When questioning faith, sometimes, you feel lost. I agreed to review Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans before my questions began. The day I was pouring my heart out, crying because I feel this overwhelming grief over losing my faith, I remembered that I needed to read this book. So I settled under my covers and began to read…then weep…because Rachel was speaking directly to my heart. Searching for Sunday is the story of Rachel’s journey of doubt written through the lens of seven sacraments of Christianity: baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing of the sick and marriage. The stories evoke mixed emotions — laughter, tears, angst, rejoicing. She has a sharp wit, cynical with soul-baring honesty. My Kindle copy is filled with highlights and notes.
She describes how the church becomes afraid that grace will take over. I love how she sums it up: “Grace has been out of hand for more than two thousand years now. We best get used to it.” Simple, with a sweet jab. Basically – God’s in control, get over it. But it’s chapter eight that hits my heart. She talks about the guilt of where she is, how nothing drastic shook her foundation. How “just a few pesky questions that unraveled my faith like twine.” Yes. I understand that too well. And then she speaks the very words that shatters my soul and sums up what I’ve been feeling. She gives a voice to all the doubt, unbelief — overwhelming grief that shrouds me like a heavy blanket. It prompted me to write this status on my wall:
Another gem, one that is probably going to inspire me to blog or rant depending upon my mood…
“There are recovery programs for people grieving the loss of a parent, sibling or spouse. … But no one really teaches you how to grieve the loss of your faith. You’re on your own for that.” ~ Rachel Held Evans
I read that…and started bawling…and my words are coming back.She spoke what my heart and soul have been feeling. I’m grieving the loss of my faith. But not my faith. A faith I used to hold. A faith given to me that gave me an identity. A community. A life. I realized this weekend that living life fully, freely away from the trappings of a faith that stifled me. Its cost me much. The recognition is causing me to fully grieve. BUT I am even more convicted. The cost of losing the faith I have is worth knowing that Abba loves me and I’m forever the one he calls Redeemed.
I couldn’t finish the book before it was time to sleep, so I finished it the next day. And I am reading it again. I needed this book. I needed to know that it’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to have doubt. To ask questions. To cry. To yell. To mourn. To love your faith, lose your faith and find your faith again.
I find myself a little more comfortable with my cynicism. I find myself bolder about staying free from being trapped into false spiritual authority again. I realize that I’m not alone in my experiences. She too “left a church of kind, generous people because I couldn’t pretend to believe things I didn’t believe anymore.” I am finding that the shock of leaving has worn off, the years of survival are gone and now it’s time to find faith again.
Rachel gave me hope that one can go through doubt and not become a raging activist, hating all things to do with faith. One can have faith and love those the church is currently marginalizing. One does not have to be an evangelical Republican to have faith. One doesn’t even necessarily need to be in a church to have faith in a God who loves us. One simply needs to have faith. Faith that she found can best be described in the simple sacraments.
If you have doubt. Unbelief. Questions. If you are pretending to believe things you don’t believe. If the things you are doing are not giving you life. If the place you are makes you feel dead. Pick up this book. Read it. Let yourself feel and find a deep, abiding faith. And never, ever quit questioning.
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans embarks on a quest to find out what it really means to be 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.
About the Author
Rachel Held Evans is an award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in local and national publications. She lives in Dayton, Tennessee, with her husband, Dan. Find out more at rachelheldevans.com.
I received a copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers for review purposes. This fair and honest review contains my own opinions and do not reflect the views of the author, publisher or any other third-party. I have received no other compensation for this review. This is disclosed in accordance with FTC guidelines.
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