Thursday, October 16, 2008

Churched: Book Review

Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner reminded me of my own childhood memories from growing up in the church; like the multiple invitations of Jesus into my heart and being kicked out of my 5th grade Sunday school class.

Turner is a blogger, speaker and author of The Coffeehouse Gospel, Provocative Faith, Beatitude: Relearning Jesus, and recently released Churched. He has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single magazines and was the former editor of CCM magazine. He can be found online at

Turner recounts several scenes from childhood on his journey to becoming a good fundamentalist. Without much effort he points out many of the contradictions to the bible he learns from Sunday school teachers and preacher. It doesn’t seem to be his goal to place blame on anyone, but rather reminisce and laugh about some of the odd things he learned as a child. With these stories he accurately describes these experiences and holds the readers attention throughout because it invokes personal memories of the reader. The prelude caught my attention immediately, because Turner describes a fire breathing Jesus tattoo. At the time, we were working on the "Soul Ink" sermon series, so I was hooked! A couple of my favorite quotes are:
“Imagining God as anything less or more than how Pastor Nolan described him was a borderline abomination. I suppose that’s why a green and orange Jesus was ridiculous to Mrs. Snover. Coloring outside the lines was a chance no one was willing to take.” -Concerning a picture of Jesus that was colored by Matthew, instead of completely white.
“…I thought it sounded like a painful procedure, one that might involve a shot or stitches. I didn’t like pain or blood…I wasn’t sure I wanted the Son of God building a condo inside one of my atriums. I did learn one thing about having Jesus as a bodily tenant: he would not tolerate cigarette smoke.” -Concerning the processes of inviting Jesus into one’s heart
I couldn’t think of how to phrase it until I read this by Jason Boyett in reference to Churched, “…it's worth reading just for the chance to see someone refuse to be defined by his past, and learn to grow beyond that past without getting angry or bitter.” That is completely the way I felt about the book. Turner’s angle was such that once you read the stories, you just sit back think about your own childhood and laugh. It is not your typical "theologically deep" book, but worth the time and effort to read. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Again, congratulations to Cassie, your copy of Churched is on its way. Don’t forget to check the book out here.

God Bless.

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