film. This is an honest and colorful memoir reflecting on Carolyn Weber’s transformation from second-guesser to Believer.
Weber takes readers on a journey back into the early 1990s, when she was a first-year scholarship graduate student at the University of Oxford. Identifying herself as agnostic and very aware of the damages those closest to her could inflict, she arrived on the campus of the world’s oldest English-speaking university certain of many things. She wasn’t, however, aware of how deeply the university’s Christian foundation would create uncertainty within a matter of weeks. (One who doesn’t believe in Christianity probably experiences difficulty more often than not when the University’s motto, Dominus Illuminatio Mea, is so prominent.)
Weber’s love for words and intrapersonal intelligence carve out a powerful story of spiritual awakening. Although the memoir has the capacity to be a great read over the course of weeks, one cannot help but dive in. You agitate yourself by reading about her resistance. You sit on the edge of your seat with excitement when she speaks of “TDH.” You fall in love with the Holy Spirit, perhaps for the first time, or the millionth.
But you read it too fast either way. Thus, you’re left with wanting more of her story.
I recommend this book to new believers and “lifelong” believers for all the reasons I tried to verbalize in a previous blog entry. It’s worth lending out, but you’ll never want to part with it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review whatsoever. The opinions I have expressed are completely my own. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”