From one of America’s most prominent ministers comes an inspiring, provocative reflection on the necessity of community, the inevitability of conflict, and the transformative power of radical love.
“I so love and admire the work and witness of Pastor Amy Butler.”—Anne Lamott
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid,” said theologian Frederick Buechner. Pastor Amy Butler, the first woman at the helm of New York’s historic Riverside Church, knows firsthand that to navigate such a world, one must be courageous, honest, and compassionate. In Beautiful and Terrible Things, Pastor Amy draws on the most meaningful, challenging, and soul-shaking moments of her own life to offer larger lessons on theology and relationships.
Pastor Amy grew up in a conservative Evangelical family in the diverse culture of the Hawaiian Islands. As she realized she was more inclined to be a pastor than to marry one, she began an unlikely journey, breaking one stained-glass ceiling after another. Holding increasingly high-profile ministry positions in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Amy weathered rigidly unwelcoming congregations and enormous trials, ultimately learning that only the radical love of community could generate healing. As she describes her experiences leading a church to publicly affirm its LGBTQ community members, losing a child, and undergoing an unexpected divorce, Amy offers a thoughtful lens on all the ways life can push us to see the world from another’s perspective. In her signature compassionate, witty voice, she offers fresh, nonjudgmental perspectives on faith—which, at its most beautiful expression, allows for the possibility that there is more than one way to experience God.