Finishing with Falsani

19Apr08

I’ve enjoyed Cathleen Falsani’s religion column in the Chicago Sun Times for a few years now.  So I was looking forward to her coming to the 2008 Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College.  I wasn’t so thrilled when I saw she was slated to speak at 8:30 am on Saturday morning.  Yikes.  What a timeslot! 

However, coffee in hand, I slipped into the Willow room at the Prince Center this morning to hear Falsani’s talk on a field guide to grace, essentially a collection of stories about her encounters with grace.

What I liked most about Falsani’s talk is that she didn’t talk, she read.  In fact she read from two chapters of her book for about 30 of the 45 minutes she spoke.  Maybe it was the time of day, but her decision to read from her work really hit the spot.  She began her presentation quoting Frederick Buechner who once noted that all moments are key moments and that life itself is grace.  Her first chapter read recounted an experience she once had with writer’s block, what she calls “the skunks,” and how an unexpected walk in the rain washed away the stink.  Her second chapter told the tale of a trip to Africa, a room steward named Grace, a sullen tour guide, encounters with elephants and ultimately finding God’s grace.

Along the way Falsani dropped references to Friends, the Odd Couple, Bull Durham and 50 Cent.  And she mentioned her next book, tentatively titled The Dude Abides and featuring the Coen brothers, makers of such movies as Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Fargo and The Big Lebowski (who wanted simply to get his rug back and be called Dude).

She also provided food for thought, breakfast fare to go with the coffee as it were.  Of grace she said simply:  “Grace is the only thing I’m really sure is true.”  She compared it to buying a new car and then “you start seeing it everywhere.”  And, she said, grace is what stands Christianity apart from every other theological religious tradition.

As the Dude might say that grace really tied the room together.

~posted by Phil de Haan, director of communications and marketing

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One Response to “Finishing with Falsani”

  1. 1 James

    Amazing! Its truly remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea on the
    topic of from this post.


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