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Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace Hardcover – August 25, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Edition edition (August 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031027947X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310279471
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ranging from Chicago to Kenya, New Orleans to Ireland, Big Sky to Graceland, Falsani dons her investigative cap and scouts for grace. This religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times is a charming guide to places and people who reveal "grace when and where it happens." Eschewing technical theological definitions, Falsani opts instead to tell how she has experienced grace. And we are vicarious travelers, seeing grace—"audacious, unwarranted, and unlimited"—through Falsani’s eyes. She marvels at the devotion of young people who crowd to the pope’s funeral and at the astoundingly independent women of Asembo Bay in Kenya. She wrestles with anger at a misogynist Tanzanian tour guide and anger at God when her mother and beloved cat face cancer. We traipse along with the author and eavesdrop on her conversations, both external and internal. The result is a pastiche of images meant collectively to reveal God’s grace. Though some may find the premise contrived, only a fierce cynic could fail to be drawn in to Falsani’s tales and candid reflections.

Review

'Ranging from Chicago to Kenya, New Orleans to Maine, Big Sky to Graceland, [Cathleen] Falsani dons her investigative cap and scouts for grace. This religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times is a charming guide to places and people who reveal 'grace when and where it happens.' Eschewing technical theological definitions, Falsani opts instead to tell how she has experienced grace. And we are vicarious travelers, seeing grace -- 'audacious, unwarranted, and unlimited' -- through Falsani's eyes. She marvels at the devotion of young people who crowd to the pope's funeral and at the astoundingly independent women of Asembo Bay in Kenya. She wrestles with anger at a misogynist Tanzanian tour guide and anger at God when her mother and beloved cat face cancer. We traipse along with the author and eavesdrop on her conversations, both external and internal. The result is a pastiche of images meant collectively to reveal God's grace. Though some may find the premise contrived, only a fierce cynic could fail to be drawn into Falsani's tales and candid reflections.' (Publishers Weekly)

More About the Author

Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of the critically acclaimed The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber, and the forthcoming Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels (co-edited with Jennifer Grant).

A Connecticut native and granddaughter of Italian and Irish immigrants, Cathleen is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Cathleen holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University as well as a master's degree in theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She also was a 2009 Divinity School Media Fellow at Duke University, a Gralla Fellow in Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, and was the 1996 Stoody-West Fellow in Religious Journalism.

Cathleen was the religion writer and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times from 2000 to January 2010, and has been a longtime contributor and columnist for Religion News Service, Sojourners, and the Huffington Post. From August 2011 to December 2012, Cathleen was the Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners, where she ran its popular God's Politics blog. She also was a contributing editor and columnist for Sojourners magazine.

Most recently, Cathleen was the Faith & Values columnist for the Orange County Register (from February 2013 to January 2014, when her position was eliminated) where she covered the election and first year of Pope Francis' pontificate (traveling to Rome for his election), the post-AIDS-emergency rebirth in Zambia and Malawi, music, film, comedy, and faith (among many other things.)

For more than 15 years, as a reporter and columnist from 2000-2010 at the Chicago Sun-Times, and as a reporter, commentator, essayist and columnist for a number of other publications as well, Cathleen has covered her diverse "God beat" from locations as far afield as Vatican City, Vedic City, Ireland, Germany, the Caribbean, the West Wing, the Playboy Mansion and the dugout at Wrigley Field. She was honored as the 2005 James O. Supple Religion Writer of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association, and has twice been a finalist for the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award.

Cathleen began writing her popular weekly column on spirituality and popular culture for the Sun-Times in 2001, She wrote a regular column for Religion News Service for several years, ending in September 2011 when she took on a full-time role at, Sojourners Magazine. Cathleen has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post since 2006.

Her work has appeared in The Atlantic,Rolling Stone, Christianity Today and Christian Century magazines, as well as the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, Kansas City Star, Madison Capital Times, The Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, CNN.com and other publications in North America and Europe. She has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Oprah Winfrey's "Soul Series," National Public Radio's "The Story" and "Weekend Edition," BBC World Service, FoxNewsChannel, Moody Radio, WGN-Radio, NPR's "Day to Day," The Tavis Smiley Show (on PBS), and a host of other radio and television venues.

Chicago Magazine media critic Steve Rhodes has said Cathleen writes one of the city's "most compelling columns . . . despite her focus on a subject that often is handled with a deadly dullness." Of her column, Cathleen says she likes to try to "find God in the places some people say God isn't supposed to be," and that she defines both spirituality and popular culture quite broadly.

Cathleen is a sought-after public speaker having presented lectures and talks at colleges, universities, civic organizations, houses of worship and large faith-based conferences nationwide, including the Wild Goose Festival, the National Pastors Convention, the Catalyst Conference, the Los Angeles Book Festival, the Festival of Faith and Music, and the Festival of Faith and Writing, St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago, WomenChurch, Point Loma Nazarene University's Symposium by the Sea, Dominican University in Chicago, California State University in Sacramento, and a number of other universities, conferences, festivals, and houses of worship throughout the country.

She is also a writing coach, offering workshops for writers and creatives through IncubateSpirit.com. Cathleen is honored to serve as a member of the advisory board for ONE Moms, part of ONE Campaign, the global advocacy organization focused on extreme poverty and disease in Africa co-founded by Bono of U2.

Cathleen has been married to the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Maurice Possley, since 1997. After 20 years in Chicago, in the summer of 2009, Cathleen moved with Maury and their son Vasco to Laguna Beach, California. Vasco, who was born in Malawi in Central Africa, became a permanent part of the Possley family on June 1, 2010 when his adoption was approved by the High Court of Malawi in Blantyre.

Customer Reviews

This book moved me to the core of my soul.
Oregonmermaid
It's exquisite as a piece of art and provoking as a piece of literature.
Christopher Heuertz
I just finished a book that I found simply stunning.
Brent

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Leah Chang VINE VOICE on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If along with most people you've ever wondered what God possibly could do to transform your pitiful attitudes and pathetic lack of alignment with the demands of the commands, this collection of stories from Chicago Sun-Times religion columnist Cathleen Falsani's recent peregrinations will give you hope and keep you keepin' on, since God lovingly reigns with showers of mercy-filled grace, no matter who, no matter what, no matter when.

On page 57 Cathleen cites a couple of "grace" examples that especially resonate with me: "Sometimes it's having the guts to rebuild, to take a chance, to follow your nose and your heart rather than your head." "Sometimes grace is finding out that your preconceived notions are dead wrong." "And sometimes it's a bowl of watermelon gazpacho when you were expecting Taco Bell."

Discussing the possibility of following precise recipes for spiritual and religious experience and renewal (there aren't any), Cathleen described herself as "rhubarb pie with pistachio ice cream," making me wonder how to describe myself in food, and maybe how I'd describe some of the people I've met.

Cathleen's book chronicles God's "audacious" grace, as she sometimes styles it; and in its free, elusive, characteristically unanticipated and unexpectedness, Grace is audacious, bold and wild. But just as much, grace often is physically tastable, audible, visible, aromatic and touchable: incarnate and enfleshed; in that case, where can grace lead us? What is our response in the Spirit to the Divine Image in which we've been created?

I predict you'll enjoy this book, you'll recommend it and you'll probably want to read it again!
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Keith W. Jones on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't crazy about this book. I was excited to read it, thinking all the wonderful things I would learn about grace. As a minister, I've heard a lot about grace, and agree strongly that it is everywhere, in everything. God covers us with grace, thanks be to God.

But I felt like that almost made this book too easy. Reading it felt like reading a loose collection of stories rather than a well put together book. I don't read many collections because I like books to have continuity. I didn't find that in this book. Each chapter was a new beginning.

It feels weird saying something bad about a book concerning grace, but I just felt like this book told a bunch of stories and then labeled the grace within them afterward. Maybe it's something we need to be doing in all of our lives, identifying the grace that covers us all, but I didn't think it made for compelling reading. It read more like a travelogue covering the authors journeys on safari in Africa, where seeing elephants is a gracious moment, than it did a book delving into a theology of grace.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Clyde A. Beswick on August 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cathleen Falsani's new book "Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace" is the author's journey around the US, Africa and other places where she experiences grace in places both large and small. The author calls it "gracespotting" and whether on the cobblestone streets of Rome, in the halls of Graceland, driving the rainy roads of post-Katrina Bay St. Louis, trekking through the slums of Nairobi, attending a Passover Seder with the only Rabbi in the state of Montana, or curled up with her cat, Ms Falsani finds grace in the unexpected. Grace that she describes as "the oxygen of religious life."

The writer is the religion columnist for the Chicago Sun Times and a blogger I read regularly. Her style, exhibits her own uniqueness as a writer, but could be described as Anne Lamott meets David Sedaris. She is a storyteller above all and the stories of the people and places she encounters, around the world, on her quest to find grace are each unique expressions of finding grace when she least expected it or when she needs it the most. For the author grace is the "lagniappe" of life. This lagniappe, a cajun word to describe that surprise bonus given to customers for good measure, is there for each of us every day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kyliegirl on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the essays in this book--thoughtful, intelligent, and filled with grace. If you need faith boost (or a total realignment) this is a great place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Taylor on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book, very well written and important. Cathleen Falsani is a seasoned journalist with a very enjoyable style. Each chapter is a stand-alone story of some aspect of God's grace. It's not in-your-face religious; in fact, I believe that most of my non-Christian friends will enjoy the book.
One thing I especially enjoyed was the idea of "gracespotting" -- looking for example of grace ("unmerited favor") in daily life. If you pay attention, they are everywhere.
I think what really stands out to me, besides the joy and amazing nature of grace itself, is Falsani's humility. She regularly pokes fun at herself as we watch her learn about grace from unexpected sources.
A friend loaned me this book and told me "read chapter 8." After reading the whole book, I bought 3 copies -- one for me and two to give away. I'll probably buy more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Heuertz on January 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm sad to say I just finished Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace. Sad, because I wanted it to keep going.

Sin Boldly is a book to savor. Moving. Simple. Profound. Honest. Confessional. Not only does it communicate great things, but it is simply written with beauty and style. It's exquisite as a piece of art and provoking as a piece of literature.

What Wild at Heart did to perpetuate misinformed and dehumanizing stereotypes of men, Sin Boldly recovers as a pure and humanizing ballad for humanity to rediscover ourselves and live into the potential and possibilities of what we can become at our best and worst.
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