This Littler Light, a spiritual memoir by The Pinkerton Raid's Jesse James DeConto (Cascade Books, 2013)

from The Pinkerton Raid

“Readers are invited to share Jesse James DeConto’s poignant exit out of religion. Whether you’ve walked in his tight churchy shoes, or if you’ve been offended by those who have, this well-written, at times laugh-out-loud narrative will delight readers. DeConto’s creative telling illumines a deeply moving passage from the shadows of religion into light and life.”

—Margot Starbuck, author of Small Things With Great Love

This memoir narrates Jesse James DeConto's passage from Moral Majority to Beloved Community. Like other evangelical kids, Jesse felt called to shine the light of truth into the world. His job as a journalist and his young marriage, though, would radically change him. First, he learned that Christians have no corner on truth: Working out in the world, trying to be the “Roaring Lamb” he’d been trained to be, he met atheists and agnostics who seemed to do better at embodying Christian love than many Christians did. Confessing the church’s failures was one thing, but the author had to face his own weakness the hard way, when the cheap threads that held his marriage intact finally snapped.

Jesse found himself at the end of his twenties with a broken bank account, a broken body, and a broken family. In the midst of that pain, he discovered his brokenness better equipped him to share God’s grace and love than his striving ever had. He learned to say with theologian Karl Barth that “his importance may consist in his poverty, in his hopes and fears, in his waiting and hurrying, in the direction of his whole being toward what lies beyond his horizon and beyond his power.”

“Compelling, sparse prose, studded with delightful anecdotes, and braced with sheer honesty. Driving the narrative throughout is the underlying movement … to seek out the agenda of an unexpected God. Entertaining, moving, and challenging by turns.” — Douglas A. Campbell, Duke Divinity School

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