Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
This is one of the books on my “Looking forward to reading them in 2015 list,” so I was excited to finally get a chance to read it.
While I knew I wanted to read it if for no other reason than I find Held Evans to be very thought-provoking, I especially liked the premise behind this one. It resonated with me and my current life so much.
In addition, I really was intrigued by the book’s structure being based on the seven sacraments – it sounded like such a creative way of arranging to book. Unfortunately, that structure didn’t fully work and ended up feeling more like a gimmick – some things felt forced to fit within that framework, and at times I struggled to see the connection she attempted to draw.
Some of it felt very repetitive from her previous books, or her blog posts, and the ending was a big disappointment. The title made it seem like there’d be a clearer “finding” of the church than just … there’s a church we attend at times. we’re not members, or all that plugged in, but it’s where we go when we go. Um, ok?
I don’t really want to make the review about theology – I don’t have that kind of blog, nor do I want that kind of blog. I like reading books from a wide range of perspectives, and find it valuable to do so, but I want them to be books I can learn from. While I actually related to her many times throughout this book (leaving the church I grew up in and searching for one to call home), there were enough times that I absolutely did not connect with what she says, or found myself noticing inconsistencies in the text that it kept the book from making as big an impact as it could have.
While I’ve found her previous books to be well worth reading, no matter if you agree with her or not, this one isn’t that way. It seemed more like she’s writing to those who already agree with her instead of really reaching out to others. If you feel like her as far as gender and sexuality issues in the church are concerned, you’ll probably read the book nodding your head the entire way. If you disagree with her, the book is unlikely to persuade you otherwise, especially as she comes across as very condescending to those who disagree with her (and I actually agree with her on many – not all – points. I still felt her scorn). I did not think it was as thought-provoking for all readers as her previous ones were.
There are some chapters that are absolutely fantastic. The chapter on healing versus curing was one of those for me, and I also really enjoyed most of the communion section. What I found disappointing is how it felt like the gospel was left out, and the focus was on sexuality and gender over anything else. The ending also felt really forced and rushed, and was a let down to a book that was fairly disappointing in general.
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.
Title: Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
Author: Rachel Held Evans
Category: Nonfiction / Faith / Memoir
My Rating: 3 Stars
Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!