A Prodigal’s Return, 2nd ed.
Spiritual/Religious
Date Published: March 11, 2020
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STUMBLING TOWARD GOD traces a woman’s spiritual search with an unusual twist – from an “atheist who prays” to unorthodox membership in two contrasting churches: Unitarian and Episcopal. In the second edition of her forthright memoir, McGee shares new adventures on her spiritual quest, culminating in personal encounters with a God of love. An honest, satisfying read for anyone questioning or seeking a spiritual path. First Place for Nonfiction Book in the PNWA Literary Competition. Includes Reading Group Guide.
“An offbeat, engagingly written, appealingly uncertain spiritual memoir.” – Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Margaret D. McGee writes books about being alive in the cosmos, paying attention, and making connections. Her parents were both preacher’s kids, and her father pursued a successful career in public education. These two themes—applied faith and applied intellect—returned in her middle years when she joined the Episcopal parish and Unitarian Universalist fellowship in her small town. She says, “Going back and forth, week on, week off, between the “prayer-book” Episcopalians and the free-thinking
Unitarians provided an essential bridge in my spiritual path—a bridge that led me to a new place.” McGee has had a varied career, including a time at the Microsoft Corporation, where she was employed as a master writer. She now lives in the Olympic Peninsula with her husband, David. In addition to Stumbling Toward God, her books include Sacred Attention and Haiku – The Sacred Art, both published by Skylight Paths Publishing. Her liturgical prayers and skits have been used by faith communities across the United States, and can be found at her website, InTheCourtyard.com.


Excerpt from Stumbling Toward God by Margaret D. McGee

This excerpt taken from the Prelude: Alive in the Cosmos

Here I am, alive in the cosmos. How does that work? What’s my place in the scheme of things?

What does it mean to live a good life on a day-to-day basis? What does it mean to love somebody?

When I say, “Dear God,” what am I talking about?

Does religion help at all? Some are quick to tell me that religion is a purely destructive force in the world, and I’d be better without it. Others assure me that not only can religion address these questions, they’ll introduce me to the one true faith that uniquely guarantees my eternal salvation. But what do I think? Is there any point to organized religion for me? Surely I have to answer this question for myself.

When I reached the middle years of my life, those questions began to bother me. They didn’t seem to bother everybody. As far as I could tell, many people navigated life’s ups and downs, loved their families and neighbors as well as could be expected, said “Dear God” or didn’t say it, and practiced or didn’t practice religion, without requiring a definition of terms or a user’s guide for the clueless. But the questions bothered me. Here I am, alive in the cosmos. How does that work?

As it happens, for much of my professional life I made a living writing user’s guides. Over years during which the software industry reinvented itself over and over, I gradually realized that I didn’t need to be afraid of my own cluelessness when facing a new product or technology, because writing the manual was a fine way to figure it out. In the process of reading specifications, asking questions, fiddling around with buggy software still revising—I could have faith that I’d eventually come up with words that told how it worked and how to use it, written in a way to help someone else take the same path.

Stumbling Toward God is the user’s guide I needed when the larger questions demanded to be answered. Writing it helped me find my way. If you’re someone who’s also bothered by the questions, I hope reading it helps you find your way, too.

© Margaret D. McGee, 2020

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