Flunking Sainthood: A Daily Devotional for the rest of us by Jana Riess
The same author of Flunking Sainthood, who tried 12 spiritual practices but failed at all them, comes to us with a similar and yet different book here. This new book, Flunking Sainthood: a daily devotional for the rest of us is Jana Riess’ quirky wisdom in the midst of Scripture and another author’s wisdom. What really makes this devotional a treat is Jana’s careful selections from the pen of other authors and her very practical action points at the end of each day. Although you will find yourself disagreeing and agreeing with some of the selections in the book, this book will push you toward a more satisfying relationship with God and with others.
Jana points to the contentment we seek in having our house in order, free of cobwebs all the time. After quoting from Elizabeth Andrew, Jana writes, “Is it possible for you to find God in the process in creating a welcoming place to live, rather than in some ideal finished product (Yes I read those home decorating magazines too. Darn you, Pinterest!) (70) We strive to have our ducks in a row and our pantries lined perfectly, but we miss the point sometimes that it’s the people who make the home and not the order. Yet, I will admit that to get the house in order helps us all with our anxious feelings.
In looking at the Sabbath, Jana quotes from Andy Crouch who writes, “Busy, restless, Sabbath-less people are idolaters…Without remembering the sabbath, we cease to remember the Creator God who made the world and called it good; we cease to remember the one who brought us out of Egypt; we cease to remember the Eighth Day when God defeated Death” (155-156, from Playing God). Not attempting to fill the time means breaking from media, from even spiritual practices if these cause us unrest, because the Sabbath is designed to refuel our batteries, to focus our hearts on God’s good gifts and creation.
Overall, I think this devotional is wonderful in that it challenges us to see the world God made differently, not about rules or hoops to jump through, but infused with God’s grace. Secondly, this book was unique in that it came with selections from a broad range of authors from church fathers, modern evangelicals, progressive thinkers, priests, and Quakers, etc. Everyone will find some wisdom here but also a refreshing voice.
Thanks to Paraclete Press for the copy of Jana’s devotional in exchange for an honest review.