Book Review – Mystics & Misfits

With untested ideals and a thirst for adventure, Christiana Peterson and her family moved to an intentional Christian farming community in the rural Midwest. It sounded like a simple and faithful way to follow Jesus, not to mention a great place to raise kids. In Mystics and Misfits, Peterson discovers that community life is never really simple and that she needs resources beyond her own to weather the anxiety and exhaustion of trying to save a dying farm and a floundering congregation. She turns to Christian mystics like Francis of Assisi, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day to find sustenance for the everyday struggles and unique hardships of community life. With a contemplative’s spirit and poet’s eye, Peterson leads readers into an encounter with the God of the wild mystics and the weird misfits.

Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints
Christiana Peterson
Herald Press (VA)
Publication date: April 17th 2018

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I must start off with an apology because there are no words to clearly share how incredibly special this book was to me and how fantastically written it is. I needed this book. Thank you, Christiana Peterson, for writing Mystics and Misfits.

***

When I first read the synopsis for Mystics and Misfits, I was immediately intrigued. But beyond back cover overviews and enticing cover art, this book seemed to come to me at a time when I really needed it. I’ve been looking for that “more” and “deeper” in my spiritual life. I know that I am not alone.

Mystics and Misfits is a beautifully and honestly written memoir of Christiana Peterson’s experiences in an intentional Mennonite community. She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend – reaching beyond typical relationships of community and looking towards the closeness and understanding of the misfits (saints). Incredibly, Christiana’s conversations with the saints are both encouraging and inspiring. Perhaps, these conversations are even a bit of a “like goal” for myself.

Maybe many of us want to reach out to the saints – to find understanding, peace, kinship. Shouldn’t we try? After reading Mystics and Misfits, more than ever, I’m inclined to try.

Pages of stories of her own personal life (struggles and triumphs), anecdotes of the lives of saints, her own personal journey of spiritual discovery, and so many letters to her misfit friends (the saints) – this book is unlike anything I have ever read. It is heartfelt, it is thoughtful and it is so moving.

Mystics and Misfits is wildly special and belongs in my top five all-time favorite books.

I gave Mystics and Misfits 5/5 stars!

Thank you Netgalley and Herald Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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