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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2012
Each member is wrestling to balance their own busy life and personal struggles. And they're trying to keep their issues to themselves. Forced to spend countless hours together, these very different personalities from different generations begin to bond. And their lives are profoundly changed as they love and support each other through the difficulties in each of their lives.
The book focuses mainly on Travis, a young married man whose troubled past keeps him from wanting to have children and who struggles not to think about the other young woman on the committee. Owens also records events in the other six characters' lives and a few others, like the interim pastor.
The characters are flawed, dealing with everything from broken marriages to sexual temptations to suicidal behavior. They are by no means role models, and one could argue they hardly improve by the end of the book. Each character experiences change, but not all make lifestyle changes or repent of the sins in their lives. One has to wonder why these seven were picked for a pastoral search committee, of all things. But the body of Christ is nowhere near perfect, and Owens creates characters who are not afraid to struggle and fail.
The plot, if it can be called that, involves about half the pages of the book. The gaps are filled with descriptions of the seven's interactions with other characters. Flashbacks give vivid and often painful snapshots of these characters' earlier lives.
Owens does a terrific job of painting the people, attitudes, and quirks of the South. Readers can hardly tell what decade the book is set in because the characters and their struggles transcend time. The humor is as dry as Mark Twain's. The author plays off the committee's ignorance to make readers burst out laughing. Often, Owens records in two or three pages a pastor's entire sermon (usually the good ones or ones the search committee stays awake for), and while these are usually insightful, they do little to contribute to the plot or themes of the story.
The book is strongly Presbyterian, and Owens quotes sections of the catechism or other doctrinal guides before each chapter. However, these sections are non-controversial and theologically sound, and one Presbyterian pastor condemns homosexuality in his mind while preparing a sermon.
Controversial issues do arise, though. One woman who lost both parents and a brother to an abusive father later sees her brother in a dream. The author and characters seem to believe it really was the brother. Another member of the search committee spends a night with his girlfriend in a hotel room. It is insinuated that they have sex, but the character later explains they didn't. We also can never tell if this girlfriend, and later wife, is a Christian.
Moreover, no one addresses the fact that the characters deceive and lie to the churches they visit. Owens relates a humorous story of how two committee members pose as a couple and lie about where they moved to, and it turns out to be the pastor's street. One of the characters expresses regret of the need to lie, but the sin is never remedied.
Because of some mature themes and incidents, I would not recommend this book for early teens or anyone younger. Besides these flaws, The Search Committee is a humorous, insightful story of broken people finding hope-and a new pastor along the way. - Alexandra Mellen, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
HersheyreaderHershey, PA4 Stars Out Of 5A Pleasant SurpriseJuly 7, 2013HersheyreaderHershey, PAQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4I have to admit, I purchased this book because it was a really good price at a book sale. However, I reluctantly opened it, and had a preconceived idea that I wasn't going to enjoy it. I was wrong! It was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed it. It was a lighthearted, humorous read!
Deena Peterson4 Stars Out Of 5A surprising treat for readers...August 31, 2012Deena PetersonThis is one of those books that takes you by surprise. I was prepared to read about a denominational church looking for a new pastor. What I found was a Mitford-like cast of unlikely characters, banded together in an old church van traveling the countryside in search of...
...themselves in Christ. From Travis who can't seem to conquer lust and fear of being a father, to Dot...a woman who has 'let herself go' and fears losing her husband to a woman more kept together, you'll be likely to find someone to identify with.
After a few chapters I began skipping the opening excerpts from a Presbyterian guide book/hand book...for me, that took away from the novel. Popping into a variety of churches and looking over the shoulders of the search committee...now, that was worth digging in and reading!
Tim Owens is a deserving winner of "Operation First Novel", and has written an engaging story of believers working out their relationships with God and with one another...all while searching for the ideal shepherd to guide their flock.
I received an advance copy via NetGalley from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Honestly...don't miss this one! Highly recommended.
FayeAge: 18-24Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Fun book with quirky charactersAugust 29, 2012FayeAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4A plethora of personalities!
Seven church members are on a mission, to find a preacher for their small Presbyterian congregation. A van of personalities could not be more mixed, come along with The Search Committee as they look for their next pastor and reminisce about days gone past.
Will they find the pastor of their dreams?
I loved the character diversity, and how each person had their own stand-out personality. I really liked getting to know the characters and when it went back to revive some of their memories was really great because through their memories I got to see another side of them or perhaps a bit of buried hurt.
There were many humorous parts, or even just the way that certain characters handled themselves in certain situations. This book felt like a small town read, even though the actual town wasn't really in the book, through the characters we could see the sense of community and diversity just through the few in the van.
Overall this was a highly enjoyable read, that was fun and really focused on the characters, we got to see how they each had different expectations for what they wanted to shepherd their congregation.
A relaxing read, that is also highly engaging.
No review required :)
Shirley Peaseupstate New YorkAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A good readAugust 10, 2012Shirley Peaseupstate New YorkAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4I very much enjoyed this book--funny and poignant!
Gnsy girlUkAge: Over 65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Instant downloadJuly 16, 2012Gnsy girlUkAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 1Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Although almost predictable it was a relaxing read.