Michael Bradley, managing editor of Ethika Politika, writes that Holly Ordway’s account of her journey from atheism to Catholicism, Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius Press, 2014), is "a delightful and searingly introspective account of the author’s moving journey from unbelief..."
Ordway's book is filled
with anecdotes and details from her early youth and young adult life, a much more robust account of how Christian literature—particularly the works of Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Chesterton, and Gerard Manley Hopkins—impacted and guided her conversion experience, and how her fencing career integrated with her growth in Christian discipleship.
A slim 187 pages (featuring 27 chapters and 7 “interludes,” none of which are longer than 10 pages) and written in the light and fluid prose befitting a former English professor, Not God’s Type is a quick and uplifting read, and eminently readable. Ordway opens with two quotes—one by John Henry Newman and one by Lewis—about “laying down one’s arms” before the sovereign Lord, thus situating the book’s title and its most persistent thematic element within the context not only of conversion from unbelief to belief, but of continual transformation of imagination and heart. Indeed, imagination plays a major role in Ordway’s conversion because it is an integral aspect of the Christian vision itself; each chapter opens with a snippet from a Christian poem or literary work.
"The meat of the book," Bradley notes, "concerns Ordway’s intellectual investigation of fundamental Christian claims. Did there exist a First Mover, a personal Creator through whose agency all things came into being from nothing? The evidence, as Ordway saw it, indicated ‘yes.’ And so forth for a host of claims that Ordway previous would dismiss with nary a second thought. The fortress begins to crumble, largely thanks those literary conduits of grace: Chesterton’s aesthetic sense, Lewis’s apologetic verve, always the poetry of Hopkins and the literature of Tolkien; seeds sown in silence, bearing good fruit in due season."
He concludes his detailed review by stating:
It is a beautiful account of the courtship of the living God, a person to be known more so than a theory to be investigated. Ordway catches herself by surprise in the book’s latter chapters by realizing that while she “tested” God as a hypothesis, he engulfed her with his Holy Spirit, emboldening her to make not a leap, but a joyful affirmation of faith in the God who is nearer to her than she is to herself.
Read the entire review on the Ethika Politika site.