June 15, 2015

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

Overview of this book…
Basically the author is telling her personal story of her relationship to local churches she has attended.  She shares her frustration with the theology, approach to people and the politics of those churches.  She shares it in a format that hits 7 sacraments taken from a variety of denominations.  She, in the introduction, said she did not want to write it but was pushed into telling her story.  She said that her story has not come to an end and I suspect she will write another one as she works through more of it.  Her fans will be overjoyed I suspect.  

Her story is one of becoming fed up with and leaving the church and somehow finding her way back to something she could live with.  Her story is one I see with many in the church today but it is not a new story.  Many people have, over the 2,000 year history of the church, wrestled with what the church should look like.   Something… or someone, kept drawing her back.  Here is her story of walking away and coming back.  I am just sad to say that her coming back was not really coming back in a way that felt like she was comfortable with her decisions.

My reaction…
This book troubled me from the first opening passages.  I pushed through and read hoping for some kind of Biblical resolution and there was some but the author seemed angry and unsettled throughout the entire book.  It probably would have read as less angry to me if I had not just finished Crazy Love by Francis Chan before reading this one.  Chan writes with a deep passion and love for a very flawed church but Evans seems angry and condescending toward the church. 

Before you ask if I have ever been hurt by a church I will tell you that I have been hurt very deeply by churches.  I am a pastor’s wife who has had to have conversations with my own children about why people who claim to be Christian treat each other so ugly.  I have been hurt deeply in several churches but I never left.  I did not say I did not want to leave… I just chose not to.  There were times I dragged myself out of bed on Sunday out of obedience to God and out of respect for my husband.  I take God’s word very seriously when He says that we should not forsake the assembling together in His name.  I found other groups outside of the church with Christian women who were not from our congregation in times when I found it hardest and they became my church family during those hard times.  Even in that I still sat in that chair during worship on Sunday morning.

It was troubling to me how she just kept bashing the church.  Did I agree with some of what she said?  Yes, I did… the church is in crisis and in need of change but her view of a solution is more about social and political ideology change than a real revival of God’s people or the act of true discipleship to bring others to Him.  When we look at the times in scripture when the people turn back to God it is always when God’s word is opened up, truth is preached unashamedly, and the people see who they are and repent.  Even today around the world the revivals are happening when God’s people open His word and realize who He is and what He is really saying to the church.  People are truly hungry for His word.  The leaving and rebelling happens when they are more about themselves feeling good about their sin than the church in many cases.  The message has not changed.  We cannot soften it just to make some happy.  Our goal is not to give people what they want to hear… tickling the ears.  God’s word does not return void and we should be sharing it with the world.  His word is one of the agents of change in our churches and in the world.

I think the biggest issue I had with her perspective is that I felt that she was continually questioning God, Himself, in scripture.  It continually seems that she does not see God’s word as inerrant.  She questions scripture outside of the words of Jesus as if the only parts that can be trusted are the red letters in the Bible.  That is dangerous.

I cannot and will not recommend this book because I feel it is misleading about who God is and His call upon the church.  I am truly sorry she has been hurt by the church.  She is not the first nor will she be the last.  The church is made up of sinful flawed rebellious people who are in need of constant repentance but God did ordain the establishment of the family and the church and to think you know better than God to say He did not is not something I want to be responsible for telling others to read.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review... you just got honest!  LOL

This book was provided by BookLook by HarperCollins Christian Publishing for this particular review.

1 comment:

  1. She's the one who spent a year "living Biblically" by following, or attempting to follow, all the commands for women in Scripture. She seemed to freely mix Old and New Testaments, and essentially romped all over Scripture. Under the guise of "questioning", she picks and chooses her own theology, advocating for women leadership in church, LGBT acceptance and just about every ultra-liberal faith related cause there is. There's a lot of hate there, not just for the church, but for Christianity and Christians. She's "returned" to the Episcopal Church, where there is already a lot of acceptance for her liberal views (and a declining membership that may see the denomination extinct in not too many more years). She was apparently raised in a more conservative, evangelical home; her radical departure has to make you wonder if she ever truly believed. Can you tell I'm not a fan?