I wasn’t raised in the church.
I became a Christ-follower in late middle school/early junior high. I was a part of a fairly conservative Southern Baptist church, but I remember there being a few outliers who, looking back, probably pushed the envelope. To this day I can name these influential people in my life for whom I still hold a fond memory.
It’s in this vein that I introduce Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels. A compilation of essays put together by Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani, Disquiet Time is a book that discusses many of the things that you’d never hear in church or a Bible study but are actually either quite interesting, entertaining, or profoundly necessary.
What I loved about these essays is that they are honest and they resulted because someone thought that something didn’t line up quite right, and so they asked questions. Some asked questions of the Bible, others about the “norms” of Christian culture, and yet others of God Himself. I believe that asking questions is absolutely essential to a healthy, growing faith (I mean, actually to life in general!), so to read a book full of people asking them? I will settle in and listen intently.
The foreword of this book is written by Eugene Peterson, which says a lot. Eugene is a faithful pastor who loves God, loves Scripture and loves pastoring people into the fold of God. He’s one of those teachers that I really trust, and so to have him foreword such a book says something.
The essays range from topics like what the Bible says about “crap” (this was a funny chapter and I immediately filed this away to bring out in a couple years for a fantastic Bible lesson with my kids), to wrestling with Scripture during seasons of painful doubt. Several of the essays sought to uncover potential bias we have when we approach certain Biblical texts, and generously suggest a reframing to understand them better. What I love most is how the authors entered into the Scriptures in an incredibly honest, real way.
This is mostly of a book of invitation. The authors invite you to come around as they share a piece of their faith journey. They give room to say, “Oh wow, you struggle with that? Me too. I thought I was the only one.” They also offer a place to lighten up and laugh about really funny things that happen both in Scripture and in our quirky church circles. So, if you’re looking for a place to rest and prop your feet up for awhile, you’re invited.
A disclaimer: a least one of the essays in this book will frustrate or offend you, most likely. I ended up skipping over a few that I thought were misguided. Also, apparently in order to write in a book like this you have to curse. So to be fair not every essay includes cursing, but a fair amount of them. Typically no more than one word per essay.
Thanks to the publisher for this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.