Flunking Sainthood

I have a confession to make: even though I knew I had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to catch a flight, I stayed up well into the night for the nail-biting final results of the Iowa caucuses. I wanted to see if Mitt would pull it off. “I don’t actually care about this,”…

Happy New Year, friends. This year on my blog (which, BTW, is moving locations! More on that soon), I’ll be talking at least once a week about spiritual practices and how/whether to implement them. Why do we pray, give to charity, or practice hospitality? What is supposed to happen in our lives? And what if…

I just found out that my autumn Christian Century story on “The Mormon Moment” was the magazine’s second-most popular article of 2011. But this isn’t because the article was particularly well-written or insightful; it wasn’t. I tried to do too much in too little space, a common problem with the disappearance of long-form journalism. No,…

Twenty years ago today, I stood at the altar and married my best friend. It was a beautiful candlelight evening wedding that we put together on a shoestring budget of $2,000. (Two thousand dollars for the entire wedding and cake-and-punch reception: Even in 1991, that was some serious frugality.) We held the wedding in a…

A friend of mine recently pointed out that tomorrow is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Don’t know what that is? Neither did I. In a nutshell, it marks that icky, violent part of the nativity story that every Christmas pageant blithely ignores: Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding…

I was 23 and in divinity school when I converted to Mormonism. You can imagine that it was an unexpected choice for someone studying to become a pastor. I was perhaps the most surprised of all; God does crazy stuff to folks sometimes. I told very few people about it while I was in school,…

No grand cohesive post today, just a couple of musings on what it means to be a saint. What I’ve found through researching (read: screwing up) and writing Flunking Sainthood is that many people (read: my friends and I) have an odd and ultimately damaging idea of what Sainthood is. We like to think of…

I love this post from Ellen Painter Dollar over at the Introverted Church blog. She hits upon something fundamental about the irony of December: the Advent season encourages us to slow down and embrace silent reflection even as the wider culture eggs us to speed up and get ready for Christmas. This is particularly true…

Do you have a 4th-7th grader who enjoys fantasy fiction? For fun this month I listened to The Flint Heart, a middle-grade fantasy novel by Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia) and her husband John. They “freely adapted” this from an out-of-print 1910 novel by Eden Philpotts (who, as it turns out, was a guy —…

In Week 3 of Advent, our Wednesday devotion from Bonhoeffer brings ever closer the question of redemption: what does it mean for us? Clearly, we’re looking for “something different from the anxious, petty, depressed, feeble Christian spirit that we see again and again” each December . . . but what does that look like? –JKR…

Jana Riess
about

Jana Riess

Jana Riess is the author of Flunking Sainthood, a 2011 book about failing at twelve different spiritual practices. She is also currently working on The Twible, a three-year Twitter project with humorous daily Bible updates for your amusement (find her on Twitter as @janariess). She has a few silly degrees from swanky schools but was never once able to climb the rope in gym class. Her spiritual director is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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