The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist

Non-Fiction - Spiritual/Supernatural
226 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2022
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Author Biography

Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW was raised in a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian church and family. At age 34 she converted formally to Buddhism. She has recently completed a Pilgrimage in India and Nepal. Earlier, she spent two years in Asia: a year teaching English in S. Korea and a year in Pakistan with her 3rd husband.
She worked as a counselor after earning a B.S. in Psychology. She worked as a hospice social worker for the last 20 years of her career after earning an MSW degree and becoming licensed as an LCSW.
She is an avid backpacker and trekker, having done 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail and more than half of the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite

The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist is the real-life story of a woman who was raised in a fundamentalist evangelical Christian environment but later became a Buddhist. Author Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW, holds a master’s degree in social work and is a licensed clinical social worker. She experienced traumatic events, including being molested by her grandfather and going through several divorces. One husband beat her, while another turned out to have a felony conviction and a problem with illegal drugs. She also had a relationship with a man who didn’t tell her for seven years that he was still married to another woman. The book also contains accounts of McConnell’s remarkable travels, including hiking much of the Appalachian Trail and a pilgrimage to India and Nepal. She also lived in other places that most people can only read about, such as South Korea. The book contains some graphic content, including child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and sexual scenes. There are also frank descriptions of religious intolerance.

The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist is a fascinating book. Pamela McConnell writes openly and candidly. Because of her education and background, she has unique insight into the human condition and in particular her own life. I appreciated her frankness as she doesn’t hide any of her experiences, terrible as some were. Many readers will find her religious quest to be captivating. One doesn’t have to have any particular religious convictions to identify with her struggle to find a faith that worked for her. Everyone can learn from McConnell’s experiences and her honesty in telling her own life story. Anyone who reads with an open mind and wants to live vicariously through both the best and worst life offers should read this book. They will rejoice with McConnell that she was able to overcome her past and become a happy and fulfilled woman.

Essien Asian

Pam's strict Christian upbringing did not prevent her from getting into the odd scrap with schoolmates and siblings as a child. She narrates how her interesting family dynamics played a key part in creating the unique individual she is today. This included instances of molestation, statutory rape, and the revolving door of husbands she went through in the process of finding herself. She opens up her world to us, sharing the dysfunctional dynamics that characterized her supposedly model churchgoing family, with the veiled sibling rivalry between herself and her brother that eventually boiled over decades later, as well as her incredible journey to the Orient. The Adventures Of A Southern (Baptist) Buddhist by Pamela McConnell MSW, LCSW relates her story.

Pamela McConnell uses entertaining language to tell her story, often highlighting the comedic aspects of her odyssey during the darker episodes. Her accounts are vivid, describing the sights and incidents with an uncanny degree of detail. What stood out for me had to be the daring extent she goes to just to remain with Shane; the culture shock alone would be more than enough to put off braver women. The Adventures Of A Southern (Baptist) Buddhist is down-to-earth and insightful, with a storyline that will take a reader through the complete kaleidoscope of human emotions in a short period. This memoir would do well to serve as an eye opener for young girls starting their journey into womanhood. Not all that glitters is gold but if you stay focused and motivated, the end will be worthwhile.

Vincent Dublado

The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist by Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW is the true story of the important role of spirituality and enlightenment for a woman to survive heartaches and abuse. The author was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist evangelical family. By the time she left home, she felt completely saturated with Christian teachings and promptly quit going to church. She was seeing things and feeling a dissonance that didn’t make sense to her and had given up religion for well over a decade. Apart from her spiritual crisis, she experienced the trauma of being molested by her grandfather and went through several painful divorces. With such insurmountable obstacles, she ventured to see the world in a new way and found enlightenment. Out of love and devotion to the Buddhas, herself, and all sentient beings, she finds peace and prays that all reach full and perfect consciousness.

The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist builds on the enlightening journey of one woman to share and provide transformative lessons on dealing with personal crises. Pamela McConnell opens herself up candidly as you discover in her words the horrors of molestation and the heartaches that left a crack in her soul after investing in relationships with inappropriate people. If there is anything that her compelling narrative teaches us, it is that life is too short to be wasted on the wrong people and that the world is always open and welcoming to anyone who chooses to pick up the pieces. She has managed to incorporate humanizing processes and hands-on transformative experiences to bear witness to the realities of abuse and broken marriages. She acted on that knowledge to break the cycle and find the path to healing. Read it, feel it, and be free to analyze the validity of McConnell’s insights into the transformative and rehumanizing power of seeking truth. Namaste.

Idowu Adekunle

The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist by Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW, is a non-fictional spiritual account of the life of a girl who grew up in an evangelical home and eventually converted to Buddhism. Her home gave the appearance of an ideal family situation, except that she was constantly sexually abused by her grandfather until his death. Over the years, Pam realized that she did not want to continue in the family religion and decided to break free. Pam was 18 when she first got married. She had a son, but the marriage ended when she discovered that they had too many differences. She was married four times before she gave up on marriage. Pam graduated with two degrees, traveled to different cities, met new people, and explored Buddhism.

I was touched by the stories of sexual abuse. This book is informative because it shows how little children are vulnerable to sexual abuse by older members of the family. Her journey through Buddhism exposed me to new thinking, and I realized how limited my knowledge of Buddhism was. Pam is confident and adventurous. I loved the way she wasn't afraid to take risks and the detached way she accepted the discrimination she faced from people who did not accept her new way of living. The story takes the reader on a bumpy ride with a woman trying to find answers to her questions and be happy. I was fascinated by Pam's story. If you love to read books on spirituality, especially Buddhism, The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist by Pamela McConnell is the right book for you.

Melanie Kennedy

Pamela McConnell, MSW, LCSW tells her stirring life story in her autobiographical account, The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist. Pamela starts by describing her childhood, family, and early religious influences, giving us some background on who she is and her spiritual journey. Raised as a fundamentalist Christian, she would later convert to Buddhism. She then goes on to recall other big events in her life, such as her only child being born, her year in Korea teaching English, a year in Pakistan, as well as her four marriages and eventual divorces. Despite all her hardships, she excelled by earning a Masters in Social Work and becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Pamela relates the experiences she and her mother had backpacking the Appalachian Trail, claimed to be the longest hiking-only trail in the world. This trek would help her immensely in her pilgrimage through India and Nepal and especially the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas.

Pamela McConnell has led an extremely exciting life, and I’m sure she had to condense her experiences quite a bit to fit them into her book. Her continued faith, albeit in another religion, was beautiful to see. She went through a lot in her childhood and adulthood that would cause many people to harbor anger or resentment. However, she took adversity in her stride and continues to practice tolerance, forgiveness, and love. I enjoyed the way she would describe her emotions and I felt invested in the story from beginning to end. The Adventures of a Southern (Baptist) Buddhist is a magnificent read for anyone interested in the story of a well-lived life.

Tina Scott

Feel Like " I Have Walked In Her Shoes"

Wonderful tales of true life stories that are gripping ( somewhat graphic), and full of honesty. Gives a good depiction of Buddhism and the harsh realities of growing up in the " Deep South", asnthe author refers to this lifestyle. If you like adventures of travel mixed in with a bit of Asian culture and " not so nice " stories of naughty relatives, this is a MUST READ.