The phrase "I'm spiritual but not religious" has become a cliché. It's easy to find God amid the convenience of self-styled spirituality--but is it possible (and more worthwhile) to search for God through religion?
Minister and celebrated author Lillian Daniel gives a new spin on church with stories of what a life of faith can really be: weird, wondrous, and well worth trying. From a rock-and-roller sexton to a BB gun-toting grandma, a church service attended by animals to a group of unlikely theologians at Sing Sing, Daniel shows us a portrait of church that is flawed, fallible--and deeply faithful. With poignant reflections and sly wit, Daniel invites all of us to step out of ourselves, dare to become a community, and encounter a God greater than we could ever invent.
Humorous and sincere, this is a book about people finding God in the most unexpected of places: prisons, airports, yoga classes, committee meetings, and, strangest of all, right there in church.
Lillian Daniel has served as the Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, United Church of Christ, in the Chicago area since 2004. An editor at large for Christian Century Magazine, and a contributing editor at Leadership Journal, her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, Books and Culture, and in The Journal for Preachers. She has also hosted the Chicago-based television show 30 Good Minutes. Her Huffington Post article "Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me" gained widespread interfaith attention after going viral on the Web. Daniel has taught preaching at Yale Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School. In October 2010 she received the distinguished alumni award from Yale Divinity School for "Distinction in Congregational Ministry." She is the author of two previous books: Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony, and This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers, and she contributed to Gifts My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gifts that Mattered Most.
"In short, zingy anecdotes, Daniel strikes out at what she sees at the spiritual laziness of those who opt for "personal faith" outside of a church community. Controversial but powerfully argued."Booklist, starred review
"Marvelously gritty wit...an impassioned and winning case for why church, community, and formal religious traditions are so integral to creating a fulfilling life....her ideas are thought provoking and infectious."Booklist, Starred Review
"Intelligent, inviting and nurturing, these essays...offer a rich banquet for pastors, lifelong congregants, disaffected Christians, and confused seekers alike."Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"This is the wonderful, essential Lillian Daniel at her best-earthy, perceptive, devout, tough-minded, angry and laugh-out-loud funny, all in one. Daniel's easygoing style is just right for revealing her great gift of finding God in the everyday. Sometimes she is biting. Sometimes she is tender and often what she says is stunningly beautiful."Bob Abernethy, Executive Editor, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS
"Here is why I love Lillian Daniel's writing: it is honest; it is funny; and it teaches me about Mary and Martha via a yoga class. The church she describes is the place that has sustained my spiritual life when my own interior sense of God's presence has faltered; and it is the place that, as often as not, is where I am sitting when my sense of God's presence reignites."Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
"You read some things because you have to or need to or ought to. You'll read Lillian Daniel for the pure pleasure of pitch-perfect writing-she has the rare talent of a "natural." Along the way, you'll discover enrichment and insight that you needed and wanted ... Lillian cooks up a delicious and nourishing feast for readers. Don't miss it!"Brian McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (brianmclaren.net)
"Lillian is as fed up with bad religion as anyone else, but she's also careful to celebrate good religion and good spirituality that brings people to life and makes the world a better place. May her book invite us to stop complaining about the Church we've experienced and work on becoming the Church we dream of."Shane Claiborne, author and activist, facebook.com/ShaneClaiborne