Tag Archives: faith

Becoming a Community That Takes the Right Kinds of Risks

Bookmark and Share

I have been making a mistake for years. You’ve most likely been making the same mistake for years.

 

I finally got some much-needed perspective at the Festival of Faith and Writing last week.

I forget that the tiny slices of people that we find online can’t possibly stand in for the whole person. Everyone I’ve met through Facebook or Twitter and then met with in real life is far more fascinating, complex, and wonderful when we meet up in real life. I have made the mistake of “fearing” these in-person meet ups because I fear we won’t get along or, most likely, they won’t think all that much of me.

Getting to the point of meeting up with online friends requires some risks. We have to risk those awkward first moments when we shake hands or give a side hug. We have to break the ice (which some of us are better at than others).

We have to risk a conversation where we may find out that we don’t have anything in common.

We have to risk a conversation knowing that the other person, someone we may admire, could find our interests and passions boring or insignificant.

We have to overcome these fears in order to make the most of our relationships. However, every time I reached out to someone I even vaguely knew online, I was delighted to learn more about their stories. Even more so, I was energized by their dreams and goals. I wanted to help them.

In the world of writing, this can be a tricky matter. I want to help writers with worthy stories, but I also want to give them a list of caveats. I want to show them the hope/discouragement graph from my Examine app.

“See all of those low points from the past two months? Those are from my book releases.”

It’s my “secret” mission to help writers when I can. I want to push them to sit down and write, to explore the tough points of their lives, and to develop those ideas into book proposals when appropriate.

I want to warn writers that they are leaping off a cliff and the landing may not go well.

As honest as I want to be about the pain and fear that comes with both writing and marketing a book, there’s so much more to talk about if time permits at a conference.

I’ve fallen on my face several times. I’ve crashed off that cliff. I’ve received really painful emails. I’ve questioned whether I should keep writing more times than I should admit publicly.

And yet, I wake up, and get an itch to write about something. Before I realize what has happened, I’ve filled an entire page and exposed a liberating truth about myself. I start to wonder if it may help someone else…

Perhaps it’s an addiction. Maybe it’s a fatal flaw. Maybe it’s the only way I can keep myself sane or at least truly “know” something. I need to jot down notes, outline, scratch out the inane, and scribble, scribble, scribble until some kind of direction takes shape on my page. 

It’s like I need to draw an arrow for myself, but I need to experiment with wiggling lines and unruly circles first.

Everything with writing and relationships is risky. But we can’t tap into the beauty of our relationships or our writing without taking risks. Mind you, let’s take the right risks. Let’s explore our writing, let’s ask the “what if” questions, and let’s jump on opportunities to meet our “online friends” in real life when appropriate.

To that end of taking risks and reaching out to each other, I have an idea I’d like to share with you.

Lent is almost over. A new season of the Christian year begins next Monday. Perhaps you’ve been fasting. Perhaps you’ve been just hanging on by a thread. Wherever you are, I wonder if you need to take some risks along with me into this world of writing and relationships.

What if we all made a commitment to spend at least one morning or at most five each week getting up to write at least one page around 6 am? The rules aren’t ironclad. Maybe that’s a notebook page. Maybe that’s a Word doc with tiny font. Maybe that’s an index card or it’s a Note app on your smart phone. And maybe you won’t start until 6:15 am. Maybe you need to start at 5:30 am.

If you know me, you know I’m not one for rules and precision. Just get a page done each morning around 6 am. And when you do it, mention it on Twitter or take a picture on Instagram to let us know what you’re up to. I’ll try to do the same.

Use the hashtags: #6am #1page.

Maybe we’ll find the courage and encouragement we need if we know that others are trying this out. This is something I’ve done for a season after our son was born, but I’ve started staying up later and sleeping in. Hearing Anne Lamott talk about getting your butt in the chair, especially before your kids wake up and the day begins, has left me wistful for those days of early morning writing. And wouldn’t it be better if we could all do it together?

We’ll give it a shot this year, starting Monday, April 21st. If you want to join me or just write whenever your schedule permits (even one day a week), let me know in the comments or drop me a like on Twitter at @edcyzewski and mention the hastags: #6am #1page.

When Church Is Like a Party

Bookmark and Share

The worship team was playing a somewhat confusing worship song, families were dancing in front of the stage with a swirling disco ball, someone let loose a bunch of balloons, and then I totally lost it.

This was not typical for me.

church-party-balloons

As the balloons drifted down, I caught a glimpse of the Kingdom of God coming to earth, and it wasn’t a mighty king riding high on his horse crushing his enemies. It looked like a group of people throwing a great party that celebrates the love of God.

Still… Why the tears?

Perhaps it was because I witnessed a moment of beauty in our flawed world.

Perhaps I was mourning all of the times church felt like the exact opposite of a party.

Then again, I had my own hard heart to bring before God.

I thought that I needed to go to church that day, but I really just needed a party.

Read the rest of this post at Deeper Church…

When You Pray, Do Not Be Weird About It

Bookmark and Share

I just finished reading my friend Addie Zierman’s memoir When We Were on Fire. It’s a brilliant book. The writing is exquisite and polished. The narrative arc is powerful and gripping.

It’s also a terrifying book to read as a parent. Addie had so much guilt heaped on her by well-meaning Christian friends and leaders.

I keep seeing Ethan as a pre-teen or teen who wanders unsuspecting into the Christian subculture where he’ll be confronted with challenges to share his faith, to take big risks for Jesus with a heavy dose of guilt, and super Christians who read extra tattered Bibles and speak extra loud.

Will these people drive him away from Jesus because they strike him as odd?

Will these people make him try harder to make Jesus like him?

A year ago I spoke with a friend who is flat out terrified about teaching his kid about God because he knows how easy it is to turn God into a monster. And yet, he also wants his kid to know Jesus.

And now that I snuggle Ethan before his nap and whisper prayers over him with tears in my eyes, I can relate to my friend’s fears that much better.

It’s a mighty letting go to entrust your child to God, to believe that these prayers for love, peace, and relationship with Jesus will be answered one day. I know that I can’t keep my arms wrapped around him forever. At some point I’ll smother him.

So I whisper prayers in secret and quiet.

I pray that some day we’ll whisper our prayers together.

And perhaps we’ll be walking together some day and meet someone who needs prayer. I want him to learn that sensitivity to the Spirit that makes it possible to leap into action, to lay your hands on a friend or stranger in need and you don’t know what you’re going to say, but you know that Jesus needs to show up NOW, so you take a leap in faith and you open your mouth asking the Spirit to guide you.

He’s going to be pressured to join public prayer demonstrations, to hand out flyers in his school, or to take public stands about his faith. People will tell him that he needs to wear a shirt, attend an event, or share something on social media in order to PROVE that he isn’t ashamed of Jesus.

There’s a part of me that wants to tell him, “Avoid these people who pray in public to get noticed.” I want to tell him that these are the kinds of people  have turned their works into a way of impressing God, even if they mean well.

But I know that control like that can be just as damaging, even if I mean well.

The bottom line is that I need to teach freedom and give him authentic experiences that will help him spot the counterfeits. And whether or not he joins the prayer activists at their public meetings, he can step forward in freedom and peace without trying to impress God or anyone.

And today, I’m learning to let go of my fears.

I’m still praying over Ethan before his naps.

These are tiny, holy moments that weigh on me.

I’m learning to trust God, to pray that some day Ethan will find his own path to God’s life and freedom.

This is a path I’m trying to learn how to walk on my own as well so that some day he can choose it for himself.

The Unbelievable Holy Spirit

Bookmark and Share

dove holy spiritThere’s at least one sure way to have a crisis of faith: try to seek the Holy Spirit and come up empty. That’s how I lived for a while: asking God for the Holy Spirit and experiencing nothing.

The Holy Spirit presents the perfect storm for a Baptist like me. I learned about the Holy Spirit, but I only really knew how to “experience” the Bible. The more I studied the Bible, the more convinced I became that the Spirit could be manifested today.

Beyond what I learned, I started meeting Christians who had dramatic experiences of the Holy Spirit. Some healed others, some had prophetic words, some had experienced emotional healing, some had dreams and visions, and others spoke in tongues.

I knew these people. They were not deceptive. Something supernatural was happening, and it lined up with what I read in the Bible. That left me with a disturbing question:

Why am I not experiencing the Holy Spirit?

The Worst Charismatic Ever

I could figure that out biblically speaking: the Holy Spirit is essential for the Christian faith. It is quite another matter to figure out a place for the Spirit in our American evangelical churches who tend to emphasize strategic planning, Bible teaching, and a Spirit functioning in the background without necessarily being manifested in ways we can feel and observe.

The irony is that I was most resistant to the Holy Spirit when I was most concerned with following the Bible literally. You would think that I would have walked around putting my hands on sick people and praying for them to be healthy again.

Instead, I just prayed for wisdom or comfort or whatever.

Forget about healing the lame. My Christianity was lame. I wanted to follow Jesus, but I also didn’t know what to do about the Holy Spirit who figured so prominently in the New Testament. Where does someone begin with the Holy Spirit?

Why Won’t the Holy Spirit Come?

Good Baptist that I was, I determined to take the Bible “at its word.” I was going to ask God for the Holy Spirit. Over and over again people pray for the Holy Spirit and BOOM!

If the Bible was true, this had to work. Why would God let me doubt him?

At my best I was uninformed and inexperienced with the Holy Spirit. At my worst, I came dangerously close to completely losing my faith because I didn’t understand how the Holy Spirit works. I had this nagging suspicion over the years that acknowledging a bigger Holy Spirit suddenly made my faith a complicated mess.

I was completely right about something for once.

Once I let an authoritative Holy Spirit loose, I had so many questions and a pile of doubts and fears to sort through.

Every time I sat down to pray, I felt like my faith was being put to the test. God is supposed to show up if I have the Holy Spirit, so what does it mean if the Holy Spirit doesn’t show up?

I expected to feel something. I’d seen people pray and have dramatic encounters with the Spirit, weeping or laughing. I’d seen people pass out. I saw marks that God was doing something.

When I prayed and asked for the Holy Spirit to come, I felt nothing.

When people say, “I just take God as his word about the Holy Spirit?” I want to ask, “But what exactly is God promising us? Should we always expect healings and miracles? If not, why not?”

How to Receive a Gift You’ve Already Been Given

The hardest part about going from non-charismatic to charismatic in my belief and practice was sorting out the place of the Spirit in my every day Christian practices, whether that was reading the Bible, praying quietly, or praying for someone.

For a season, I dreaded sitting down to pray since I feared I would not experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and spend the rest of my day questioning my faith and the existence of God.

I have very little patience for anyone who makes this Holy Spirit stuff sound simple. Some of us have really struggled with this while having the best intentions. I wanted to take it seriously, but I also didn’t know how it all worked.

As is often the case in Christianity, blueprints and expectations led me astray.

For instance, my father-in-law prayed for me once and said that he sensed the Holy Spirit coming to fill me up. I didn’t doubt him, but I also didn’t feel anything happen. I didn’t even say a single word in a tongue.

What gives?

I read about Lauren Winner asking God to give her the gift of tongues, and she prayed, “Tongues, tongues, tongues…” I could relate to that prayer.

After stumbling around with the Holy Spirit for a few years, I’ve learned that the manifestations or anything I feel is far from the point. Really, really far from the point in fact.

Waiting on God

We have an instant culture with fast food, high speed internet, 4G phones, instant dinners, and super highways that let us move at top speeds. You can’t turn the Holy Spirit into an instant spiritual fix. You don’t take the Holy Spirit with a glass of water and enjoy your afternoon after filling up.

I had to wait and persevere. I had to let others pray for me. I had to open myself up to however God wanted to speak to me or through me.

Learning to sit and wait without expectation has helped me take some positive steps with the Holy Spirit. Rather than focusing on what I expected to happen or what God’s inaction meant about my faith, I finally hit a place where I just waited to see what God would do.

In other words, I don’t ask God for something big unless I feel peace about making that request. I don’t know how the mechanics of this work or if there are any rules. I just know that prayer isn’t this big grab bag that we can access any old time. Prayer is about getting on the same page with God, waiting for his prompting, and then moving in the direction he leads with enough faith to believe he can accomplish something in or through you if he gave you the prompting in the first place.

I get nauseous when people challenge me to do big things for God or to take big risks. Small or big risks are not about faith unless God gives you the vision. Christian obedience isn’t about making a great plan and following through. I had to listen and hear God before I could take a step forward.

If I just waited with hands open, believing that God could show up if he so pleased, I could receive either a word or silence.

For all of the times in the Bible that we see God show up, there are plenty more that pass by unnoticed where God doesn’t give any messages or do anything of note. This is how we ended up with Psalms of lament.

Once I started to open myself up to the Spirit’s voice without asking for something specific, I started to hear things.

Spiritual Warfare is Weird but Real

Any time I explain the Holy Spirit to someone who doesn’t have a grid for it, I have a hard time putting my finger on what exactly I hear or how I know I’ve heard the Spirit. More often than not, I get a sense that something is true and that I need to pray it or act on it.

Most of the time, there’s a result of some sort that confirms I’d heard correctly.

In praying for myself and others, the Holy Spirit sometimes gives me a specific thing to pray about. On one occasion I was praying about our marriage, and the Holy Spirit spoke right to my laziness.

That doesn’t happen all of the time, and honestly, I don’t make it happen. I just wait for it. Sometimes it comes after a lot of waiting and sometimes it comes before I’ve even started to pray and sometimes, many times, I don’t hear anything.

Perhaps the most startling thing I’ve heard is to pray about spiritual battles. In other words, I hear that I need to pray against a spirit of some sort in a person’s life. I’ll bet that may either alarm or bother some folks. Do we really have demons trying to make us sin?

The answer I’ve found is this: sometimes.

I’ve received the profound sense that I needed to pray for certain couples “right now.” It is awkward and a bit strange, but if I listen to that urge, God brings up something that I need to pray about.

I can’t explain this. I just know that sometimes there are evil forces in this world trying to undo relationships and health. Other times sin in a person’s life is more of a personal choice. We can’t blame everything on evil spirits, but they’re out there.

Can You Receive the Spirit?

If this strikes you as both appealing and frightening, you’re in good company. There are some times when I sit down to pray, and I struggle with “relaxing” in God’s presence. I want something to happen!

The Holy Spirit isn’t about proving something to ourselves, others, or God. You can’t make God do anything, but you can enter God’s presence with open hands.

The best advice I can give someone about the Holy Spirit is to seek out someone who can provide support and guidance. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to you, but it’s not easily received because we have so much junk in our lives that distracts us and makes it hard to connect with God.

Over the years I’ve learned what it feels like to have a quiet Spirit before God. That doesn’t mean I’m better at quieting my spirit necessarily. It just means I can spot a manic mind much easier and at least work on stilling myself before God.

The Spirit is a gift for me and for you. The Spirit helps us enjoy the peace and joy of God’s Kingdom today.

The Spirit will dramatically change our lives and put us in tune with God in new ways. The Spirit is even worth having a crisis of faith.

The Second Myth Christians Have about World Religions

Bookmark and Share

Today is part two in our series on Christian myths about world religions by my friend Derek Cooper:

In my recently published book, Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths, I discuss the six major non-Christian “stories” of the world. As I teach these different religions in classrooms and churches and discuss them with friends and neighbors, I have consistently uncovered several myths many Christians believe about each of these religions, including Christianity.

In the first post of this series, I wrote about the false notion that Christianity is the only religion with a Savior. We saw how Hinduism and Buddhism, among others, demonstrate this to be a myth.

In this post, I will discuss another myth many people believe about world religions: Hindus believe in many gods. According to many calculations I have seen, there are 330 million Hindu gods. This clearly gives the impression that Hinduism affirms many deities! Yet the truth is that Hindus are more monistic (believing that all existence comes from one God) than they are pantheistic (believing that there are many gods).

A few years ago, I distinctly remember having a conversation with a group of Hindu believers at a Hindu temple when I asked how many gods there are. Without blinking, they responded in unity: “We believe in one God!”

“Then how,” I rejoined, “are there so many different gods in Hinduism?”

Again in unity, they replied: “There is one supreme God that cannot be fully known or understood. The gods we talk about on earth and give devotion to are simply manifestations of that one supreme God.”

This gets to the core of a common misconception about Hinduism. Although there are countless “gods”—whether Shiva or Vishnu or Ganesha or Parvati or Hanuman—they are commonly understood by Hindus to be representations of (the) God, whom or which we cannot fathom. This is why one Hindu can worship Shiva, while another worships Kali or Ganesha. Although each person seems to be worshiping different gods, the person is really only worshiping the one God who is manifest through Shiva or Kali or whomever.

How do you decide which “god” to worship? It depends. Some people worship specific gods due to the town or village in which they live or due to their family or place within society.

More pragmatically, some worship a particular god because of that god’s association with something specific. I once had a conversation with a Hindu priest about this very topic. He said that perhaps the most popular deity in his temple was the goddess Lakshmi. I asked him why, and he was quick to reply: “Because most of the people in our temple would like more money, so it’s natural to worship her, who has cascades of gold coins rushing down from her hands!”

In the temple he presided over, he said, it is not that some people prefer Shiva or some people prefer Vishnu—two of the most common gods in the Hindu pantheon. Instead, people worship this or that manifestation of god based on present circumstance. Are you about to go on a business trip? Then ask Ganesha for guidance, the divine incarnation of venture and journey. Are you in need of money? Then ask Lakshmi!

Although Hinduism thinks very differently than Christianity in many ways, the two religions align in their common conviction that only one God exists who can be manifested in different ways. While for Christians this means that God reveals himself most fully through Jesus Christ, for Hindus God reveals himself in countless ways through divine incarnations and other living beings.

So, the next time you see a picture or statue of a Hindu god, it’s best to begin thinking of this or that as one representation of (the) God, commonly called Brahman, rather than a distinct entity that is separate from other Hindu gods. For, as we have discussed, the actual picture or statue is the equivalent of a drop of water coming from the one eternal ocean (God).

In the final post of this series, I will discuss one common myth about Islam.

About Today’s Guest Blogger

Derek Cooper PictureDr. Derek Cooper is assistant professor of biblical studies and historical theology at Biblical Seminary, where he also serves as the associate director of the Doctor of Ministry program. Derek’s most recent book, which was written for classroom use, church groups, and for lay readers, is titled Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths. His faculty page can be found here.

The First Myth Christians Have about World Religions

Bookmark and Share

My good friend Derek Cooper is a professor at Biblical Seminary and has just released a new book about Christianity and World Religions. I’ve had a chance to preview some of the chapters, and I was so impressed by all that I learned, I asked Derek to write a 3-part series covering three myths Christians have about world religions. Today is part one:

In my recently published book, Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths, I discuss the six major non-Christian stories of the world. As I teach these different religions in classrooms and churches and discuss them with friends and neighbors, I have consistently uncovered several myths Christians believe about each of these religions, including Christianity. In this and my next couple of blog posts, I will concentrate on three common myths about different world religions.

The first myth concerns Christianity. The myth goes something like this: Christianity is the only religion with a Savior. I consistently hear Christians say that Christianity is the only faith where God comes to humankind in contrast to every other religion of the world where humans are trying to go to God. Yet the truth is that many world religions, including religions that were dominant when Christianity emerged as well as contemporary religions such as Shia Islam, assume a Savior figure.

According to Hinduism, for instance, Vishnu, the God who preserves the world, regularly visits humankind to maintain order and peace. When the world is particularly in straits, Vishnu incarnates himself to save the righteous. In the fourth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most beloved of the Hindu religious scriptures, the God Vishnu, who has incarnated himself as Lord Krishna, speaks with a valiant human warrior named Arjuna:

Whenever spirituality decays and materialism is rampant…I (re-) incarnate Myself. I am reborn from age to age to save the righteous, destroy the wicked, and establish the kingdom of God. The one who realizes this divine truth concerning my incarnation and sacrifice is not born again [in this life], but when he leaves his body, he becomes one with Me.

As these verses state, the God Vishnu incarnated himself as Krishna in order to save righteous, punish the wicked, and establish God’s kingdom. This is an example of one of Vishnu’s avatars, a Hindu word that can be translated as “incarnation,” “manifestation,” or “revelation.” There is no precise agreement on how many avatars Vishnu has had, but according to one long tradition, Vishnu’s incarnation as Krishna was his eighth of ten incarnations.

Another example of a God incarnating himself and saving humankind appears in Buddhism. In Mahayana Buddhism, the largest of the two major Buddhist denominations, practitioners revere a Savior figure called the Bodhisattva (“enlightened being”). Bodhisattvas are Buddhas in the making, who have made a vow to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of all others. In one Buddhist religious writing called the Shurangama Sutra the Buddha encourages all holy men to deny nirvana in order to save all other beings: “I [Buddha] urge all saints and holy men to choose to be reborn in order to deliver all living beings.”

As this brief passage illustrates, these Bodhisattvas—whether Siddhartha Gautama or the Dalai Lama—travel to earth in order to save people from the constant cycle of death and rebirth called samsara. These Bodhisattvas have made a vow that their life mission is not complete until all living beings have been liberated.

As Christians, we need not fear the similarities between the Christian faith and other religions. As one ancient Christian expression goes, “All truth is God’s truth.” The notion that God saves people is apparently a common belief throughout the world, which does negate or call into question the Christian belief that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Rather than fearing this commonality, we should allow it to be a bridge from which we more naturally share our faith in Jesus with Hindus or Buddhists, for instance, who already believe—perhaps because God intended it—in a Savior figure. After all, when God became a man, he not only did so at a particular time and in a particular place, but he did so in a way that was understandable to the many cultures and religions at the time.

In the next blog post, I will discuss one common myth about Hinduism. You will not want to miss it!

About Today’s Guest Blogger

Derek Cooper PictureDr. Derek Cooper is assistant professor of biblical studies and historical theology at Biblical Seminary, where he also serves as the associate director of the Doctor of Ministry program. Derek’s most recent book, which was written for classroom use, church groups, and for lay readers, is titled Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths. His faculty page can be found here.

[Derek conveniently left out the fact that he co-authored a book with me titled Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus, but I guess he’s too ashamed to admit that now! Ha!]

We’re Booked! 3 Picks by Leigh Kramer

Bookmark and Share

Today’s book picks are by Leigh Kramer.

One of the things I love most in this world is being asked for book recommendations. I am a well established book nerd. I could talk for hours about books and reading habits and even the publishing industry.

Imagine my joy, then, when Ed asked me to recommend Christian nonfiction. Imagine my conundrum when he limited me to only three. Three books?! After much hemming and hawing, gazing reflectively upon my bookshelves, flipping through a stack of contenders, I have indeed narrowed it down to three. Ish.

The following books spoke to me in a way I particularly needed when I read them. There have been many others but these are my go-to’s.

A Sacred Thirst (M. Craig Barnes)

My friend Mike told me about this book on a cold winter day in 2005. We were tucked in the corner of a friend’s house and he’d asked about my unending job search after graduating with my MSW seven months prior. I was not handling this well, to put it kindly. Not only did Mike tell me I needed to read this book, he dropped it off a few days later.

A Sacred Thirst aptly depicted my dark night of the soul and showed me I was not alone. I was surprised by how much it resonated, even more so by how it offered healing. Over the years, I’ve turned to a passage in chapter 14 more times than I can remember. It’s become a well-worn friend, speaking of hope while waiting, joy in sorrow. This is the book I buy for friends going through times of transition, who feel burned out, or who simply need to meet God again.

Surprised by Oxford (Carolyn Weber)

I expected to like Weber’s memoir of her first academic year at Oxford and subsequent conversion to Christianity. What I did not expect is how she would come to feel like a kindred spirit. The book is part love letter to Oxford, part book nerd’s dream with its literary references, and part road to faith. Then woven around and between it all is her friendship (with promise?) with a certain fellow.

She asks excellent questions about God and faith. One need not divorce faith from intellect, a truth very evident in these pages. Weber’s words were poetry for my soul and I was quite sad to finish it. I read this last winter; I’m not sure why but this lovely memoir is especially suited to chilly months.

Bittersweet (Shauna Niequist)

With her richly written essays, Niequist has become a favorite author of mine. I give away copies of her books to just about everyone I know. She has a way of writing about her experience while tapping into deeper, often universal emotions. Bittersweet, the practice of recognizing we need both the bitter and the sweet, relates to those of us who have grieved for any number of reasons. 

Niequest reminds us while we wouldn’t want to repeat difficult circumstances, we can see how God uses them, if we let Him. I won’t say anything more because I have such an intimate reaction to her books. But I will say this: I cannot wait for her forthcoming work Bread & Wine.

Bonus: Traveling Mercies (Anne Lamott)

Some might say Lamott isn’t a real Christian or that her memoir isn’t Christian nonfiction. I disagree. Lamott’s “outside the box” faith was a revelation to me the first time I read Traveling Mercies. Her unorthodox life leads to a so-called unorthodox faith and yet I learned so much from her prayers and insights. We couldn’t be more different and yet she had some of the same questions and doubts I did. This is one for the seekers, the question-askers, and the believers.

(Affiliate links included in this post.)

Visit Leigh’s blog.