Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Welcome to Flunking Sainthood

sm welcome to blog.jpgWelcome! If you’re here, I’m assuming it’s because you enjoy discovering the lighter side in the world of religion, or because you’re interested in reviews of new books and TV shows, or because my mother told you to come and you are slightly afraid of her. Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re here.

The title for this blog came from a book I’m writing called Flunking Sainthood. It’s a memoir of the twelve months I spent in 2009 failing at every single spiritual practice I tried. What can I say? Failure is a ministry. I’m still writing the book, which was due to the publisher two weeks ago (failure again!). Although the manuscript is late, I’m having a great time with the project, and the best part has been meeting other people who try to be faithful but just keep screwing up in one way or another.


This blog is for you, my tribe of failing fellow saints. It explores the intersections of religion and culture in a broad and merciful way, trying always to find the humor. Reinhold Niebuhr said that “humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” So there. A real, bona fide theologian agrees with me, even though he’s dead now.

Here’s a rough schedule of what to expect on a day-to-day basis.

I’m not married to this schedule, and will abandon it many times in favor of an interesting news story or blog discussion, and because I get bored easily with routine. (Squirrel!) Hey, I already told you I’m a failed saint. I get a hall pass, and so do you.


In general, though, this is how Flunking Sainthood‘s week will go:

  • Sunday: Nada; day of rest
  • Monday: Mormon Life column
  • Tuesday: Blog roundups of other people’s musings, and the occasional fun quiz
  • Wednesday: Author interviews
  • Thursday: Book reviews of hot new titles, religious or not
  • Friday: This week in the Twible
  • Saturday: Guest bloggers, satire, television reviews, and random stuff

In the next few weeks, we’ll have interviews with novelist Donna Freitas and “new monastic” Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, reviews of new books by the Dalai Lama, Stephenie Meyer, and TLC’s Kate Gosselin, and weekly roundups of the Twible, a project where I tweet out a chapter of the Bible each day “in 140 characters or less . . . now with more humor!”

Good times ahead. Thanks for being part of it.

  • SteveP

    Yea! Funtimes ahead. Count me as a reader!

  • Ellen

    Sounds like just the thing. Can’t wait to read your posts!

  • Kelly

    Mercy AND humor? And a hall pass? I’m in.
    I love that picture of you and Onyx! I hope he’s one of your guest bloggers.

  • Kevin

    Kate Gosselin? How about Tori Spelling, too? :-p (btw, the Captcha on this page is asking me to type “his dialysis”. weird.)

  • Jana Riess

    Thanks, everyone. Onyx would love to be a guest blogger. The trick is to catch him during the 3.5 hours per 24-hour period when he is actually awake.

  • carol showalter

    You go girl!! I’ll be reading whatever you write and I know I will learn a lot in a short amount of time! You have a way of making deep insights fun to read……..and that’s a gift.

  • Marcia Z

    Hey, I’m here because I’m afraid of your dog. Woof.

  • http://Http:// Marsha

    Now, a blog I can definitely commune with. As a fellow flunkee. . . I welcome the honesty, the upbeat hope and the gentle nudges from womanhood. Keep smilin’!

  • Annapurna Moffatt

    Twible? Say no more (and I’m not even on Twitter)!

  • Dharmashaiva

    Is there an “Emergent Mormonism”?

  • Daniel Ortner

    Count me in as a reader. I have enjoyed your posts on T&S quite a bit. I am a recent convert to the church and was actually greatly influenced in my initial search by your Mormonism for Dummies. I felt the spirit strongly from that Book even though I was a pretty ardent atheist at the time when I read it. Thank you for your wonderful writing

  • Jana Riess

    Everyone, thank you for these warm and generous comments. Daniel, especially: wow! I believe you just made my day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Amy

    Just heard your interview on CBC radio and wanted to THANK YOU for representing well. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Well done.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Elizabeth

    I also just heard the CBC interview and I so like how you think! Look forward to reading your encouragement.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Karen

    Can’t wait to read your book! I’m there with you on struggling to keep the faith. Glad to find your blog.

    • Jana Riess

      Karen, I’m honored. God bless you.

Previous Posts

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posted 3:12:01pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »

Thank You, Flunking Sainthood Readers!
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posted 12:41:10pm Jan. 25, 2012 | read full post »

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posted 11:09:19am Jan. 23, 2012 | read full post »

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posted 8:47:20pm Jan. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun with the Book of Lamentations
Actually, no. That title was just a ...

posted 11:33:13am Jan. 13, 2012 | read full post »


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