Dear Church is a series of letters from a former emergent church staffer to the global church she's not always sure she wants to be a part of. On a personal level, Cunningham's story awakens the sometimes missing voice of the twenty-somethings who are distancing themselves from conventional expressions of religion. On a global level, Dear Church invites every person to engage their own disappointments and share in Sarah's story---the story of journeying through disillusionment and back again. Includes discussion questions that can be used for personal or group reflection.
Dear Church is a series of letters from a twenty-something to the global church she's not always sure she wants to be a part of. The author's story awakens the voice of a younger generation whose attendance in the church is dropping, yet she encourages the church that their Christian faith is still alive and well. In the end, Dear Church tells a story that will be familiar to every age group: the story of overcoming disillusionment and staying the course.
Sarah Raymond Cunningham is the author of Portable Faith and The Well Balanced World Changer and the creator of the children's Christmas book, the Donkey in the Living Room. As a freelance consultant, she has also helped develop some of the top Christian events in the country. When her hands aren't busy juggling projects, Sarah is living as Chief Servant to the Emperor, her four year old son, and his chief of staff, his one year old brother. She blogs about finding extraordinary friendships in an ordinary world at sarahcunningham.org.
First-time author Cunningham is a 20-something who feels ambivalent about and alienated from the church. In 14 letters, she vents her frustrations, telling the church why she is dissatisfied and letting other disgruntled Gen-X and Gen-Y readers know they are not alone. Her generation digs technology, but still craves human intimacy and community. They value "authenticity" and thus are suspicious of churches where worship seems too polished, too "preplanned," too self-consciously cool. The Holy Spirit may move some people to leave their local church, and Cunningham thinks that's okay, as long as they find Christian community somewhere else and refrain from gossiping about the members of their ex-church. The book is not wholly devoted to complaining; Cunningham also highlights the aspects of church life that give her hope. She loves the resiliency and flexibility of the church. And she loves Jesus, who was simultaneously anti-institutional and deeply committed to the church. Cunningham's epistolary format is ironically gimmicky, drawing from the same wells as the inauthentic church services she critiques. Questions at the end of each chapter will help small groups who want to use this book as a jumping-off point for discussion, but ultimately, there is little here that hasn't been said before. Copyright 2006 Publishers Weekly.