Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Happy New Year! Over the years I’ve stopped making ambitious resolutions at this time of the year, since I manage to break most of them by the second week of January … but I am resolving to up my presence at this intersection despite the limitations of this way-too-wacky year of single (substitute “desperate and hanging by a thread” here) parenting while my husband finishes up a nine-month, NEH research fellowship in DC. I’ve dubbed it “The Year of the Crockpot and the Hairy Armpits.”

The fact that these days I rarely have time to shave my armpits is also not a good enough excuse for being a recluse of late — now that my second book, The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addiction, by Jonathan Benz with Kristina Robb-Dover (InterVarsity Press) is hot off the press and available on Amazon. (Right now IVP is offering a 20%-off sale at their site.)

A really cool tidbit that I never knew until now: if your book generates at least 20 positive reviews on Amazon, Amazon starts to market your book for you at no charge. Since my full-time PR agent is currently occupied with JK Rawlings’ latest bestseller, I figured I’d try this strategy out. (Kidding, about the PR agent.)

But there’s another reason why I’m back at this intersection between God and life. It’s because I’ve genuinely missed you and because I’m really excited about the next two blog series we’ll be undertaking, themed around recovery:

  • “The 12 Steps for Restless Souls” — If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ve probably noticed I’m writing for “restless souls” who “still haven’t found what they’re looking for,” to quote Bono, and they’re both in the church and out. As I described in first introducing this blog, they’re those of us “for whom an experience of ‘church’ has left us wanting and searching for more.  More depth.  More honesty.  More trust and authenticity.  More grappling with real questions.  Without the judgment.  More room for the grays.” How does 12-step recovery speak to our spiritual restlessness? What might the lessons from a world that, for many of us, may at first seem restricted to a mysteriously anonymous niche of chain-smoking addicts with a gift for jittery, confessional gab about their darkest secrets and a love for bottomless black coffee in styrofoam cups, teach us in our quest for “the More”? Or can it teach us anything?
  • “The Recovery-Minded Church” — The series that follows takes its name from the book (fancy that) and will feature churches around the country that in various ways are seeking to become more “recovery-minded.” What does it mean to be “recovery-minded”? That’s a question we’ll unpack more with some practical examples from churches that are on the front lines of this transformation.