Review of Sarah Cunningham’s Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life’s Weeds

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“This is when I realized the secret my garden-loving grandmother shared with God all along: Picking weeds is a beautiful thing.” So concludes Sarah Cunningham in her book Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life’s Weeds.

Using the image of a dandelion and, later in the book, her gardening pilgrimage, Cunningham takes the reader on an autobiographical review of her life and, more importantly, her faith. A faith which begins with “coming to know Jesus” at a time and place she cannot remember but which she believed was real and honest.

As she unpacks her life, we walk with her through her childhood as a pastor’s kid who learns about how to pray well, begins to find her voice in church business meetings, and takes a big step from a private Christian school to a public high school and the interesting consequences of not dating a “popular” guy.

Along the way she wonders “why don’t we change-was the first hint that conversion might require something of us that is beyond what we are willing or ready to do. It might be a process with ups and downs. It might be hard.”

As she moves through college and encounters a situation in a legendary urban mission that challenges her view of faith, she begins to question the expression of that faith. But as she does so she begins to eventually face the fact that she needs to change as well. A change that is illustrated in the battle of weeding that she shares in the latter part of the book.

A wonderful journey that kept me very interested, Picking Dandelions is a wonderful spiritual autobiography of a young adult Christian as she wrestles with faith and life and the essence of Christianity. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from its publisher, Zondervan, via a request for reviews by its author.

Now, as part of Sarah’s blog tour, I was asked to name three books for our summer reading. (These books are good anytime of year!)

My three recommendations are all novels by the late Morris West.

Shoes of the Fisherman, The Clowns of God, and Lazarus

Written across the span of the 60’s, 80’s and 90’s these novels are written in and round the Vatican. I have Shoes and Lazarus twice and Clowns three times. They deal with politics, ethics, and the struggle of faith within and without the church as a whole. Enjoy!

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