Why You Should Get Churched (and get it here for free!)
My friend Matthew Paul Turner released Churched: One Kid’s Journey Towards God Despite a Holy Mess, his newest book a few weeks ago. You’ve got to read it. Turner and his publisher have given me a free copy to give to one to a lucky reader of this blog. If you’re interested in getting a copy, (and the only reason you wouldn’t be is…well there isn’t a reason because even if you own it you’ll want to share it), please leave a comment below and I’ll randomly pick one person after 5:00 on Friday to award the book to.
First a few disclaimers:
- Matthew is a good friend of mine. That means I feel more liberty than usual to really critique his book.
- I am listed in the book as endorsing it. That’s because despite #1 above, I really, really liked it. In fact, I still remember where I was sitting when he read the first excerpt to me over the phone and how I laughed out loud and thought about it for days. I also fondly remember getting a copy of the manuscript via email and staying up much later than I should have to read it and then resisting every urge I had to email it to all of my friends. (I didn’t.)
- In reciprocity for being able to give away a free copy of Matthew’s book Churched I am supposed to review it (good or bad) on my blog. But I am not going to. So many people have already reviewed it that frankly, I am not sure I have anything original to say in review. In fact, I’d rather encourage you to go to his blog and read the reviews that have been done by others or go to Amazon and read the reviews there. (And while you’re there, why not just buy a copy?)
Instead of adding to the extensive list of positive reviews, I am going to tell you why I think this book is important, not only for Christians to read, but also for Christians and non-Christians to read together.
Top Ten Reasons Why Churched is an Important Book:
10. While on one hand this book could be considered a critique of fundamentalism, it doesn’t read that way. It is told from the voice of Matthew as a child, his fears and his fantasies, and so instead of a tone it draws you into the world he experienced and allows you to make your own judgment. Why can’t all critiques do that?
9. We are all characters in his story . Somewhere in this book you will find yourself at your worst and at your best. The book holds a mirror up to our actions and as we see ourself in it forces us to decide who we really want to be.
8. The book will encourages examination and discussion about how our religious upbringing influences our current spiritual life . Sometimes it is good, sometimes, not so good.
7. Matthew has lots of great stories that lend themselves to questions like, “Has that ever happened to you?” or “What would you have done in that situation.” This makes it perfect for use in a book club or reading group where there are mixed religious backgrounds.
6. Since the voice is that of a child I found myself not arguing about what was right and wrong, rather stepping back and going, “Oh, so that’s how that’s perceived.” This easily opens up dialog for what works and what doesn’t work inside the church . Imagine if we could do that with our political beliefs?
5. The book is a study on how humor–real laugh out loud humor–can be combined with a tenderness that makes you hurt. As someone who can easily put up defenses, Turner uses his humor like a spear, penetrating past the outside layers to make me feel something on the inside.
4. Despite Turner’s obvious wounds, inflicted not only by well-meaning pastor and teachers, but also his parents, Turner isn’t bitter. Matthew’s writing resonates with hope that gives other wounded spirits a way to love and forgive those who’ve hurt them in the name of God.
3. Churched gives you permission to not only look at your past, but to share it with others. That’s why I think this book is especially helpful when read with a group. (Rumor has it Turner is developing a study guide to help with this, check his blog for more information.)
2. While you may not have experienced the Barbie burnings or Satan boxing matches at your church, his outlandish (but true) stories help you to examine your own outlandish (but true) church experiences and perhaps even make sense of them.
And the number one reason why I think this book is important,
1. Turner models a safe way of talking about the good and bad of his own story, what it means to be Churched, and what needs to change. There is no finger-pointing and no recipe of easy answers. Only an invitation to think about your own journey.
With a list of how important I think a book like this is, I run the risk of making it sound boring, I promise you it isn’t. It is a collection of stories that once you start reading you enjoy in just a few hours. But since so many others have commented on how funny the book is and quoted excerpts, I didn’t want you to overlook the potential for a book like this to start a conversation with someone who had a different upbringing than you.
Leave a comment below telling me why you deserve to win Churched, but in the meantime just go ahead and buy a copy because after you read it, I promise you’ll want to share it with someone you know.
One Response to “Why You Should Get Churched (and get it here for free!)”
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