I do not make it a habit to review or recommend books, but reading this book by Rachel Held Evans has made me think that it might well be time to think of changing that policy.

Searching for Sunday is the story of one woman’s journey from her beginnings in the American Evangelical Church tradition through doubt, crises of faith, rejection, despair and hope. It is a very contemporary story of Christian life that has many parallels in the lives of various people I have known. The subtitle of the book is, “Loving, leaving and finding the church,” and I just find that there are so many of us who are living in the very difficult and challenging space between those three verbs.

While Evan’s book ventures into a number of areas of doctrine, theology and especially sacramental practice, it is at it’s heart the story of a personal journey of disruption of what was once taken for granted, the loss and despair that come with that, and an unrelenting faith that prompts her to hold onto what the church can be and not fall into despair. Evan’s very personal journey will definitely find many parallels in the lives of Christians everywhere.

So here is my recommendation: You need to read this book if…

You are someone who is completely committed to the church as it is.

Perhaps you are completely happy with the church as it is. If that is who you are, you need to understand what many people in the church and on the margins of the church are struggling with these days. I’m not sure that there is anyone out there who can show it to you in as compelling and as interesting way as Rachel Held Evans does.

You are someone who is wavering

Maybe you are struggling with the church. Reading Searching for Sunday will reassure you that you are not alone. Evans may even help you to find words for some of the dissatisfaction that you are feeling. It is very helpful to follow in the path of someone who is struggling with the things that you are struggling with.

You are giving up

Maybe you’ve had it with the church. Maybe you just find that it is easier to stay away than it is to deal with the things that cause you frustration, pain or annoyance. I think that you will find this book especially meaningful. Evans can be brutally honest about the flaws of the church, but here is the amazing thing about her writing: the grace of God just continues to shine through. Even when the church had let her down completely, she just can’t stop finding evidence of God’s grace and love. She continues the conversation with the church despite disappointment. I find this very inspiring.
She may be brutally honest, but I’ve got to say that this is one book that gives me more hope for the future of the church than any that I have read in a while. That alone makes it worth the read.