by Jana Riess – Paraclete Press
This wry memoir tackles twelve different spiritual practices in a quest to become more saintly, including fasting, fixed-hour prayer, the Jesus Prayer, gratitude, Sabbath-keeping, and generosity. Although Riess begins with great plans for success (“Really, how hard could that be?” she asks blithely at the start of her saint-making year), she finds to her growing humiliation that she is failing–not just at some of the practices, but at every single one. What emerges is a funny yet vulnerable story of the quest for spiritual perfection and the reality of spiritual failure, which turns out to be a valuable practice in and of itself.
Praise for Flunking Sainthood:
“Jana Riess may have flunked at sainthood, but she’s written a wonderful book. It’s both reverent and irreverent, and it will make you want to become a better Christian — or Jew, or Muslim, or Zoroastrian, or Jedi, or whatever you happen to be.” – AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
“Flunking Sainthood is surprising and freeing; it is fun and funny; and it is full of wisdom. It is, in fact, the best book on the practices of the spiritual life that I have read in a long, long time.” – Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath
“Jana Riess reminds us that saints are different from most of us: They are special, we are barely normal. They get it right, we rarely get it. They see God, we strain to see much of anything. And, Jana is no saint. Rather than climbing to the pinnacle and sitting on a pedestal to tell us how it could be, Jana slides right next to us and reminds us that sainthood is overrated. With humor and insight she whispers to is that our lives matter just as they are. She prods us to never let our failures hold us back. She calls us to something greater than spiritual success – ordinary faithfulness. Flunking Sainthood is the book I’m giving to my friends who are seeking to make sense of their emerging faith.” – Doug Pagitt, author of A Christianity Worth Believing