Did you know that the Bible describes God as a “laboring woman”?

How often do you think of God as someone who smells things? Do smells really make a difference for God? If so, what does that mean?

How often do you look at a piece of bread and think of God?

And while we’re on the subject of bread — is white bread really appropriate for communion?

9780061768125These are just a few of the subjects explored in the new book by Lauren F. Winner. Order this book — Wearing God — for yourself, and for those you love.

Full disclosure: Lauren Winner — author of Girl Meets God, Mudhouse Sabbath, and Still — is currently my mentor in Seattle Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing program.

Fuller disclosure: She was one of several who encouraged me to enroll in the program, as a master’s degree might open new doors for me and my writing in the future. At the time, I was intent on pursuing my degree in fiction, but circumstances led me to change my mind, and now I am delighted to discover that Lauren Winner is now my MFA mentor. So one might be led to suspect that I’ll promote her books in order to win her favor. One would be wrong about thatbut still.

Even fuller disclosure: I was part of a small group that “workshopped” — provided criticism and recommendations for revision — one of the chapters in the book, and I’ve heard chapters in various degrees of revision read aloud. But no, I gain nothing from the book’s success except some happiness.

Fullest disclosure: I was already a fan of Winner’s writing before I met her, having followed her articles in Books and Culture for years. So this is not just a case of me promoting a friend’s work to you.

So I think you can trust me to some extent in what I’m about to say: In a world that — let’s face it — needs fewer books about God, Wearing God is a fascinating and necessary book.

In it, Winner explores some of the most-overlooked images of God we’re given in the Scriptures: God as a nose (that is, as one who smells). God as garments. God as fire. And more. She does so with insight, wit, and revealing research. And it’s a blast to read.

I had the privilege, last week, of attending the first public reading of Wearing God, and it was an exciting occasion. The finished book is beautiful, and Lauren is contagiously enthusiastic about it. She should be.

I highly recommend it to you all. Trust me.

Here’s Part One and Part Two of an interview by Mary Kenagy Mitchell of Image, asking Winner about the book.