Fortress Press

Remorse: Finding Joy through Honest Apology


Finding Joy through Honest Apology

Stephen Crippen (Author)


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Does it matter if you are sorry for what you have done--or that you have not done? Does your being sorry--does your remorse--matter? If so, how? Who is helped or changed by it? Can spiritual leaders help people wrestle with some of the most challenging dilemmas of their lives? These are a few of the questions addressed in Remorse: Finding Joy through Honest Apology about the deep and joyful relief that comes from healthy remorse.

Episcopal priest and licensed therapist Stephen Crippen describes remorse as the crisis--both destructive and creative--that erupts within the human spirit at the point where sin and grace collide. Through personal story and accessible biblical and theological reflection, he explores the experience of remorse, the recognition of this simple truth: "I did this thing, and I should not have done it."

Remorse also speaks to faith leaders who want to help people identify, understand, and work with their burdens of conscience to discern more deeply the grace of God at work in their lives. This work is not easy, Crippen affirms, but it is rich and ultimately satisfying.

Whatever the reader's perspective, this book offers a path and reassurance to all who long for the grace of remorse and need learn only how to begin.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506479101
  • eBook ISBN 9781506479118
  • Dimensions 5 x 7
  • Pages 121
  • Publication Date March 14, 2023


Stephen Crippen brings intimate biography to Scripture to create a remarkable portrayal of the need for genuine remorse and the life-giving possibilities such remorse creates. Each sentence is carefully chosen and elegantly constructed. The result is an encounter with the author and with God that can be life changing for the reader. Any Christian serious about authentic living should read this book.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhD, professor of theology and ethics, dean, and president of Virginia Theological Seminary

In Remorse: Finding Joy through Honest Apology, Stephen Crippen reclaims remorse not as a toxic version of shame, but as a window toward a deeper and more complex spirituality. Crippen's own story of remorse and, ultimately, self-compassion allows the reader to examine their own regret and guilt, trusting that this work can lead toward deeper joy. This is an excellent resource for those who want to rebuild a life of joy even after their emotional and spiritual foundations have been shattered by shame.

Rev. Dr. Brooke Petersen, lecturer in pastoral theology and director of master's programs at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; author of Religious Trauma: Queer Stories in Estrangement and Return

I have personally worked with the Rev. Stephen Crippen for the past fifteen years. He is a brilliant mind, and a deeply compassionate one as well. He is a teacher, preacher, and counselor. This book takes up a topic that is so vital for wellness in each soul and in organizations as well. I highly commend this good work. Whether a pastor, leader, counselor, or friend, you will benefit as a human being from the wisdom in this book.

The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel VIII, former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Seattle, Washington

Gently, persistently, lovingly, Stephen Crippen guides us to face our fear of our own guilt and discover remorse as a path not to shame but to joy. This is a beautiful book, one I'd recommend for anyone who has ever had anything to feel sorry about. Which is to say, for all of us.

Rev. Dr. Stephen R. Shaver, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, California; author of Metaphors of Eucharistic Presence: Language, Cognition, and the Body of Christ

Remorse is a royal road to profound grace and fullness of joy for anyone who recognizes this simple truth: 'I did this thing, and I should not have done it.'" This exquisite sentence from the preface of Crippen's book was enough to make me want to plunge into my own experiences of remorse in the light of Crippen's approach. Learning about "feeling sorry," "thinking sorry," "saying sorry," and "doing sorry" was both helpful and authentic. And, as the author suggests, joy awaits us along this road.

The Most Rev. Melissa Skelton, assisting bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Seattle, Washington

In a time when many parish leaders, lay and ordained, avoid challenging issues for fear that discussion--honest discussion--will drive people away, there is welcome relief in reading Stephen Crippen's sustained reflection on remorse and joy. In a time when many in the churches want to hear nothing of personal failure and recovery, here we encounter not the scolding voice of the cleric, but the wisdom and love and honesty that evoke and gently provoke. Here we encounter the rare blend of candor and wit, and sustained theological reflection interwoven with biography. Oh, that there were more of this writing in the church today! Take up and read this book that speaks of nothing less than the resurrection of life.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Torvend, OblSB, professor of religion, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington