I’ve been working my way through a hefty-long reading list from my bookshelf for the last few months. I’ve realized I’ve bit off more than I can chew when it comes to book purchases. Let’s just say I emptied my Amazon wish list a few months ago. Anyway, I finally came to Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans – a book that had come highly recommended to me by a pastor friend. I’ve never read any books by Rachel before, even when her Year of Biblical Womanhood came onto the scene. I’m glad I finally picked up one of her books.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid – and I mean both parents as pastors – I eventually found myself in a place of deep cynicism. Especially after a huge falling out at our home church created deep pain for our family. The stories in Searching for Sunday struck a chord with how frustrated I can get with the church. How frustrated I’ve gotten with the church. How frustrated I will continue to be a times with the church. It’s cynicism that I carried with me through college. It’s cynicism that I carried into my first couple years of working as a youth minister. And it’s cynicism that still creeps up on me from time to time.
Over the last few years I’ve caught glimpses of how cynicism rots the bones. How it keeps people at arms length. How it dulls life in general.
The stories and imagery in Rachel’s book brought captivating, fresh words about the church. I found myself laughing at some stories, tearing up at times from the stories of church wounds, and feeling a sense of awe as she described the images and metaphors for the Spirit. I especially loved the small story about confirmation. As a young girl worried she didn’t believe everything she was supposed to believe to be confirmed in the church, her father reassured her that it is not so much a promise of belief, but a promise to wrestle with the story of God and God’s people forever – what a gift that could be to our confirmations classes full of teenagers!
I loved this book for its naming my own cynicism and my own love for what the church is and what it (or we) can be. It’s just what I needed to read this week.