I wrote this book review for our diocesan newspaper, but thought I would put it here as well.
Katy Magdalene Price. “I Think It’s God Calling: A Vocation Diary,” The Bible Reading Fellowship, Abingdon, 2015.
Katy’s Price’s book began its life as a blog; one she wrote “with the vague idea of helping others learn from my mistakes.” In it, she describes her growth from being an atheist (although “definitely an Anglican atheist, with a whole range of opinions and preferences on everything from vestments to episcopacy”), to being a new curate in the Church of England. She does so with a humour, wit and raw honesty which is refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable.
This process, she confides, “started as an experiment;” an attempt to understand the Christians around her, and to subject her own atheism to rigorous critique. So she prayed. She knew, she says, that prayer involved talking to God; but that it had never occurred to her that God might talk back. And yet, in ways that she finds hard to pin down, God did indeed talk back; leaving her with something of a dilemma, since, “my only qualification for ordained ministry was looking good in black.”
So, in search of a robust qualifying process, Katy chose to go to the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield; a place where she was required to live and learn within a monastic discipline (or, as she describes it, “some sadistic social experiment,” one in which a major challenge was learning to walk up stairs in a cassock with a bottle of wine in one hand and a glass in the other).
But despite these and many other challenges, (I particularly valued the chapter that dealt with the dynamics in her marriage), Katy emerged from college ready for parish life, God and the bishop willing. She describes herself, at the end of the book, as “pretty much still completely terrified,” but in it for the long haul alongside the God who has put up with her this far.
The value of Katy Price’s book, for me, was that it cut through all of the unwritten expectations which encourage us to be less than robustly honest about our experiences of the church. As someone who started her journey outside the church, she writes about it with genuine affection but also a freedom which is like a breath of fresh air. I laughed, I paused in recognition, and I was encouraged to treasure what is precious as well as seek to change what is ridiculous in our life together. I would recommend it to anybody who would like to be inspired in the same way.