Alive & Loose In The Ordinary

Stories of the Incarnation

Martha Sterne

Apr/2006, 128 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819221551



"Except for once, I have never heard the voice of Jesus without some person or place in the creation doing the speaking for him. So I want to witness to the power of the Incarnation alive and loose in the ordinariness of the world for us and through us and among us. And I offer these little sketches of remembered grace to invite you to notice your own soul's companions and the thin places in your life through which grace, well, springs."

With a light touch and warm voice, and just a hint of a Southern accent, Martha Sterne tells the stories of her encounters with Christ - in the supermarket and the beauty parlor, in the garden, the kitchen, and sometimes even church.

Sterne shares her gift for storytelling, showing readers that the Incarnation is alive and loose everywhere they look, in the listening ears, kind voices, and loving hearts of people they bump into everywhere. Each essay is followed by reflection questions, making this a lovely volume for group study.


Martha Sterne is an Episcopal priest and a popular writer and speaker. She has published articles in Christian Century and Journal for Preachers, and is the author of Earthly Good. She lives in Maryville, Tennessee.

"This book debuts a remarkable cast of characters-a hair dresser who makes pastoral calls, a bishop who hides under the desk, a priest who faints in the park, old grandmothers who play cards every Thursday. . . . The book teems with memories and quirks and acts of stunning generosity. Martha Sterne's daily world consists in a thousand human dramas. She notices each of them and sees in them, in rich variety, occasions of grace. Here speaks a priest with a sense of humor and a deep bucket of gospel awareness. I could not put the book down. Her narrative is like that of Flannery O'Connor, only more daily and more accessible. I was enthralled by every scenario, as will be the next reader. Easter shows up here, page after page." -Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

"In Alive and Loose in the Ordinary, Martha Sterne Does a remarkable job of filling life's ordinary moments with spiritual depth and discernment. The book serves as a great eye-opener to the potential for grace with which so much of our day-to-day life is filled and which we so often miss or ignore. I recommend it highly to one and all." -The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray Jr., Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi

"In her book Alive and Loose in the Ordinary, Martha Sterne beautifully helps us reckon with the surprising moments of incarnational grace that we would otherwise surely miss in everyday life. Her lovely yet unflinching chapters will cheer your heart while breaking it with their beauty. Your eyes will brim frequently with tears of laughter, pain, or wistfulness while your heart ponders the astonishing wonders of life, faith, and community." -Peter Wallace, producer and host of "Day 1," and author of Out of the Quiet

"One can't help but be impressed by Martha Sterne's ability to find examples of the incarnation in ordinary situations. She is a marvelous storyteller."-The Living Church, November 2006

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