Becca Stevens, best-selling author, high-profile social activist and one of the premiere preachers in the U.S., extolls the power of love in this new collection of essays intended for everyone from church leaders to seekers.
“Love is my grounding,” says Becca Stevens. “It provides the axioms that inform and govern what I do. First is that love is the most powerful source for social change in the world. Second is that love heals. I’m not called to change the world. I am called to love it.”
“All spiritual paths can be walked more gracefully by avoiding the pitfall of disillusionment and not getting distracted by the bright lights of ego that have led countless priests far afield. Following simple road signs like courage, humility, forgiveness, compassion, and faithfulness that others have put at the crossroads for me has made the work possible and left me grateful. I want to pass along through these letters a tradition of a priesthood that is grounded in the idea that love heals and healing is the central-most sacrament of the church.”
For seminarians, priests, and pastors across denominational lines, plus readers of Stevens’ earlier works and supporters of Thistle Farms and Magdalene projects.
Read the Introduction.
Read a sample letter.
"Episcopal priest and social activist Stevens (The Way of Tea and Justice) organizes this series of letters—to other Episcopal priests, to broken souls, even to God—around the four seasons. Each letter begins with a Bible verse and ends with questions, making the book suitable for devotional or group study use. Many of the letters have a local focus on Nashville or Thistle Farms, an organization Stevens founded that is home to women who have survived sexual abuse and drug addiction, but some also touch on global issues. Simple and from the heart, her thoughtful letters range widely, reflecting on the importance of listening; celebrating the purple in lavender; and appreciating the stillness and dry seasons of both nature and the soul. While acknowledging the world’s great griefs, such as genocide and sexual trafficking, the tone remains upbeat, focusing on freedom, beauty, redemption, and forgiveness. The book’s subtitle is a “path for a deeper spiritual life,” but the book might better be described as a well—the benefit comes from dipping in here and there. Her letters perhaps unintentionally gloss over human pain, but they are also gentle reminders that lives unfold within a larger spiritual context of grace and restoration."
"Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest who was looking for a way for her congregation to become active in social justice issues and the one she focused on was sex trafficking."
—Nicholas Kristof, from the documentary A Path Appears
"Becca Stevens writes as she lives and works and speaks: with a fierce tenderness and an extravagant trust in God’s endless mercy. The letters in this book are written to all of us who long to cultivate such a life. They are an invitation to look for the bounty and beauty growing all around us, to find ourselves astonished and grateful for the presence of Grace . . . even in the weeds."
— Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
"Becca paints each letter with gentle brush strokes, reminding us of living truths long forgotten or drowned out by busyness and shame: truths old as the dirt that pierce our heart, awaken memories, and baptize us in tears. This is not a book to be skimmed or plowed through but sipped, savored, and even prayed."
— Mike Kinman, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis and board president, Magdalene St. Louis
"Becca Stevens has written a beautiful book demonstrating the power of God’s healing love. Wherever you are in your faith journey, these letters, with their compassion for humanity and passion for justice, will encourage you to deepen your faith; and Becca’s work with Thistle Farms will inspire you to open-hearted, generous living."
— Jane Shaw, Dean for Religious Life and Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University