Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess  -     By: Matthew Paul Turner
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Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess

Waterbrook Press / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Description

Raised in a strict but loving Christian home, Turner was "churched" at an early age---but that didn't stop him from being mischievous and curious. Offering a hilarious look at growing up in the '80s, he affectionately remembers his firm-but-caring parents, passionate pastor, and sometimes misguided friends. A compelling coming-of-age story---with a new chapter! 256 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)
ISBN: 0307458016
ISBN-13: 9780307458018

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Publisher's Description

"Sweet-hearted, funny, and honest, Churched had me reminiscing about the little boy searching for God that I once was…"
Dan Merchant, writer/director of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Churched details an American boy’s experiences growing up in a culture where men weren’t allowed to let their hair grow to touch their ears ("an abomination!"), women wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of pants (unless swimming), and the pastor couldn’t preach a sermon without a healthy dose of hellfire and brimstone.
In 1978, when Matthew Paul Turner was five, his family became sold-out members of an independent Baptist church, joining without any firsthand knowledge of Christian fundamentalism, only his parents’ sincere desire to follow God. In Churched, with wit and careful observation, he reveals the tenderness and grace that managed to seep through the cracks and a young man who, amidst the chaotic mess of religion, falls in love with Jesus.
"Churched is funny, poignant, and surprisingly moving."
Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread
"A memoirist who doesn’t take himself or the world too seriously, but still writes profoundly and beautifully, Turner gave me a belly-laugh on almost every page."
Lisa Samson, award-winning author of Quaker Summer, Embrace Me and Justice in the Burbs

Author Bio

Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Hear No Evil, The Coffeehouse Gospel, the What You Didn’t Learn from Your Parents About… series, and several other popular books. Matthew, his wife, Jessica, and his son, Elias, live in Nashville, Tennessee. He can be found online at 

Editorial Reviews

Churched is funny, poignant, and surprisingly moving. In this deft story of his fundamentalist upbringing Matthew Paul Turner proclaims the good news: that even church can't drown out the message of Jesus.”
Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread

“Turner’s churched lives in that elusive space between whimsical memories of an innocent youth and cringe-inducing flashbacks of life growing up in the church. Like a visit with long-lost relatives, churched reintroduced me to characters anyone who grew up in the church will find familiar, and I was surprised to find that I was glad to see them. Sweet-hearted, funny, and honest, churched had me reminiscing about the little boy searching for God that I once was and gently reminded me I still have some miles to travel.”
Dan Merchant, writer/director of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

“Thanks to churched, Matthew Paul Turner’s vivid, often hilarious account of his childhood, I realized that not having grown up in evangelical culture is less of a handicap than I previously thought!”
Andrew Beaujon, author of Body Piercing Saved My Life and writer for the Washington Post

“Turner crafts an amusing field guide to fundamentalism that’s both a gentle lampoon of hypocrisy and misplaced fervor, and a model of how to survive being ‘churched’ without cynically rejecting the good with the bad, the Founder with his followers.”
Anna Broadway, author of Sexless in the City

“Matthew Paul Turner’s memoir has the insight of Anne Lamott and the comic honesty of David Sedaris. His stories force us to wonder which of our Christian beliefs and practices come from scripture and which spring up out of our own preferences and fears.”
Rob Stennett, author of The Almost True Story Of Ryan Fisher

“Finally! A bona-fide humorist in the North American church! I might be tempted to say Matthew Paul Turner is Christendom’s answer to David Sedaris, but Matthew stands on his own without the comparison. A memoirist who doesn’t take himself or the world too seriously, but still manages to write profoundly and beautifully, Turner gave me a belly-laugh on almost every page. If you grew up believing ‘being conformed not to this world’ meant being the weirdest kid on the block, churched will be the funniest book you’ve read in years!”

Lisa Samson, award-winning author of Quaker Summer, Embrace Me and Justice in the Burbs

“With his homespun humor and eye for living detail, Matthew Paul Turner’s churched invites readers to rethink the quirks of Christian culture for the sake of uncovering that which is lastingly good and worth holding dear.  Turner’s work is a refreshingly gentle discussion of faith and culture with the potential to spark meaningful conversations.”
Pete Gall, author of My Beautiful Idol

"If you didn't think Jesus-loving fundamentalist kids were very funny, Matthew Paul Turner proves you wrong."
-- Jason Boyett, author of Pocket Guide to the Bible and Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse.

“How can a book be so stinkin’ funny and yet so poignant at the same time? Matthew Paul Turner found his voice! After reading churched I wanted to hug him and then toss out all of my son’s clip-on ties.”
Jennifer Schuchmann, author of Six Prayers God Always Answers

“Who knew that a journey through faith and fundamentalism could be so painfully funny? I laughed out loud many a time while reading churched. Matthew Paul Turner manages to channel both boyhood innocence and wry retrospective through this fast-moving account of growing up with Jesus in late twentieth-century America.”
Mike Morrell,

“A funny, heartfelt portrayal of one man’s attempt to find true meaning despite his upbringing among fundamentalists who taught him that Azrael–the cat from The Smurfs–was an agent of Satan. The true miracle of this book is that its author never manages to lose his faith.”
Robert Lanham, author of Sinner's Guide To The Evangelical Right

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Reviews

3.5 Stars Out Of 5
3.5 out of 5
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
3.4 out Of 5
(3.4 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.2 out Of 5
(3.2 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    No redemption, a disappointment
    July 30, 2012
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 1
    While I enjoyed the mocking humour with which he described his growing up in the church years, halfway through the book I was waiting for him to start chronicling how he "found a genuine faith in and love for Jesus", but he never did. The whole book is about the messed up religious world in which he grew up. The last chapter he write about how he found a church he liked finally, and that's it. Where is his journey to Jesus? I feel like there is a whole book missing right before the last chapter. Very, very disappointing.

    If you are one of the over-churched, and were looking to find some hope, some relief and meaning in this book, you won't find it at all. A far better book to read would be "The Explicit Gospel" by Matt Chandler. Chandler certainly "gets" the over-churched and seeks to unravel the mess the religious mindset created in our church-saturated lives.
  2. Williamston,MI
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    January 1, 2012
    pastor les
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    I was throughly disappointed with this book. I beleive that Turner was entirely too flippant in dealing with some Biblical situations.He was bordering on blasphemy in the treatment of some truley Biblical truths.

    I understand that he had some experiences that were not good and that evidently he was discouraged by the behaviour of some spiritual leaders in his youth.It appears there was some severe legalism,which can be frustrating.I declare once again that I did not find his musings humorous.

    I cannot recommend this book.
  3. Rio Rancho, NM
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Fundamentalism Made Me Weird
    November 23, 2011
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 2
    Churched is a book I just finished by Matthew Paul Turner. It's a humorous book about growing up in a Baptist Fundamentalist home/church. I think Matthew's weirdness climaxed with him having to use his middle name. I mean, other than Southerners with the MaryJo kind of names, who uses middle names anymore? It's weird, but that's not all...

    The Good:

    Best line in the book: Fundamentalism made me weird. So true. Me too. At least, that's what I blame it on.

    Turner somehow makes his upbringing in a fundamentalist Baptist church the closest thing to hell on earth, but does so without making a devil out of anybody. Well, maybe anybody but his pastor and a wacko Barbie-burning Sunday-school teacher. But hey, they had it coming. The counting souls, scaring folks into Heaven - I could relate to most of it. That was fun. And, some parts of the book were really funny. Turner is funny. But_

    The Bad:

    Enough already! For the first ¾ of the book I was looking for some redemption, some reason to continue reading. Was there really nothing of value in that church? Some smart comments are funny, but the continual avalanche of them made me want to put the book down to come up for air. You can smack even a fundamentalist just so many times. It's an easy target, but I was looking for something more_

    The Ugly:

    There was little more. I was hoping for some direction, instruction, some help in a humorous way. Instead Churched just poked fun at fundamentalism with a bit of introspection at the end.

    The last section had a bit of hope and help, but by now I was tired of it all. It left me feeling like I'd been forced to eat too many chocolate covered cherries. It was fun at the beginning, but at the end I wasn't laughing anymore and didn't want to eat much of anything Turner had left to offer. Sorry, anything Michael Paul Turner had left to offer.

    I received this book free from Multnomah Books for review. I was (obviously) not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
  4. Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    a bit disappointing.
    May 15, 2011
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Churched by Matthew Paul Turner is an autobiographical account of Turner's childhood growing up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. This denomination is known for its legalistic restrictions and emphasis on being "separate" from the world, and Turner offers up humorous stories of the rigid and often ridiculous limitations and exercises to which he was subjected growing up in the church. He goes on to explain, briefly at the end, how he broke free from the fear and guilt that drives much of their theology, and how the experiences of his upbringing now affect his churchgoing life at present. For me, much of this book as interesting as I attended an Independent Baptist school for 5 years. I certainly could relate to much of it and enjoyed reminiscing back on how the similar circumstances affected me as a child. I thought Turner's humor was a little bit over the top at some points - like a dessert with wayyy to much sugar added. He goes off on rabbit trails of being funny and it's hard to stay focused on the actual story many times, and sometimes I wish he'd just take a break from making a joke in literally every sentence and just let the story speak. The humor is funny and works well for this book - I just think he overdoes it in points. I also wish he'd taken a little more time to talk about how he'd gotten from there to where he now is with Jesus. He spends maybe the last half of the last chapter talking about where he is now - but at the end I felt the overall message was, "nobody can be too sure of anything when it comes to God." And while I understand that he is trying to counteract the pointlessness of fundamental rules and restrictions that have little to do with Christ and much to do with self-righteousness, I wasn't sure that questioning the inerrancy of Scripture and simply talking about how church makes him uncomfortable really was the best way to wrap that up. I appreciate the effort on Turner's part and enjoyed the humorous look at a denomination that has taken some things out of hand...but overall I was disappointed with the taste that this book left in my mouth.

    I received this book free from Waterbrook/Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program.
  5. Hendersonville, NC
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    April 5, 2011
    Hendersonville, NC
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book startes out with a story about matthew and another man in a sauna who has a tatoo of jesus breathing fire out of his mouth. As the two me get to talking the man with the tattoo acknowledged that he is an associate pastor at the biggest pentecostal church in town. Their conversation consists of the pastor telling Mr. Turner that he came to Nashville to be closer to God, he though it would be eaier to be a christian if he lived in the bible belt. But now the man is doubting that.

    This book is chok full of similar stories and full of laughter along the way. But over all as i read this book, yes i did laugh but then after my laughter subsided I realised that I should actually be crying at the obsurdity of the Christian church.

    This book has brought many things up in my life that i now look back a have to question. Do we as christians really think that people will take us seriously if we keep acting obsurdly? I think not

    I would recomend this book for the fact that It really is a easy and quick read and it is very funny, but it still makes you think. so go ahead and go get you a copy!

    (I recieved this book for review as a part of the blogging for books program)
Displaying items 1-5 of 14
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