Julia L. Roller knew she wanted to be a writer sometime around the time her first grade teacher caught her reading a novel behind her math book.
One of her first and most powerful experiences of God came when, as a high school student, she attended her first Group Workcamp in Hayfork, California. The workcamp’s combination of worship, fellowship, and service proved life-changing and addicting, and she attended three camps as a camper and many, many more camps, often on Indian reservations, as paid staff and later as a volunteer.
Her workcamp experiences inspired her to try somehow to fit her faith into her career and so she majored in religion and international relations at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. She then moved to Berkeley, CA (which, as you may imagine, was quite a contrast from small-town Kentucky) and received a master’s of journalism from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2000. During her J-school years, she wrote articles about everything from Christianity on the rez, Mormonism, and Muslim rappers in South Africa.
After graduating from J-school in 2000, Julia completed a master’s in theological studies from the Pacific School of Religion in 2001. Meanwhile, she met her future husband on a bus and become forevermore a proponent of public transit. After school, she worked as an editor for Harper San Francisco Publishers (now HarperOne), where she got to work with amazing Christian writers such as Philip Gulley, Walter Wangerin Jr., Arthur Roberts, and Tom Stella. After a cross-country move she stayed on with HarperOne as a freelancer, spending two years working as the project editor for The Life with God Bible, originally published as The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible.
She is the author of Mom Seeks God, editor/compiler of 25 Books Every Christian Should Read, A Year with God and A Year with Aslan, and coauthor, with Lynda L. Graybeal, of Connecting with God, Learning from Jesus, Prayer and Worship, and Living the Mission, all published by HarperOne. She has written reader’s guides for many books, including Streams of Living Water and Prayer by Richard J. Foster, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, and Drops Like Stars, all by Rob Bell, Made for Goodness by Desmond and Mpho Tutu, Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor, Intimacy and A Letter of Consolation by Henri J. M. Nouwen, Ana’s Story by Jenna Bush, and When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball, and was the project editor of The Life with God Bible. She has written for many publications, including The Better Mom, 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Children’s Ministry, Rev., The Coronado Eagle & Journal, Street Spirit, and Group, for which she was also a contributing editor for many years. She has also contributed to several Group books, including Go Deeper Retreats, Young Adult Ministry in the 21st Century, Plugging in Parents, The Preteen Worker’s Encyclopedia of Bible-Teaching Ideas, and Over-the Top Games for Youth Ministry. Julia lives in southern California with her husband and three children, where she is working on a nonfiction book about hospitality tentatively titled Being Loved. She loves speaking about any and all of these subjects at church retreats, MOPS meetings, and Renovaré events.