Review: Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy

After finishing Alia Joy’s Glorious Weakness, I Instagramed a photo of the book with the caption, “Hands down the best Christian book I’ve read in a long time.”

Glorious Weakness

That’s not a statement I make lightly.

I read a lot of Christian books – some for my work as a Children’s and Youth Pastor and some for my own faith formation. Seldom does a Christian book captivate and challenge me the way Glorious Weakness did.

Glorious Weakness is much more of a memoir than I’m used to seeing Baker Books publish. As a fan of memoir, this immediately drew me to this book. However, Glorious Weakness is theologically rich in a way that many Christian memoirs simply aren’t. In it, Alia explores what it means to be “poor in spirit”, despite the fact that “we are a society that despises lack. We despise weakness and need and insufficiency.”

Throughout Glorious Weakness, Alia challenges the notion that “we admire pain only if it’s healed, only if it’s endured with perfect grace, with perfect faith, and never succumbed to in weakness” and instead suggests that perhaps it is actually in our weaknesses that we encounter Jesus. What’s more, she boldly suggests that “our need might be the thing that most blesses the body of Christ.”

Alia’s own story gives her credibility when talking about our weaknesses. As she explains, “Being a secondhand kid in a department-store world can make you start to believe that God only has scraps for you. It’ll teach you envy and bitterness if you let it. All you see is what’s lacking.”

But it doesn’t have to. Instead, you can encounter God in the wilderness and realize that “The image of God has nothing to do with merit, nothing to do with status, or character, nothing to do with our body’s ability or lack thereof. It has everything to do with God’s imprint on his most intimate creation.”

For those who have struggled with their own identity – or with their perception of who God is – Glorious Weakness will come as a welcome reminder that “For those who put their trust in God’s love, the cross neither condemns nor condones, it only ever covers us with Jesus. This kind of truth is intrusive, but it is also redemptive. It both unmasks and covers.” 

Glorious Weakness will challenge you... and inspire you. It'll make you think deeply and long for the opportunity to discuss this book with someone else! 


Thanks to Baker Books for graciously sending me a copy of Glorious Weakness to review. All opinions are my own.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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