“The reason you love Jamie (or are about to) is because she says exactly what the rest of us are thinking, but we’re too afraid to upset the apple cart. She is a voice for the outlier, and we’re famished for what she has to say.” --Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author of Of Mess and Moxie and For the Love
Wildly popular blogger "Jamie the Very Worst Missionary" delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation.
As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unexpected collision course with Jesus. After finding her faith at a suburban megachurch, Jamie trades in the easy life on the cul-de-sac for the green fields of Costa Rica. There, along with her family, she earnestly hopes to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and her fellow workers, she soon loses confidence in the missionary enterprise and falls into a funk of cynicism and despair.
Nearly paralyzed by depression, yet still wanting to make a difference, she decides to tell the whole, disenchanted truth: Missionaries suck and our work makes no sense at all! From her sofa in Central America, she launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and against all odds wins a large and passionate following. Which leads her to see that maybe a "bad" missionary--awkward, doubtful, and vocal—is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need.
The Very Worst Missionary is a disarming, ultimately inspiring spiritual memoir for well-intentioned contrarians everywhere. It will appeal to readers of Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Lamott, Jana Reiss, Mallory Ortberg, and Rachel Held Evans.
Wright, founder of the Jamie the Very Worst Missionary blog, exposes her disenchantment with missionary work in this irreverent, fast-paced memoir. A rebellious teenager, she wound up pregnant at 17. After marrying the child's father, she converted to Christianity, added two more children to the family, and moved the whole crew to Costa Rica to become missionaries. It wasn't Wright's faith that unraveled during her stay as much as it was her alignment with "churchianity," she writes. Her frustration began when still living in the U.S., and it deepened when confronted with the realities of missionary work: it takes away opportunities for local laborers; the funds raised for missionary organizations are hard to track and can be easily abused by those who simply want to live in cities and hang out at coffeehouses; and it is fraught with manipulative stunts such as planting actors in the crowd to pose as converts. Conformity, Wright admits, has never been her thing; as if to prove it, she laces her refreshingly honest reflections with f-bombs. Readers don't get a sense of her intimacy with God and how that relationship changes over time, but Wright still effectively conveys to Christians that their true calling should be love.
She says things we have thought but haven’t dared to say...
Jamie writes like a woman that I would want to have real conversations with for hours over a favorite beer or cup of coffee. I love the unfiltered reality that shines through every page. Her message is strong and hard to hear but is one that is, in one way or another, simmering in the hearts of many Christians - especially those raised in the church. I feel like I need to read a second and a third time and then study to find my “next right step”.