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

Thomas Nelson / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

For a generation that has largely said, "count me out," church represents a complicated relationship of both longing and apathy. There's a history there--a past full of confusion and hurt, but a past that often is impossible to abandon. In Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans exposes her own thorny relationship with the church, articulating the concerns, frustrations, and hopes of many of her peers. Through a series of stories told around the church's sacraments--baptism, confession, and communion, among others--Evans offers the beginnings of a road map back to church and the resurrection that awaits when we are willing to give up and begin again.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X .75 (inches)
ISBN: 0718022122
ISBN-13: 9780718022129

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Publisher's Description

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans embarks on a quest to find out what it really means to be part of the Church.

Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn’t want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals—church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she set out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it.

Centered around seven sacraments, Evans’ quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.

A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church.

Author Bio

Rachel Held Evans is an award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in local and national publications. She lives in Dayton, Tennessee, with her husband, Dan. Find out more at rachelheldevans.com

Product Reviews

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  1. FranBrunson
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting in parts, but shallow
    July 25, 2015
    FranBrunson
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Some of the younger women in my church are fans of Evans (mostly singles), and I suppose I'm maybe a few years older than her target audience. Nonetheless, a friend loaned me this, I enjoyed parts of it, but frankly I found it a bit shallow, she seems to be taking a lot of pleasure in rattling off the negative things about evangelical churches without bothering to consider the positives. I hope this is something her readers will outgrow in time (they usually do once they have children and mature a little). I suppose the book is more for fans of her blog than anyone else.
  2. Kaitlin
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
    May 27, 2015
    Kaitlin
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Funny how God brings certain things into your life just when you need them! This book was one of those things!

    For the past year or so I have been less than faithful in my weekly attendance at church, for various reasons, and in that time I have been mulling over various ideas, struggles, and thoughts pertaining to church. So when I saw this book available for review, I knew I had to read it!

    The basic premise is the author's story of how she grew up in the church, leaves it as a younger married couple, searches for a new church home in various other churches, and through all of this, eventually rediscovers the importance and place church has in her life. Rachel breaks the journey into seven sacraments of the church, Baptism, Confession, Holy orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick and Marriage. She ties these sacraments into her journey as well as focusing on the importance that each of these sacraments have in how we come together as a church family. She tells a story that many people can relate to, including myself in some ways and I think she points out some of the churches biggest faults as well as blessings!

    Now, I knew nothing of Rachel Held Evans when I received this book to review and by about two pages in, I knew that I did not agree with her personal doctrine. I have since learned that Mrs. Evans is a very liberal Christian and, as it seems, quite the controversy! So, I will leave my critique to that of just the book as she has written it and not as a stance on her beliefs or points of view. I will say that I would not recommend her writings to a new believer, and probably will not read any of her other material in the future.

    But as for Searching for Sunday, Rachel weaves a beautifully written tale! Her writing style is intelligent as much as it is beautiful! She certainly is a gifted writer and I had a hard time putting this book down! I did find that in all the ways I did not agree with her thoughts, there were others that I completely agreed with! As I told my husband, "Where she's right, she's so right!" I found the book challenging me to reaffirm what I believe but also to open my eyes to what God wants from His people in the church as a whole, mainly in regards to transparency and openness. I do not agree with Rachel's stance that we are to accept our sin conditions, no matter how 'new a world' we are living in. And it's for reasons like that, her support of accepting grace as a means to accept sin, that I would steer away from other material by her. But this book, as a narrative of her journey, is enjoyable and there is plenty of good to glean from it!

    So with my struggling of thoughts and of attendance in regards to church in my life, I think Searching for Sunday has rekindled in me a renewed sense of purpose, place, community and love for church! Would I recommend this book to others...it would depend on the individual but as for me, I believe that God placed this book in my hands at just the right time!

    I received this book from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for my honest review. These are my personal opinions!

  3. Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    "No step take in faith is ever wasted..."
    May 17, 2015
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "Perhaps being disillusioned is a good thing if it leaves you facing the Truth."

    That was my thought after finishing Searching for Sunday.

    Rachel Held Evans knew who she was. She was a pastor's daughter, ensconced in a tight-knit Evangelical community. Her family was a link in a chain of giving and receiving, of visiting the sick and sending casseroles to new mothers. All of her childhood memories were bracketed by those familiar people and that particular expression of Christianity. And it was, in some ways, a very good thing.

    But in other ways, that same sense of unity would leave a growing Rachel wondering where she fit. She makes an excellent point partway through the book: In Evangelical circles, we call ourselves "a community of believers." Because we're afraid of faith becoming mere rote routine and ritual, we emphasize the personal beliefs. And we often ask our people to believe far more than just the Nicene Creed. We mine the Scriptures for dozens of other principles and doctrines, and we package it together as a whole.

    So when Rachel could no longer swallow the whole Evangelical serving, when she could no longer sign off on the doctrinal statement, she felt that she'd lost her place in her childhood church.

    She unfolds her stories a sensitive touch, holding on to the things that blessed and nourished her even as she describes her strong disagreements with the American Evangelical culture.

    When did she begun to trust her place in the Body again? When she found a place at the table of communion, a place on the path of pilgrimage, a place in the row of footwashers, a place where the healing oil flows. When she couldn't bear the weight of belief any more, it was tangible, tactile sacraments that re-introduced her to Christ and His people.

    I requested this book because I had heard that it was arranged around the sacraments, and that idea piqued my curiosity.

    Rachel chose seven sacraments: Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage.

    She writes several chapters about each one, telling us what they have come to mean to her and drawing in dozens of thoughts from saints both ancient and modern. She manages to meditate on the essence of each one, revealing them to be so compelling and beautiful that it seems to me like the sacraments must preserve the church, instead of the other way 'round.

    And she does a wonderful job showing how the sacraments apply to all of us. (Typically, marriage would seem to have no bearing on the single, and holy orders would be reserved for the ordained.) Rachel expands on those ideas, exploring marriage as the mystery of our union with Jesus and holy orders as the calling of every man and woman to recognize and live their sacred calling.

    Buried about three quarters of the way through the book is one of my new favorite quotes: "Scripture doesn't speak of people who found God. Scripture speaks of people who walked with God." Excellent point. I never like the whole "I found God," thing. It doesn't make theological or logical sense. But walking with God? Oh yes. That points to ongoing relationship, and that's what this book is about.

    I thank Traci at Traces of Faith dot com and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
  4. ldesherl
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Searching for Sundays by Rachel Held Evans
    May 6, 2015
    ldesherl
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This book is part memoir and part musings about the institutionalized, denominational church in the West, especially America. Her memoirs are weaved throughout every chapter, along with her reflections. Glennon Doyle Melton another author, has written the forward to this book. Evans writes her own prologue to her book. The book is arranged into sections for each ritual in church denominations. Part 1 is devoted to Baptism. Part 2 is devoted to Confession. Part 3 is dedicated to what is called Holy Orders. Part 4 is devoted to Communion. Part 5 is dedicated to Confirmation. Part 6 is devoted to what is called Anointing of the Sick. The final section is dedicated to Marriage. She wraps up this book with an Epilogue and provides acknowledgments of those who have been part of this book. The book has several pages of notes that cite sources that Evans has used in her research for this book.

    I expected this book to focus on the author's own experiences and her lessons in her congregations. She includes these but her book is more about her musings of what she calls resurrection and what she thinks the church can be or should be. By "church" she is referring not to the universal body of Christian believers. She is referring to local Christian fellowships of various congregations, especially those she has been involved in. I found out early where she stands on GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) issues, as she makes it explicit that the answer to welcoming the GLBT community is to accept their alternate lifestyles as morally and spiritually acceptable. I liked all the parts of her book where she discusses the importance of being real in our church fellowships. In an age of compromise and lukewarmness in the modern Christian Western Church, I could not agree with her solution to the sad problem of the across-the-board lack of transparency and diversity in our local church fellowships, especially our denominational fellowships. One of her solutions is to give into the cultural pressures to re-define marriage as accessible to the GBLT community. This aspect of her book, and her condoning of GLBT lifestyles as morally acceptable, keeps me from embracing Evans as a like-minded sister in Jesus, as much as I want to. I understand why Evans and other like-minded Christians cave into the worldview of the culture, and call homosexuality and its cousins morally acceptable, even to Christians. They are acutely aware of the bullying, hate and mean-spiritedness that have been leveled against the GLBT community. They are aware that even some Christians have failed to show Jesus' love to members of the GLBT community. Evans, like like-minded Christians, fails to see that when Jesus said to the woman in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you," He told her, "Go and sin no more." He did not say, "Since I accept you, I accept your lifestyle. You deserve to be happy." No! Evans and like-minded Christians fail to realize that the grace that forgives us of our sins also is meant to enable us to do what we can to stop sinning. Also, in the book, Evans refers to God the Holy Spirit with the feminine pronoun. I understand that God indeed, sometimes, uses feminine images to describe His love, as He has done especially in the Old Testament. And she no doubt wants to stress that God affirms women. But taking liberties with how God has revealed Himself, as male, is not the way to go. I think Evans can make her point just as well without using a female pronoun for the Third Person of the Trinity. Evans has done a stellar job of diagnosing the problems of interpersonal relationships in the modern Christian Church, but I think she is taking an unBiblical approach in calling things God clearly calls sin, as good and acceptable. I know that Evans is popular and has a popular blog. But hasn't Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you"?

    I cannot feel comfortable recommending this book to any non-believer, as this book will just enable them to in their natural desire to make God in their image, and re-defining an institution He has set to operate in His way. For the same reason, I cannot comfortably recommend this book to new Christians who may be confused to read some things in this book that condradict Scripture. I do recommend this book to many Pastors and those in other Christian leadership positions in many churches that are losing members. This book will provide insight into why this is happening, though I do not think that Pastors should condone or embrace GLBT lifestyles in order to show Christ's love to the GLBT community, as she thinks should be done.

    I have received this book free of charge through Booklook Bloggers, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.
  5. Lizzie
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Place to Breathe
    April 16, 2015
    Lizzie
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Rachel Held Evans's book takes us on a journey through the seven sacraments (Communion, Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage) that carries us into the Bible, into church past and church present. At times, I felt like I was reading a series of interconnected and yet unique essays. One moment, I would be nodding at an oh-so-familiar description of doubt, and the next I would be catching my breath at the enumeration of the many ways throughout its history that the church has descended into darkness. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

    When Rachel would revisit Bible stories, she would do so in such a rich, sensory way, attuned to the history and humanity of it all, that it felt familiar in the best way. My favorite of these, I think, was a chapter that wended its through parables of seeds and wheat, through kneading and baking, and brought us to the Last Supper.

    I learned more about Rachel's story through this book, and I also learned about how the early church celebrated communion, how the Orthodox church celebrates weddings, and how church as it's meant to be is present in Alcoholics Anonymous and the Gay Christian Network.

    There are many reasons why I love this book, but the main one is that it has given me another place, another conversation, where I can breathe a little easier, where I can be myself and yet have hope in this journey at the same time.

    "Church isn't some community you join or some place you arrive. Church is what happens when someone taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, 'Pay attention, this is holy ground; God is here.'"
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