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Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (2015)

by Rachel Held Evans

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7953727,748 (4.15)14
Christian Nonfiction. Religion & Spirituality. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

Are you struggling to connect with your church community? Do you find yourself questioning the core beliefs that you once held dear? Searching for Sunday, from New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans is a heartfelt ode to the past and a hopeful gaze into the future of what it means to be a part of the modern 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 scandalsâ??to her, it was beginning to feel like church culture was too far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing Evans back to church.

Evans found herself wanting to better understand the church and find her place within it, so she set out on a new adventure. Within the pages of Searching for Sunday, Evans catalogs her journey as she loves, leaves, and finds the church once again.

Evans tells the story of her faith through the lens of seven sacraments of the Catholic churchâ??baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, the anointing of the sick, and marriageâ??to teach us the essential truths about what she's learned along the way, including:

  • Faith isn't just meant to be believed, it's meant to be lived and shared in community
  • Christianity isn't a kingdom for the worthyâ??it's a kingdom for the hungry, the broken, and the imperfect
  • The countless and beautiful ways that God shows up in the ordinary parts of our daily lives
  • Searching for Sunday will help you unpack the messiness of community, teaching us that by overcoming our cynicism, we can all find hope, grace, love, and, somewhere in between,… (more)

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    » See also 14 mentions

    Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
    The structure of this book is, to me, somewhat odd: a mixed salad of personal memoir and impersonal theological/religious sermonizing. I found the former considerably more interesting than the latter, which I sometimes skimmed over, though she's a fine writer coming from a sympathetic theological place so it was all pretty agreeable. But it's her personal story of growing up in a very conservative evangelical situation and struggling hard with doubts about it, leading to her sometimes bitter estrangement from her tradition of birth (that World Vision episode... ugh) and transformation into a theologically "liberal" advocate that's the attention-getter here, isn't it.

    Obviously, lots of people identify with her falling out with church, as the popularity of her blog and the steadily declining percentage of the US population identifying as Christian in surveys both prove. Plenty of those people just walk away and leave it all behind them, but others struggle with their doubts and faith, attend various churches in irregular starts and stops, and perhaps find online communities, such as her blog, that wrestle with these questions. Sometimes, like her, they even find the Episcopal Church (we welcome you!).

    Her personal journey is quite interesting then, especially to the extent that it may reflect the changing attitudes of the younger generation of evangelicals as opposed to the attitudes of their parents' generations. I personally view evidence of these changes with great hope, though it's of course wrenching for many, which Evans communicates with great effect.

    Ultimately, she finds, it's the stuff of the body, not the intellect, that draw her back to church. It's the primacy of the doing over the believing. It's the sacraments. It's the community.
    When my faith had become little more than an abstraction, a set of propositions to be affirmed or denied, the tangible, tactile nature of the sacraments invited me to touch, smell, taste, hear, and see God in the stuff of everyday life again. They got God out of my head and into my hands. They reminded me that Christianity isn't meant to simply be believed; it's meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people.
    This is my experience as well. As much as I esteem the intellect, I did not feel closer to God and my neighbors when I was sitting at home doubting the particulars of Christian theology than I do when I attend church and come to the communion table. To paraphrase an advertising slogan, "Just Go and Do It". To quote a (Episcopal) priest at the communion table, "So come, you who have much faith and you who have little. Come, because God invites you." ( )
      lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
    Evans is a doubter, and there are not enough of her kind in the world. True faith is strengthened and informed by healthy doubt. She tells the story of her doubt, in its infancy during her young life in an Evangelical tradition, all the way through her blogging and many writing/research projects, constantly searching for what true faith looks like. Through each section, as she illuminates different traditional forms of worship, she identifies the true nature of spiritual practice, deciding churches are better as honest places for people to share their tribulation rather than whitewashed spaces for magical thinking and shallow divisiveness.

    Evans' journey is inspiring and thought provoking, and her struggles should be extremely recognizable for all those who've lived through any kind of spiritual abuse or shame. It's refreshing to find someone comfortable with the human condition, in all its frailty and messiness, and arrive at the conclusion that it's just what modern-day religion needs more of.

    Highly Recommended!!!!!
    5 bones!!!!! ( )
      blackdogbooks | Sep 25, 2023 |
    Starting my day with the voice of Held Evans—her questions, observations, humor, frustration, and wisdom—reminds me at the top of the day why good writing matters. Enough of her faith journey resonates with and parallels mine so that I nod and sigh, while much of her personal experience and critical thinking are so fresh and different that I pay attention.

    I too know that when it comes to my life of faith, I often feel as if I'm too much or not enough. Rachel reminded me that I am not alone.

    A one or two chapters rolled by without big ah-has, but most chapters left me surprised, unsettled, or pondering in the best possible way and sparked a few lively breakfast conversations. ( )
      rebwaring | Aug 14, 2023 |
    2.5 ⭐️ — RHE has an absolutely wonderful writing style; however, I can’t fully agree with her theology where it does not align with God’s Word. Loving people is of definite importance, but loving others also means not letting them continue in their sin without sharing the truth with them (in love of course) as well. ( )
      aebooksandwords | Jul 29, 2023 |
    Rating: 4 stars of 5

    Rachel was a fantastic storyteller with a gift for putting sentences together in beautiful ways. Her poignant words in this book often left me sitting and staring off into the distance as I thought through some truth she had shared that caused me to pause and reflect for a few moments.

    Searching for Sunday is presented as a memoir of Rachel’s journey through seasons of disillusionment with and love for the church. People who can relate to her story will likely find inspiration and communion in it. ( )
      erindarlyn | Jan 21, 2023 |
    Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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    To Amanda—the little sister I look up to and the person who makes me most hopeful about the future of the church.

    And to the community of the blog—I wrote every word of the book for you.
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    Christian Nonfiction. Religion & Spirituality. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

    Are you struggling to connect with your church community? Do you find yourself questioning the core beliefs that you once held dear? Searching for Sunday, from New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans is a heartfelt ode to the past and a hopeful gaze into the future of what it means to be a part of the modern 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 scandalsâ??to her, it was beginning to feel like church culture was too far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing Evans back to church.

    Evans found herself wanting to better understand the church and find her place within it, so she set out on a new adventure. Within the pages of Searching for Sunday, Evans catalogs her journey as she loves, leaves, and finds the church once again.

    Evans tells the story of her faith through the lens of seven sacraments of the Catholic churchâ??baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, the anointing of the sick, and marriageâ??to teach us the essential truths about what she's learned along the way, including:

    Faith isn't just meant to be believed, it's meant to be lived and shared in community Christianity isn't a kingdom for the worthyâ??it's a kingdom for the hungry, the broken, and the imperfect The countless and beautiful ways that God shows up in the ordinary parts of our daily lives

    Searching for Sunday will help you unpack the messiness of community, teaching us that by overcoming our cynicism, we can all find hope, grace, love, and, somewhere in between,

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