Friday, July 3, 2015

Book Review: Rachel Held Evans' Searching For Sunday

Growing up in the church at one part it seemed to be a natural routine of life. As I got older and saw many of the actualities behind the people and cliches within the church perspective began to change. Rachel Held Evans captures in her book the feelings many people, millennials in particular, are having about the church. Whether we're talking Catholicism or Baptists, it's no secret people are shrinking about the numbers considering themselves apart of a denomination. and for that matter even considering themselves Christian. Evans does what she does best instead of telling us what is the problem she instead shows us with her life her own complex journey through the church.

Perhaps you story is like Rachel Held Evans and growing up church was a place of safety, fun, and friendship. Evans, like me, seems to have become more aware of the doubts and judgement lurking with the church as she got older. I noticed the different division within the church I attended for around a decade quite early when I was a preteen. Among the youth there were the popular and the unpopular. This seemed like a kid problem at the time till I got older and began to become aware of the cliques in the older groups of the church along with troubling questions the congregation seemed to be dealing with including greed. The church I attended began to heavily divide when a woman proposed going to seminary to become a pastor.

Evans also discusses the integration of women in pastoral positions and LGBT's difficult time finding a church home when they are seeking one. These stories read emotional and powerful in the turmoil people have been put in to made feel they can't worship Christ by congregations. In reading these stories you might think you would get discouraged from going to church, but reading the stories of Nadia and Andrew is inspiring enough to provide a want to follow Christ like they have despite discrimination they have faced in wanting to do the very thing God wants us to do. Andrew's ability to still seek shelter in a church despite the fundamental uproots he was raised in shows none of us calling ourselves followers of Christ have an excuse. I found his story uplifting and compelling in his search to be baptized.

Rachel Held Evans talks about her church experiences from when she was a child attending church in Birmingham, Alabama to the one she did in a small town of Tennessee. The author's roots in the south also makes some of the events easy to relate to as I'm from the south too. These doubts and concerns plague people from all over the U.S. and world though.

Birmingham Civil Rights Trail
Evans herself shares her search for a church. She's really experienced a wide variety of denominations. I found her experiences fascinating and they are there to learn from. I was in a church I felt comfortable in for a couple of years till I began to move. Now I haven't got quite back into search mode. The good news is while this book shows church was always be flawed as it's organized by flesh, there is a way to become a functioning piece of it.  I hope to eventually find a church again drawing me closer to my faith than away as many have done in the past.

I feel the book does provide many questions and it's progressive. Instead of telling you how to think its going to give you stories to make you think. It's more showing than telling you doctrine. It will still be a divisive book for just making one consider. The book is available at bookstores and retailers now.

This book was provided by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a review.

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