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SKIPPING CHURCH
REVIEWS

Readers Say It Best

In Skipping Church, Suzanne Kelsey eloquently and honestly describes the challenges of being a minister’s spouse and the struggles and rewards of her own search for truth. Her exploration of the complex terrain of a long and loving marriage provides a model for anyone who loves someone with different life goals. Even more, her keen insights, willingness to ask hard questions, and openness to the mysteries and wonders of the world show us that spirituality can be found in many forms.

Lori Erickson, author of The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestors, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit; Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-so-Grim Reaper; and Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God

Suzanne Kelsey is a wise guide for those of us who have spiritual stirrings but feel unsure about organized religion. This is her account of arriving at a hard-earned inner harmony. Determined to not fake it as a minister’s wife yet to be faithful to her loving husband, she becomes a true soulmate for him and, thankfully, for us too.

Tim Bascom, author of Chameleon Days; Running to the Fire; and Climbing Lessons: Stories of Fathers, Sons, and the Bond Between

I can only admire the work of a small-town Iowa woman who embarks on such a profound lifelong spiritual quest and finds its greatest fulfillment in her natural surroundings, wherever they be. Her sharp prose keyed me in to the world of her husband’s itinerant ministerial career, something that I at first thought would interest me little. However, her search and how it figured as key to her growing family’s dynamic carried me along willingly from town to town to learn what her adventure would unearth. We can all take clues and inspiration from Suzanne Kelsey’s story.

Tim Fay, editor of the Wapsipinicon Almanac

With deep honesty, vulnerability, a mystic’s sensibility and a keen writer’s eye, Sue Kelsey depicts her struggle to create a thoughtful and fiercely independent approach to spiritual life, and find her place in the world, a place of both love and resistance. I come from a family of Midwestern Protestant ministers, and the tension between the roles we are called to play and the authentic self we long to express rings so true here to me. A beautiful book.

Andy Douglas, author of The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga and Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir

Suzanne Kelsey’s engaging memoir brings us on a journey far beyond managing a surprising and sometimes difficult spousal career choice. In seeking her own identity and spirituality separate from her husband’s Christian ministry, Kelsey inspires us to understand how art, music, writing, and nature open us to the world’s beauty and meaning. The prairies and woodlands of her native Midwest, then new explorations in California landscapes, provide Kelsey and her readers with deep insight into the power of nature to make us who we are in our home landscapes as well as the greater universe—and how they can bring family members together in a loving common life.

Thomas Dean, author of Under a Midland Sky, co-author of Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit

How do you respect the spiritual calling of a loved one, while listening to your own? This is the question that drives Suzanne Kelsey’s remarkable memoir, an unexpected journey of faith that leads her to discover “startling revelations of beauty” beyond the walls of a church. Whether during walks in nature, learning to tango, protesting a polluting factory, or confronting the complexities of marriage and parenting, Kelsey’s honesty and warmth are always present. As well as her exceptional gifts as a storyteller, as she uncovers sacred connections “to the wild, to history, to beauty, to creativity, and community.” An inspiring, essential read in these challenging times.

John T. Price, author of Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father and Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships

I read Suzanne's book with great interest and delight. I have known her and her husband Chuck for many years and I have followed their lives as they flowed in and out of Iowa City where we live. Suzanne is an excellent stylist, writing in accessible, straightforward prose that holds your attention and keeps you coming back for the next well written story. Unlike too many memoirs, Skipping Church neither falls into the trap of avoiding the dynamics of her sometimes difficult relationship with her spouse, nor does she use the pulpit of her book simply to vent her struggles. Being a clergy spouse often is difficult, but especially in a situation like hers in which her own spiritual and religious life does not mesh with his work as a pastor. Kudos to Suzanne for not only writing a loving and honest book, but also for showing us all how to grow spiritually not only despite, but because of and through real struggles. Read this lovely book and you will see why we love and admire Suzanne and Chuck.

Robert Sessions, author of Becoming Real: Authenticity in an Age of Distractions