Friday, November 25, 2011

Churched by Matthew Paul Turner

This book was a near perfect combination of hilarity and sincerity. Written through the eyes of his childhood, Mr. Turner reveals the absolute ridiculousness of how the church can work so hard and miss so badly in their approach to following God. I laughed out loud throughout the entire book, due to how well Mr. Turner tells the stories and because the stories captured perfectly the church I grew up in and the church I had my first full time ministry job in. It is obvious that the book was written from a good place, and not one of bitterness and disillusionment, which shined through and kept the laughs rolling. It is incredibly refreshing to see someone who experienced the full goofiness of the church, in its legalism and moral spankings, and still find Jesus to be the center of their life and more compelling than ever. I often felt like I was sitting at the dinner table with the Turner family as Matthew weaves through story upon story of how the church can create the wildest and most over the top bubble land you can imagine. The book felt like a Seinfeld episode for those in church world, everything exaggerated and completely ludicrous, and yet so full of humanity and honesty that leaves you thinking, "that's gotta be true, because you can't make stuff like that up!" The church needs writers like Matthew Paul Turner, and humanity needs them so as to see that Christians can laugh at themselves and recognize that, yes, we sometimes veer off course. This is where I would've liked a bit more from Mr. Turner, how did you turn the page in your faith? The last chapter, Benediction, let us know that he is doing OK, that he survived the holy mess, but we don't know what helped him get there. I would love to know how, who and what it looked like pushing through to the other side. You can laugh at your childhood, which is excellent, but tell me a little bit more about that small church where you found a beautiful, healthy community. Because Mr. Turner writes with such hilarity and humanity, I would've liked to hear that side of the story as well, and I can only hope it incoming in his next writing.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

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