Book News!

I have been sitting on some news for a while now, and I am so jazzed to be finally going public.

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Short version: I am writing a book for InterVarsity Press! The tentative title is Blessed are the Agnostics: My Life with Nuns and Nones.

Long version: The story goes like this: Josh and I bought a house in a new part of Minneapolis in August, we stumbled into a monastery of urban nuns while trick-or-treating with our kids in October, and the phrase "spiritual singleness" dropped into my brain (by the Holy Spirit?) while on retreat in November. This phrase was an epiphany of sorts and got me thinking about the nuns (who are a few blocks away), who embrace singleness, and my own struggle to connect with God after Josh left Christianity. Could I learn about spiritual singleness from them, even though I am a thoroughly Protestant married woman with small children? In December, I joined a group of lay people who gather monthly to learn more about the spirituality of the monastic order (Salesian spirituality) and to partner with the Sisters in ministry.

This book, then, will be a spiritual memoir about my journey with the Sisters and the weird, wonderful world of Catholic saints. It's also a story about my interfaith marriage and how Josh and I are working through the particular challenges of a Christian-to-None union. I hope it speaks to all religious seekers, whether doubters, Christian, nuns, or nones.

I am thrilled to be working with the good folks at InterVarsity Press and will be spending the next year writing and journeying with the Sisters. Publishing is a long process, so it will be two years before you can pick up a copy to read. In the meantime, I will be sending out a more regular newsletter as I work on the book (if you aren't already signed up, you can do so here). Thanks for following along on this journey! 

My Unabashed Love for a Good Story

I may be 30 years old, but I sometimes feel like I am 30-going-on-13 because I love reading the occasional Young Adult (YA) novel. I am privileged to be guest-posting at Christiana Peterson's blog today about why I devoured The Hunger Games series during early motherhood.  ...

“Miss Eliza Bennet,” said Miss Bingley, “…is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.” “I deserve neither such praise nor such censure,” cried Elizabeth; “I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things.” - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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The Hunger Games

Call me lowbrow if you must, but I loved reading The Hunger Games series.

It was the winter of 2012 and I was learning how to be a mother. My newborn daughter was fussy, nursed constantly and rejected both pacifiers and bottles, forcing me to spend many hours trapped on the couch underneath her weight. I reserved books from the library in droves, looking up titles that I found on top ten lists from esteemed literary critics over the past few years. I read and read, and when I couldn’t read anymore, I watched Downton Abbey on my laptop until thirst drove me off the couch and into the kitchen.

Click here to read more.

The Book That Changed My Life

I wrote an essay about The Irresistible Revolution over at D.L. Mayfield's blog. irresistiblerevolution

The Irresistible Revolution: The Book That Changed my Life

What was it about that book?

It was the gee whiz let’s do something. It was the stories of hope. It was the promise of a glittery but gritty revolution where the kingdom breaks through cracked concrete, mustard plant by mustard plant.

It was the acknowledgment that not all is well with the world, stop pretending. Instead, let’s move into the neighborhood and tithe our money relationally; let’s reject the investment in sprawling suburban church campuses when so many are scrounging for grocery money. Be a new kind of believer, a prophetic witness who takes Jesus at his word.

Shane Claiborne came to speak in chapel at my evangelical college in 2004, two years before The Irresistible Revolution was published. It was the week before finals and I skipped his talk to write a paper; I had never heard of him. But I saw the impact he had on my friends, how they came back from chapel pumped up by his words about authentic faith, by his dreadlocks and patched jeans. Some of my crowd looked a lot like Shane that way, and I have a faint recollection of a drum circle that he performed with students on campus.

Shane, it was decided, was very cool. The New Monasticism movement that he headlined buzzed with words like “intentional community” and “downward mobility,” setting my idealist heart ringing. It dovetailed with the “you can change the world” message I had long heard growing up. And I believed in my heart of hearts that I, too, would never settle for a stale and materialistic Christianity.

But, if you’re like me, the sounding gong of radicalism eventually faded into disillusionment.

Read the rest here.