Review: Metanoia by Anna McGahan

Metanoia - A Memoir of a Body, Born Again

Coming to faith is a deeply liminal experience. Slowly or suddenly, the world is made new. Heaven collides with earth, in the heart of the new believer. Old identities are cast off, like rags traded for robes.

For those, like me, who have been believers for most of their adult lives, reading stories of redemption is a challenge and a reminder. I came away from reading “Metanoia” with an expectation that God is active and working, and with an eagerness to join in His work.

“Metanoia” is the intricately-crafted story of Anna McGahan’s journey of transformation. The Greek word for a transformative change of heart, ‘Metanoia’ reveals just how radical the change in Anna’s life has been. She describes her past brokenness in unapologetic detail: she used her body as a commodity to win TV roles; her relationships with men and women careened from soul-deep in one moment to tossed aside the next; and she searched for authentic spirituality in Buddhism and acid trips. All of these left Anna empty and searching.

For those, like me, who have been believers for most of their adult lives, reading stories of redemption is a challenge and a reminder. I came away from reading “Metanoia” with an expectation that God is active and working, and with an eagerness to join in His work.

“Metanoia” is the intricately-crafted story of Anna McGahan’s journey of transformation. The Greek word for a transformative change of heart, ‘Metanoia’ reveals just how radical the change in Anna’s life has been. She describes her past brokenness in unapologetic detail: she used her body as a commodity to win TV roles; her relationships with men and women careened from soul-deep in one moment to tossed aside the next; and she searched for authentic spirituality in Buddhism and acid trips. All of these left Anna empty and searching.

God met Anna in ordinary ways, but the God she met is anything but ordinary. The latter part of the book is a dramatic adventure of faith. If you’re worried that you’ve been drawn into a material, secularised, sanitised Christianity, where the spiritual world is dormant and far away, Anna’s book is a reminder that we fight not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces. However, it is also a reminder that God is personal, loving, and more active than we think.

Ellanda Joyce

This review first published by Anglican Deaconess Ministries.

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