I’ve been reading Rachel’s blog from the early days. I mean, probably not the EARLY early days, but as soon as her first book came out, I was subscribing. I mostly started subscribing because I was then friends with a guy who was friends with her in college, and he insisted on how great she was. Okay, I’m in.
I think her blog’s content has really evolved from when I first began reading. The topics got a bit weightier, she became more vocal in what she was for and what she was against. I know from personal conversations that some of you really enjoy her blog, and others of you really don’t. I think that’s fair. Either way. This book.
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church interweaves Rachel’s navigation of church life through the lens of the sacraments: baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing of the sick, and marriage. In some ways I felt like I was reading two separate books: one about her relationship with the local church and one about the relationship of the local church and the sacraments.
Rachel shares her story of how her relationship to the body of Christ changed as she went through a faith shift. What was once fantastic now annoyed her. What was once secure now unsettled her. Growing up in a fundamentalist church, Rachel began to push back, ask questions, and eventually realized that the faith of her childhood was no longer the faith that she could own anymore.
I thought this passage was hilarious, because THIS IS MY MIND. I’ve been getting a lot better about trying to tame it, but it will rear it’s ugly head if I let it:
On Sunday mornings, my doubt came to church like a third member of the family, toddling along behind me with clenched fists and disheveled hair, throwing wild tantrums after each offhanded political joke or casual reference to hell…
‘America is a Christian nation,’ said the man making the announcements.
‘Those who do not know Christ will be separated from God for eternity in hill,’ said Pastor Doug.
‘If the Bible is the inspired Word of God then we must accept this as historic fact.’
‘God has called us to pave the parking lot.’
She also shares about how she’s grown. How her faith has become deeper, richer, and also more speckled with doubt.
This book is more than a memoir. It’s also a book about the Sacraments, and how these elements of our faith calls us to a deep, rich, holy relationship with Christ. I learned quite a bit in these pages.
I’ve read (and liked) all of Rachel’s books, and this is by far the most maturely written, both as a Christ-follower and as a writer. She shows her deep appreciation for the church that raised her and introduced her to Jesus. She also shows a deep appreciation for the variety of local churches who are doing things differently, experimenting with different ways of connecting with God in a way that makes sense to them. It’s a unifying type of book.
I think Rachel has an important perspective for all of us to listen to, whether we agree with it or not.
Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for the free book in exchange for an honest review!