OK, I admit it. I have a Google Alert on the title Flunking Sainthood, so that the search engine lets me know when there are new reviews or discussions about the book. In the last few weeks it has been exciting — and humbling — to see the many different kinds of people who are reading and talking about the memoir and about spiritual practice. What’s astonishing to me is that the book is finding its ways into churches and book groups I’ve never even heard of:
* In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Baptist church is spending an entire year on the book, undertaking different spiritual practices each month according to the book’s schedule.
* In Princeton, Indiana, a Methodist congregation is using the book for a short-term study group on spiritual practice.
* The bishop of an Anglican diocese in England recommended the book to his flock a few weeks ago, and last weekend an Episcopal priest in Oregon preached a sermon that talked about it.
* And then there are liberal Mormon women–my peeps!–who are thinking about what the book says about prayer.
Yeah, I’m aware that there’s an element of massive hubris to these Google alerts. In fact, I am giving them up for Lent, as well as reading book reviews, checking sales figures, etc. But until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, I am going to enjoy all these updates! And I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the readers who are recommending FS to others and getting copies for their friends.
From the feedback I receive I can tell that it’s not the book itself that is winning people over — not the writing per se, or even the humor. It’s the honesty. And that’s something I never could have predicted when I was writing the darn thing.