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Written by Jamie Arpin-Ricci
Drawing from Scripture, church history, and the author's own ministry experiences among those who live on the margins, Vulnerable Faith bridges the often enormous gap between the conceptual ideal of faithfulness we talk about in church and a genuine, practical, radical obedience to Jesus. Arpin-Ricci (The Cost of Community) combines the story of St. Patrick with Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-step program to illustrate what a life beyond pretense looks like. Humans, Arpin-Ricci says, normally live in fear not only of death but also of rejection and loss of control. It's only as people have the courage to embrace vulnerability, as Patrick did on a path that inadvertently followed the trajectory of the 12 steps, that they can live as whole people. The idea of a 12-step/St. Patrick mash-up is intriguing, but the book soars highest when Arpin-Ricci writes about his true subject: the radical Jesus that animates both Patrick and AA. This Jesus transforms the world and emerges in community as people face fears and reach out to others. Social justice permeates Arpin-Ricci's message: focus not on perfecting the self, but on seeking the other as Christ. For anyone yearning to find a more full-bodied Jesus than the version that only saves individuals from hell, this is a worthwhile read.
This book is an invitation to radical faithfulness found in willing vulnerability. Jamie Arpin-Ricci guides readers through a process of transformation, which exposes our pretense and promises new life through and beyond the cross of Christ.
Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking
The urgency of the invitation to each of us in Vulnerable Faith cannot be ignored. In a world of terror and hatred, of protection and retaliation, it is a bold and important reminder to Christians of the radical nature of our witness as followers of Jesus. He is the Word made flesh, the vulnerable incarnation of God's love for each and every one of us.
Jean Vanier, from the foreword
In Vulnerable Faith: The life of St. Patrick meets the spirituality of the Twelve Steps. It is a surprising, potent and challenging combination, one that Jamie Arpin-Ricci uses to profound effect in setting before us a vision of Christian community characterized by loving vulnerability, sacrificial generosity and a radical welcome of the stranger into the Shalom of God's Kingdom. An inspiring and life-changing book.
Richard Beck, author Unclean and Slavery of Death
If you are intrigued by the life of early Celtic leader St. Patrick, and if you see a need for transformation in your own life, Vulnerable Faith is your invitation to take some time to explore what greater faithfulness in the people of God might look like. Jamie juxtaposes the life of St. Patrick with lessons learned from AA's Twelve Steps in a way that is refreshing and challenging. This is not for the faint-hearted but for those who want to take steps deeper into the love of God. I loved it, was inspired by it and recommend it to all who take their faith seriously.
Christine Sine, author of Return to Our Senses
Using an array of examples that is both wide and deep, Jamie Arpin-Ricci draws us into a very deep place. This place of questions, trembling, fear, hope, faith, is at the heart of our vulnerability. It is in this very place that we most intimately find God and one another.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Catholic blogger, contributed to Homilists for the Homeless
Jamie is an expert storyteller who with compassion and imagination seamlessly weaves together the old and the new, the saint and the sinner, the practical wisdom of the 12 Steps with the timeless wisdom of the Scriptures. But his greatest feat in Vulnerable Faith is showing how transformative spirituality can be woven into the context of restorative community, where it belongs. Using the life of Saint Patrick as his guide, Jamie paves a way for all of us — on our own and in community — to approach a vulnerability worthy of our redemption. Vulnerable Faith is a primer on authentic community, a personal devotional book, and an insightful look into the human heart, all in one.
Amy Hollingsworth, author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers and Runaway Radical
Jamie Arpin-Ricci knows only too well that spiritual growth and transformation are the result of God's grace. In Vulnerable Faith, he masterfully shows how the 12 Steps help facilitate an openness to God with the life of St. Patrick as our guiding example. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in teaching that has stood the test of time.
Albert Haase, O.F.M., author of Catching Fire, Becoming Flame: A Guide for Spiritual Transformation
In Vulnerable Faith, Jamie Arpin-Ricci has found a unique way to blend the life struggles of St Patrick to help us restore our own dilemma of neglected discipleship. Referencing the 12 Steps model, the reality of Patrick's life and the need for Christ in our own lives slowly unfolds into an understanding of how Christ fulfills shalom in all the areas of our lives. We all need this book.
Randy Woodley, author of Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision
Vulnerable Faith is a wonderfully creative exploration of missional life that draws from the story of St. Patrick as well as contemporary culture. The artful retelling of the story of St. Patrick is done with imagination and care. Each chapter's installment of the story of the beloved saint is followed by theological reflection that probes and prods the reader toward holiness. This book is a fine resource for clergy, congregations, and missional communities.
Elaine Heath, author We Were the Least of These
In this age of self-reliance and faux invincibility, the spiritual discipline of vulnerability is a rare thing indeed. Gently and yet provocatively, Jamie Arpin-Ricci uses the life and teaching of St Patrick to show us that it is only through accepting our common weakness, our brokenness and our unequivocal need for grace that we can find the opportunity for fullness of life and true freedom.
Michael Frost, author of Incarnate
With creativity, skill, vulnerability, and insight Jamie Arpin-Ricci reintroduces readers to the risk of Christian faith, the hope of prophetic witness, and the true reward of costly grace for our time. St. Patrick and the tenets of the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous serve as new and inspiring companions as Arpin-Ricci guides us along the path toward renewing our commitment to be missionary disciples of Christ.
Daniel P. Horan OFM, author, The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton