Complaining Is a Necessary Part of Spiritual Life

Kaya Oakes

teaches nonfiction writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of four books, including Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture, Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church, and The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In-Between. She is a senior correspondent at Religion Dispatches, an editor and contributing writer at Killing the Buddha, and a contributing writer at America Magazine. Her writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Narratively, Religion News Service, Salon, Cross Currents, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter, and many other publications. She was born and raised in Oakland, California, where she still lives.

Photo of a phone saying "Stop Complaining." Photo by Omar Prestwich
August 17th, 2017

Can the occasional cathartic rant lead to healing? The virtue of letting our frustrations be heard — from Russian novels and the Book of Job to a Catholic women’s “pray and bitch” prayer group.