Some of those who are in my small group might wonder why I am reviewing this book before we have read it. The truth is I read the first chapter and could not put it down after. Rachel Held Evans has honestly and provocatively captured how I and many others feel about the church (lower caps for a reason).
We love the Church, but have not seen much of it in the churches around us. We hope for churches whose first priority is love and compassion. Who are here to transform the world. Bring the kingdom. But realize that even they themselves are in no way perfect. Rachel and I both want, I think, the same thing: a messy Church.
Her book is shaped around seven sacraments: baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing the sick, and marriage. Discussing each both theologically and then placing it in the real world. Confession was one of my personal favorites. Rachel shows how confession is about us understanding our place in the universe. We are not perfect, but neither is the church. The church needs to confess as well, the church needs forgiveness and repair. The church needs help.
I am so encouraged after reading this book in two ways. First, that there are others out in the world who see and believe the same things I do. The other is that there is hope. Rachel, I believe, would never say their is no hope for the church (or the Church). Even through the hurt and pain their is always Jesus pushing us along, picking us up and moving us forward.
And it’s always nice to be reminded.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”