Denial Is My Spiritual Practice

(And Other Failures of Faith)

Rachel G. Hackenberg and Martha Spong

May/2018, 160 Pages, PAPER, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640650237



• Speaks to an authentic articulation of living out our faith
• Valuable insights presented in easy-to-read (and identify with) style

It's the sort of experience familiar to many: Somewhere between illness and divorce, abusive relationships and brushes with death, faith failed to provide answers . . . or we failed to live as though we believed faith held answers. But surely, it's different for clergy, the ones who preach and practice faith?

But faith requires more, and authors Martha Spong and Rachel G. Hackenberg, who grew up in the church and became ordained ministers, know first-hand about coming to terms with God and life, the need to search for answers . . . or at least assurance we are not alone in struggling for renewed hope.

Denial is My Spiritual Practice is a companion for the wondering and struggling. The authors offer their own stories as evidence that God remains, both when faith fails and when faith finds new understanding. They combine stark life experiences, offbeat spiritual perspectives, and Scripture to offer comfort, grace, laughter, and a few tears along the way.

Read an excerpt

RACHEL G. HACKENBERG is author of Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen (Paraclete Press), Writing to God: Kids' Edition (Paraclete Press), and Sacred Pause: A Creative Retreat for the Word-Weary Christian (Paraclete Press), as well as several chapters on preaching and ministry. She blogs at and contributes to RevGalBlogPals and The Huffington Post. An ordained United Church of Christ minister, Hackenberg and her family reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

MARTHA SPONG is executive director of RevGalBlogPals, an international online community with more than 4,000 members. She edited RevGalBlogPals' book, There's a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments & the Healing Power of Humor (Skylight Paths, 2015). She blogs at and contributes to The Christian Century and The Huffington Post. An ordained United Church of Christ minister married to a Presbyterian minister, Spong and her family live in central Pennsylvania.

"If there was such a thing as a spiritual grief group, this would be the book I would recommend. The grappling with scripture, where its promises deliver and where they don’t, is simultaneously consoling and provocative... I can wholeheartedly recommend it."
—Julia Seymour pastor and blogger at and

"Through beautiful stories, Rachel G. Hackenberg and Martha Spong teach the reader how to move through denial and failure into acceptance and grace. With insightful vision, they paint a picture of life that prevails on the other side of failure. If you are searching for honesty in the life of faith and how to live in the midst of struggles, this book will be a balm to your spirit."
—The Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms and author of Love Heals

"With insight, gasp-generating honesty, and wit, Hackenberg and Spong help readers appreciate how every event, every interaction, and every feeling can become an opportunity to learn more about living a spiritual life."
—Meredith Gould, author of Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice

"In this lively, wise, and daring book, Martha and Rachel blend memoir, humor, and biblical reflection to explore the experiences most never dared to discuss in church. Let this engaging book help you illuminate the beliefs that shape your life."
—Ruth Everhart, author of Ruined and Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land

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