About Sharon Garlough Brown

Sharon Garlough Brown is a spiritual director, speaker, and cofounder of Abiding Way Ministries, providing spiritual formation retreats and resources. She is the author of Shades of Light, the Shades of Light Study Guide, Remember Me, and the bestselling Sensible Shoes Series, which includes the spiritual formation novels Sensible ShoesTwo Steps ForwardBarefootAn Extra Mile, and their study guides.

A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Sharon has served on the pastoral staff of congregations in Scotland, Oklahoma, England, and most recently in West Michigan, where she co-pastored with her husband, Jack, for many years. In March 2013 her book Sensible Shoes was named one of television personality Kathie Lee Gifford's "favorite things," and in December 2018 An Extra Mile was awarded Christianity Today's "Fiction Book of the Year."

Taken from Sensible Shoes website

Sharon, tell us a little about yourself.

A few years ago I was asked to submit a speaker bio for a talk I was giving at a local church. My theme for the evening was our true identity in Christ, and I had entitled the message, "Who am I?"

I simply couldn't write a bio for myself. I tried and tried, but nothing rang true. As the deadline for submitting the information drew near, I became more and more agitated about writing a few simple sentences. "I don't want it to sound like a resume," I said to my husband, Jack. "And I'm not interested in promoting myself."

Concerned about my stress level, Jack said, "I'll write it for you." The irony of someone else having to write my bio for a talk called, Who am I? was delicious. Maybe it also says something profound. When we struggle to see and name who we are, God gives us the gift of each other.

So, who am I? First and foremost, I am a beloved child of God. That's the identity you and I share. But here are some more specific details of my journey:

I was born in Arcadia, California, and graduated from Smith College, receiving my B.A. in English Language and Literature. I then went on to Princeton Theological Seminary, where I met Jack while walking to a reception for new students. Our first date was in his candlelit dorm room. We feasted on microwave lasagna with music from "Lady and the Tramp" playing in the background. We got married two years to the day of that very first date.

Since our graduation from seminary, Jack and I have served on the pastoral staff of churches in Scotland (where our only son, David, was born), Oklahoma, England, and West Michigan. I left pastoral ministry early in 2016 in order to devote myself more fully to the ministry of writing, leading retreats, and offering spiritual direction.

I love all things British--especially tea. I love to read. I love to travel. I love watching movies with my family. And I love to write. Especially with a cup of tea.

How did the Sensible Shoes come about?

See how God worked in the details of Sharon’s writing the book and how Intervarsity Press became the publisher. https://www.westmichiganchristian.com/people/70-influential-women-sharon-garlough-brown.html

How can I take a journey like the characters in the Sensible Shoes series?

My hope when I wrote the Sensible Shoes series was that readers would encounter God in the pages and long for deeper life with Him. I especially hoped that readers would take the journey with others in community. I'm delighted to hear from many groups that are using the study guides to walk together. I've even heard from groups that have used the guides multiple times, discovering new insights with each reading.

As for other resources, there are some wonderful non-fiction books about spiritual formation. I'm a fan of Adele Calhoun's Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Jan Johnson's Invitation to the Jesus Life, Juliet Benner's Contemplative Vision, Alan Fadling's An Unhurried Life, and just about anything by Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster. Check out Renovare and InterVarsity Press's Formatio line for more ideas.