11.28.2008

Book Review - CHURCHED


Churched by Matthew Paul Turner

I grew up in an Independent, Fundamental, Bible-Believing, KJV only, Baptist Church. Say that title while yelling with a southern accent, and you will hear the sounds of my childhood. I've had many, many conversations with others that have grown up in the same kind of churches, and most of the time, you hear a lot of the same things: legalism, condemnation, judging, etc. Those are most certainly the negatives, but there were also positives. I came to know my Savior, and I learned, early on, the magnitude of evangelism. The only problem, is that it never went too far beyond that. Exclusivity seemed to be the dominant factor. You honestly didn't feel too welcome or comfortable, unless you fell in line and became one of us. I do thank God for my parents raising me in church. That's huge, but I have chosen a different path in church selection for myself and my family.
Long before I heard about this book, God had birthed in me a burden for a new type of people to minister to: the "churched." Churches have definitely identified the mission of reaching unchurched, but what about those who have had bad experiences within the church, and have walked away with no intention to return? So, when I found out about this book, I couldn't wait to read it. I definitely was not disappointed.
The book Churched reads like a fiction book, except that it's unfortunately true. The accounts of this poor guy's upbringing in the aforementioned type of baptist church was definitely hilarious, sad, and relatable. There's everything from burning barbie dolls in childrens church to burning secular CD's in the youth group. One of my favorite descriptions was of the annual boxing match between Satan and the pastor of the church. I experienced something similar at a VBS growing up.
Do I recommend this book to everyone? I'd have to say no. If you grew up in this kind of church and have no real big complaints about it, you probably will be offended and turned off, because it pulls no punches, and is laced with sarcasm.
I would not call this a "Christian self-help book". It's more of a very humorous and entertaining memoir of a boy caught in the middle of what he calls, "a holy mess." I laughed out loud several times, because I could actually see what he was talking about. I had been in most of these situations, and some I had completely forgotten about. I too remember getting saved every time they would show the frightening end times films from the 70's. If you remotely relate to what I've said, I would highly recommend this book. Not only is it a spot-on trip to the past, but Matthew Paul Turner is a very gifted writer, which makes this a book you just can't put down.

Here's a picture from his blog of him and his sister back in the "churched" days:

1 comment:

Eric said...

I will have to check it out. Thanks for the review.

E