I am not sure how I came to follow Kaitlin Curtice on Twitter, but I did and my Twitter feed has been better for it. She is a speaker & worship leader and writer who has been featured in Sojourners. If you have followed her blog through the month of November, she has been blogging daily, her reflections on Native American Awareness Month her experience as a Potawatomi woman. Her blog, articles, and social media presence challenge white, eurocentric Christianity and remind us of the diversity of the Kingdom of God and Christ’s heartbeat for justice.
Her new book, Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places (Paraclete Press: 2017) explores God’s glory in everyday life in ordinary life. Like Kathleen Norris’s Quotidian Mysteries, Curtice interrogates her daily life for glimpses of the divine. She explores the dimensions of her life as a Native American Christian, a woman, a wife and mother of two, to see what it reveals of God’s glory. Each chapter of this book is a snapshot of her life, combined with a short, poetic prayer addressed to God or Jesus.
Curtice observes that in the Bible and Christian tradition, God’s glory is made manifest in various ways (introduction, xiii). The ways God’s glory are manifest provide the structure for the book, the 50 entries are arranged in seven sections: creation, light, weight, voice, fire, honor, worship, and kingdom. There are 6 or 7 entries for each section (with the exception of fire, which only has 4). The brief entries and accompanying prayer make this a perfect daily devotional to awake our sense of God.
The chapters run the gambit of Curtice’s life experience. She describes her marriage and family life, pregnancy, the wonder in eyes of her two sons, reflections on her native identity, remembrances of conversations and encounters with other people and cultures, and the wisdom of authors and teachers.
Pervading all this is a sense of celebration and gratitude for life, which I find really refreshing. Especially since Curtice is something of an activist with eyes-wide-open to the injustices of the dominant culture in the United States (e.g. against Native Americans, African Americans, Muslims, etc). It is easy for activist types to come across as cynical and jaded but I got none of that from this book. This isn’t to say she is overly rosy about our current cultural moment. Just that she trusts that God’s glory is made manifest and holds out a strong hope for the Kingdom coming.
The prayer that closes the book captures this sense of trust, hope and gratitude:
Mystery of everything that we understand
and most certainly everything that we don’t,
teach us to rest in this unknowing.
Teach us to rest in each other,
to rest in the presence of a stranger,
in the kindness that is always unexpected,
that surprises us, that gives us a taste of you,
as much as we can bare[sic] to understand.
You are Creation,
you are Light,
you are Weight,
you are Voice.
You hold Fire,
you give Honor,
you gift Worship,
and you are Kingdom,
for all the glory.
If you are like me, it is too easy to get bogged down by the pressures of daily life and a soul-numbing news cycle filled with the misdeeds of powerful men, convenient deceptions, and partisan politicking. Curtice pulls back the curtain a little to reveal the ways God’s glory and kingdom are breaking into our present. It also doesn’t hurt that Curtice is a great writer too! I give this book 4 stars – ★★★★
Notice of material connection: I received a copy of this book from Paraclete Press in exchange for my honest review.