Blessed at the Broken Places: Reclaiming Faith and Purpose with the Beatitudes

When you hurt, what does it mean for your faith? Too often church culture and religious individuals suggest that emotional pain shows lack of faith or sin against a punitive God. How ironic―Jesus suffered loneliness, misunderstanding, persecution and death to meet us at the lowest places and lift us to hope and life with his resurrection. Reframing apparent defeat as the first step in a life of purpose, this book shows how Jesus’s blessings, the Beatitudes, address the paradox of living through suffering on the way to joy. When you feel depressed and anxious or unworthy or ashamed, this book helps you recognize and accept God’s love as Jesus meets you in your suffering. It will help you hear Jesus’s affirmation that you make a difference even when you feel unworthy of discipleship. This vital resource features engaging spiritual and devotional practices and group discussion questions ideal for use by individuals on their own, in counseling or in groups. Christians and seekers in emotional pain as well as counselors, clergy, spiritual directors, Stephen ministers and family members will gain needed insight and guidance for the spiritual journey through suffering. Readers will discover how Jesus’s blessings convert emotional suffering from a source of shame to a resource for faith.

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I anticipate that this is a book many readers will want to share with their friends in distress, and their friends will be grateful.

—Walter Brueggemann, 1986-2003 William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Poetically written, woven with personal narratives, sound biblical exegesis, and theological insight, Jenkins invites readers to bravely plumb the depths of their own pain in anticipation that Jesus will meet them where they are but not leave them as he finds them.

—Rev. Jill Duffield, former Editor, Presbyterian Outlook

A Wakeful Faith: Spiritual Practice in the Real World

In the harried, expect-the-unexpected flow of everyday life, faith seems far away for many people. Something in the car dies. The bills are due. The kids need school supplies. The business report remains unwritten. In A Wakeful Faith, Jenkins asserts that living awake to God in all of our daily affairs is the answer. Only when we become consciously aware of God’s gracious activity in the details of the day can we transform and find purpose in our lives today.

“Each day brings a flood of demands for our time and attention,” writes Jenkins. “Deep down, many of us feel the pace is killing us, but we do not admit it very often. After all, everyone else seems to get along okay. Something is killing us, but it is not the pace. It is the inattention to our deepest desire, the desire for God.”

Filled with humor and grounded in scripture, A Wakeful Faith calls us to a refreshed sense of God’s presence, which can lead to spiritual well-being in all dimensions of life. Jenkins offers practical suggestions to rouse our spiritual wakefulness and alertness to God in daily living by showing how Jesus trained disciples to perceive the kingdom and to know God. Appropriate for individuals and small groups, A Wakeful Faith contains questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter.

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The Ancient Laugh of God: Divine Encounters in Unlikely Places

J. Marshall Jenkins believes that irony under girds the ordinary. Through the ironies of God’s presence and absence, and human life and death, he feels the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Through the eyes of faith, one can catch glimpses of Christ.

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“In the tradition of Frederick Buechner, Jenkins delightfully and movingly reawakens the reader to the ironies and mysteries of our faith. We need wonderful and wonder-full books like The Ancient Laugh of God to remind us of God’s awesome, bemused, and gracious way with us.”

—Chris Glaser, lecturer and writer

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