In “Sacred Strangers,” Nancy Haught leads readers through six biblical accounts of outsiders, some of them well known, some unfamiliar. In each, Haught considers how the outsider teaches. Her graceful writing helps us reflect on those lessons and want to talk over the points with others.

The Magi, Hagar, Rahab, Naaman, the Samaritan Woman and the Syrophoenician woman all have a chance, with Haught’s exegesis, to reveal layers of meaning and understanding of human strengths and frailties, and God’s love and grace.

Hagar, for instance, who is poorly treated by God’s chosen, Abraham and Sarah, is shown as a woman so comfortable in God’s love that she calls God by name. “You are El-roi,” she says.

Haught explains this is a “daring but intimate moment that we modern readers may miss.”

The book has reflection questions at the end of each chapter that make it a great choice for groups or solo spiritual reading. The questions on Hagar include: “Would I dare to name the divine? What might I name God?”

Msgr. Patrick Brennan, pastor of St. Mary Cathedral, in a blurb for the book, describes Haught as having “a clear, engaging and poetic style,” and says that the book’s stories show how God’s grace “is often present and active where we least expect it: in the outsiders, the marginalized, the strangers in the land.”

Haught brings the right amount of her own life’s story into the book: the death of her husband, for instance, when she writes about prayer. Her author’s biography notes that she was the Oregonian’s religion and spirituality reporter for 15 years. She was also a fine staffer at the Catholic Sentinel in the 1990s.