Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Even though I’m old enough to be her father (my oldest son is a year or so her junior), I really want to be Rachel Held Evans when I mature. That thought came to my mind yesterday when I was re-reading Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, her most recent book, officially released today. (I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy, free of charge, in return for agreeing to discuss it on social media, no expectations as to content or tone.)
The sentence that prompted that thought is incredibly sad, but didn’t register on first reading. It’s April 2011, and a church they had dried to launch in Dayton, TN (the Mission) hadn’t taken root. Easter Sunday was their last service. The few remaining people shared what they were grateful for.
“I said the Mission was the first time I felt like an asset to the church, instead of a liability, and I was glad that at least we tried, at least we took a risk.”
Her recounting of her faith walk up to them isn’t bitter, indeed it’s incredibly irenic (see first sentence of this review), but, seriously, US church, if you make Rachel Held Evans (and she far from alone, as attested to by the comments on the closed Facebook group which I was one of as part of the advance copy perqs) feel like a liability, rather than recognizing/acknowledging/exulting in her giftedness, then there is something seriously amiss.
I’m happy for Rachel (and her husband, Dan) that they have found home, for now at least, in an Episcopal church in their area, and it is clear from the structure of the book (focusing on the seven sacraments of Catholic/Orthodox praxis) that the liturgy she has found there is a strength, but prophets have never had a particularly serene existence (and I use the term intentionally, as per Phillip’s daughters)and I suspect there are more peregrinations in store for the Evans clan.
I will post a more thorough review later today on one of my blogs (I’m having issues accessing Dropbox where I posted some notes; I’ll update this review with a link when it’s up), but for now, if you are a Jesus follower or trying to figure out what you believe, I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. (And follow her blog at http://www.rachelheldevans.com, which is now ensconsed in my Feedly RSS feed.)
Verdict, *****, but only because I can’t give more.
View all my reviews