Searching For Sunday
I decided to pick up Rachel Held Evans' new book, Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church because I've heard about her previous books and had been intrigued by what I'd heard. I've never read any of her books or her blog prior to this, so I had no idea what to expect, other than what the description implied:
"From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans comes a book that is both a heartfelt ode to the past and hopeful gaze into the future of what it means to be a part of the Church.
Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn't want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals--church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she set out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it.
Centered around seven sacraments, Evans' quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.
A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church."
By the time I finished the introduction, I had a feeling this book wasn't going to be what I anticipated and that I probably wouldn't like it. In the prologue, Rachel writes that she doesn't even believe in God part of the time and has trouble dragging herself out of bed on Sunday mornings and would often rather stay home and watch TV rather than worship. Umm, okay. Rachel writes about searching for the perfect church - it has to follow and believe all of her personal "convictions", many of which have nothing to do with traditional Christianity and are directly contradicted by the Word of God. I got the feeling her emotions vary wildly all over the place and she spends her life on a seesaw following her "heart" and "emotions" rather than basing her decisions on the objective Word of God. Personally, I'd rather follow what I read in my Bible than go along for whatever current "issue" is hot or cool at the current moment. This book is extremely indicative of many Christians today - they want to find a church that will never take a stand against popular current issues, even when they contradict the Bible, a church that, heck, doesn't even require them to believe in God all of the time, a church that just lets any sin carry on unchecked because it wouldn't be nice to speak against it. When Jesus met the woman at the well, he was compassionate and loving and accepting - but then he told her to go and sin no more. I feel like that major part of the story has been lost in today's church. Rachel's writing style is irreverent and dramatic. Topics jump all over the place, even under each of the seven "sections".
This book wasn't all bad - there were some good points raised. Churches should absolutely be welcoming and loving to everyone, but we should be exhorting each other to "go and sin no more", not accept continual and ongoing sin in each other's lives or reframing God's words to make the pet sin of the day seem a-okay. Obviously, the church has its problems that need to be dealt with (and it always will, because it can never be perfect), but I disagree with much of what she concludes. I feel like the latest "trend" in Christian books is "I grew up in a horrible evangelical Christian church and it ruined my life and now I go to the most liberal church I can possibly find". Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not sure if I'd recommend this one.
I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.