Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Rachel Held Evans has again spoken for her generation with a compassionate yet firm voice. The evangelical churches in which she and a whole generation of young men and women grew up were formational in faith and practice, to be sure. But as Evans explores her own journey in this tradition, she uncovers the best and the worst of how faith and practice became enmeshed, leaving her disillusioned. Like many, she found it easier to stay in bed, read and relax, or go for a hike on a Sunday morning. But leaving only led to searching, and searching to finding again.
 
Evans uses the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches as “tent pegs” on which to hang her “church story,” a literary rather than theological device. Not part of her own tradition, they allow her to reach back beyond her own evangelical history to a more universal framework. Evans leads us into a conversation about the mysteries of faith and tradition even as she identifies the arrogance and exclusivity that drove her away in the first place.
 
Reading this book left me pained but hopeful for a generation that is picking up the pieces of the fractured church with a willingness to live into the mystery of knowing less rather than more.Searching for Sunday is for you if you have anyone in your life who has loved, left, and is still searching for church. (Thomas Nelson)

About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.

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Comments

  1. There are many of Rachel's generation who she does not at all speak for.
  2. Is there any place in scripture where we are encouraged to be willing to "live into the mystery of knowing less rather than more"?

Yes, Eric, there are: "Your ways are not my ways..." "Be still and know that I am God."

I LOVED this book. I'm not a 30-something, as Rachel is, but I'm a 50-something who has had a tumultuous relationship with the church. She hits the nail on the head when she affirms that we can be one of God's children without having to understand everything about God....and do I really want a God that I can fully understand? Would He then be God?

This book gave me hope. Plain and simple.

The following link takes you to a most respectable Christian site explaining why the influence of Rachel Held Evans is undesirable.  http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/10/the-influence-of-rachel-held-evans/

 

Hi Veronica,

 

 

 

Thanks for your response.  A couple things I would note:

 

 

 

  1. I don’t know of any church anywhere that says that we can know everything about God.  I do know many churches that believe we should strive to know as much as we can about God, based on his revelation to us.  Where God does not reveal fully, we can accept and embrace the mystery.  The Trinity is a concept filled with mystery and embraced by the church.  In reformed circles, the mystery of simultaneous divine sovereignty and human responsibility is understood accepted.

  2. The type and/or scope of the “willingness to live into the mystery of knowing less rather than more” in the review language seems to exceed that which comports with a Biblical understanding and extent of mystery.  I say this because the reviewer uses this turn of phrase as a marker for a generation of people, as if being marked by such a descriptor is admirable.  The Bible does not extol the virtues of the uninformed.  Proverbs alone often stands as a rebuke to such thinking.  The rest of the Bible is filled with instruction, exhortation, and training (yes, even preaching and doctrine!).  Psalm 119 is one long ode to the joy of knowing and understanding the will of God.

  3. The verses you chose do not necessarily encourage a willingness to know less rather than more.  In Isaiah 55:8 we are told that God’s thoughts and ways are not the same as ours, with verse 9 following by saying that God’s thoughts and ways are far superior.  The words “thoughts” and “ways” here are not used as abstractions.  In verse 7, the wicked are instructed to forsake their way (or path, manner, course of life, moral character) and instead turn to the Lord.  In context, then, we are to understand that we are to seek/follow the superior thoughts and ways of God, which or course have been revealed to us in His Word.  These verses actually extol knowing, not mystery.  Psalm 46:10 has no implication of a lack of knowing or unknowable mystery.  In context, it is a call for God’s people quiet themselves and recognize the greatness and power of the God who is their refuge.

 

 

 

Mystery and a proper recognition of the limits of our understanding have a proper place in the life of the church.  But the church and the people of God on not primarily marked by what they don’t know, but rather by what (or who) we do know and believe with a sure and firm faith.  

 

Thanks for this review Jenny!  If anyone is interested in hearing more,  I interviewed Rachel for YALT here http://yalt.crcna.org/searching-for-sunday-an-interview-with-rachel-held-evans/

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