Book reviews are something I have thought about doing for awhile now but never got around to doing. Until today. It took the beautiful work of my dear friend, Christiana, that spoke to my own weary heart to compel me to write my very first one.
So here it goes.
Insightful and achingly human
Insightful and achingly human with humor and grace throughout. These are the words I chose to begin my review on Amazon of the amazing book, Mystics and Misfits – Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints, by Christiana N. Peterson.
Honest and vulnerable, this wonderful book is filled with part autobiography, part spiritual journey as Christiana remembers her time living in an intentional community called Plow Creek in Tiskilwa, Illinois. The correspondence she sends to the mystics she admires throughout the book are delightful! She holds back nothing of herself as she shares her struggles with faith, ideals, motherhood, and life. I was drawn into her story and read the entire book within the first twenty-four hours of having it in my hands!
Bridges my Catholic roots with my Mennonite faith
Christiana is unafraid to cross denominational lines and beautifully intertwines current Mennonite faith and values with the wonderful mystics of old from the Catholic church, as well as some modern-day ones. The examples they leave us as their legacies are definitely worth taking a look at to serve us as guides in right living and navigating our consumeristic, me first culture.
She crosses the divide, while staying true to anabaptist beliefs, and has given back to me the stories of saints from my childhood to inspire me and making them relevant to Mennonites everywhere of lives lived well for the glory of God. I am convinced that had St. Francis lived during the reformation period, he would have had some important influence to wield. He is extremely radical for his day, embracing poverty, promoting creation care and nonviolence, and loving people the way Jesus did.
Validates my own feelings of loneliness and awkwardness
Finally, Christiana is able to put a voice to the struggles so many of us have experienced or are currently experiencing but haven’t been able to voice. Instead we struggle on in silence and wonder if anyone else has ever struggled the way we are or felt the pain and loneliness that we are feeling.
As I turned the pages of this fantastically well written books I found myself often nodding my head in understanding and exclaiming “me too!” to myself as I found a kindred spirit with Christiana, having experienced/still experiencing the same feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety that she is sharing with us. I came out of this book feeling a little less alone, if not still my awkward little self! I am very glad to be counted among the misfits!
Throughout this journey, Christiana’s deep faith and love for God and her fellow man comes shining through. She encourages all of us to lean into those dark places of our lives to come out with a stronger faith and deeper connection and devotion to God.
This is a must-read book for anyone trying to navigate their way through life and live according to the law of love taught by Jesus! Pick up your copy here and also check out Christiana’s author page to take in her other writings.
From one misfit to another, I hope you connect with and enjoy this awesome debut book as much as I did and come away feeling a little less alone, and a little more secure in the knowledge that God loves you always. No matter what.