Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church by Rachael Held Evans

Reading Searching for Sunday is a like being the honored guest at a banquet where the finest chefs have prepared your favorite foods. This memoir of a young woman’s journey to discover what church means and whether there’s a place for her in it will make you contemplate your own faith journey. If you’ve never set foot in a church, read Searching for Sunday to learn what it means to be a part of a church community and why it feels like a family – with all the baggage and the joy a family entails. If you love your church, read it to imagine what you can do to bring more people to the banquet.  If you’re searching for a meaningful church experience, Evans is telling your story. And if you've given up on the church, there are stories here for you. I’m an avid reader of Rachel Held Evans’ blog, I loved hearing her speak, and I’ve read her other books so I expected Searching for Sunday to be special, but it exceeded my expectations because of its honesty, insight, humor, and tenderness.

Evans, the 33-year-old author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Faith Unraveled, grew up in the small Tennessee town where the Scopes trial took place and where her father taught theology at a Christian liberal arts college. She grew up evangelical with a capital “E,” but she began to doubt everything she believed about God saying “For me, the trouble started when I began to suspect God was less concerned with saving people from hell than I was.” She had been “intoxicated with certainty.” Once she began questioning, she “became a stranger to the busy, avuncular God who arranged parking spaces for my friends and took prayer requests for weather and election outcomes while leaving thirty thousand children to die each day from preventable disease.” She stopped going to church and started searching. She gave up and started over again. The more she searched, the more she began to believe that
“the church is called to the slow and difficult work of healing. We are called to enter into one another’s pain, anoint it as holy, and stick around no matter the outcome. . . The thing about healing, as opposed to curing, is that it’s relational. It takes time. It’s inefficient, like a meandering river. Rarely does it follow a straight or well-lit path. Rarely does it conform to our expectations or resolve in a timely manner. Walking with someone through grief, or through the process of reconciliation, requires patience, presence, and a willingness to wander, to take the scenic route.”

Searching for Sunday is enhanced by wonderfully appropriate quotes from Barbara Brown Taylor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, William Willimon, and many others including Evans' friend Ed who said “When you join a church, you’re just picking which hot mess is your favorite.”

Organized around seven sacraments with stories and wisdom about baptism, water, confession, communion, confirmation, the anointing of the sick, marriage, and death the book crescendos as Evan’s takes the reader through her experiences. She shows the reader how “God surprises us by showing up in ordinary things, in bread, in wine, in water, in words, in sickness, in healing, in death, in a manger of hay, in a mother’s womb, in an empty tomb.”

Summing it Up: When Publishers Weekly awards its coveted star and writes Honest and moving, this memoir is both theologically astute and beautifully written” you can expect a book that will appeal to more than just the usual suspects who purchase religious tomes. Buy this book because it’s beautifully written, funny, wise, and genuine. Get your friends and neighbors to read it too. If you belong to a church, gather a group to read and discuss it together.

Note: If I were in charge of the world, our political leaders would be required to read Searching for Sunday to see that their work should be relational. Well-meaning Christian politicians should agree to disagree with each other amicably and this book could help them see a way to do just that.

Rating: 5 stars   
Category: Nonfiction, Soul Food, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Book Club
Publication date: April 14, 2015

Author Website: http://rachelheldevans.com/
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  2. this is the holy book about church and holy life about church.the soul of a holy people is different from others.

    Holy books