I received a rather special delivery today: a book of Kissing in the Chapel, Praying in the Frat House: Wrestling with Faith and College! So, that happened.
Quite to my surprise, the book seems to have been selling quite well recently (if Amazon’s algorithms are trustworthy, that is). Though I didn’t receive copies until today, Rowman and Littlefield, the publisher, officially released it on December 5.
For ten days or so, it’s been listed as “#1 Hot New Release” in the Student and University Life section of the site. (I have no idea what the means, by the way, but maybe…the description, cover design, and title seems to be catching people’s fancy. Or, the essayists included in the collection are just awesome, which is true.)
I promise this blog will not become a site for too much book promotion. I already feel a little weird that the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead published this delightful write-up, “Concordia Professor’s New Book Booming on Amazon.” But, hey, I’ve never published a book before, and it’ll be several years until I can pull it off again, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too bashful about things.
There’s full info about the text with blurbs at this page of the blog. Below, I’ve listed the summary and Publishers Weekly review.
Description: The stress and culture of today’s college scene does not seem to lend itself to the peace of a traditional church—but this collection of essays illustrates how spirituality not only survives, but thrives in such circumstances. For the twenty-one young adults who contribute to this volume, educational and spiritual development are intertwined; faith was crucial to their college experience. Through deeply reflective personal narratives, these essays uphold the spirit of wrestling with faith as a means for growth, as each author shares how they confronted the role of religion in college and emerged with a profound understanding of how it fundamentally shaped them.
Kissing in the Chapel, Praying in the Frat House covers the extremes of the college experience—the hilarious, the troubling, and everything in between—as told by emerging young voices at a time when writing about college students comes largely from generalized, external points of view. The stories contained within dispel the myth that members of the Millennial Generation are universally lazy and apathetic; they clearly demonstrate the self-awareness and empathy of their authors as they embark on the path of lifelong spiritual growth. Not ones to live life halfway, these essays open up new possibilities to those struggling with faith in any context, and are certain to encourage reflection and introspection in any reader.
Contributions by Taylor Brorby; Mary Ellen Jebbia; Brandan J. Robertson; Kristi Del Vecchio; Lydia Hawkins; Rick Reiten; Hillary Martinez; Anna DeWeese; AndrewAmanda Leigh-Bullard; Agnes Potamian; Michelle Johnson; Kyle J. Thorson; Allison Chubb; Michael Casey W. Woolf; Lauren Deidra Sawyer; Br. Lawrence A. Whitney; Andrea Campo; Johnna Purchase; Edward Anderson; Joseph Paillé and Steven James Porter
Review: “This [is an] absorbing, diverse anthology . . . In 21 essays, young men and women in their 20s and 30s reflect on their college experience with faith, exploring a wide range of subjects—from Kristi Del Vecchio’s socially-minded humanism to Edward Anderson’s reflections on the powerful ways a religious upbringing can both shape and challenge a young person’s attempt to discover faith on his own terms. The most outstanding essays appear in the section on ‘Sex and Sexuality,’ every one of these extraordinarily, even painfully, honest. The authors movingly describe their intimate experiences as they deal with some complicated topics, made even more so for persons of faith (coming out as gay, being transgender, and the trauma of sexual assault, among them). Copeland includes a set of discussion questions at the end of each essay that will be useful for youth ministry groups and classes. — Publishers Weekly
And, I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to this info, just in case you’re curious: