Book Review · Books

Book Connection

Some books you just soak up. I noticed this book at a local used bookstore, but it was a tad pricy hardcover, so I resisted. When I saw it at the library my eyes lit up. I just finished The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. It was a gem filled with gorgeous photos, quotes and interviews with a wide range of individuals. Each section covers a different topic.

I’m not an Oprah groupie by any means, but this book she put together is so inspiring, convicting, educational and eye opening. I definitely want to secure my own copy so I can book tab it all over.

Thank you Oprah for opening your soul and allowing the world to see you fully as you are. You are a wonderful woman who blazes a path ahead for those of us learning to take our first independent spiritual steps.

Book Review · Books

Life At 8mph

I dragged finishing Life At 8mph. I didn’t want this memoir to end. It was too, rich in life to have to get to the last page. This book will have you laughing about every page. The author has a way of describing a scene that is so vivid you just need popcorn while reading.

Peter was needing a new job and saw a job posting at his seminary. Little did Peter realize the adventure he was about to embark on part time. When he arrived to meet Richard he didn’t realize that Richard has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. Richard didn’t let Peter escape with the, “I need to pray about if I should accept this job,” since Richard was a reverend of sorts, so he just offered they prayed together on the spot. This memoir is Peter’s journey helping Richard with seminary classes and day to day things. The adventures these two go on are hilarious, sobering and inspiring.

This book was so satisfying that I hope Peter will write a sequel. If you need a great book on the power of friendship then this is a wonderful book to splurge on, or gift to a new friend. Peter is not preachy, though there are Christian nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout this book.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Life At 8mph by Peter Bowling Anderson from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. I can’t shut up about how much I love this memoir. Now all we need is Richard to write his memoir.

Book Review · Books

Dare To See

This book cover does not do the meat of this book justice. Dare To See is a collection of vignettes from Katie’s life and how God has changed her life. Each chapter is unique and covers different subjects from fitting in at school growing up, to being single and buying your own home, to going through the journey of adoption. Katie writes in such a way you feel as though she’s your best friend sharing with you.

If you are new on your Christian walk, a seasoned believer, or wondering what it all means this is a great book to pick out. Katie shares her faith through the different life stories she shares and doesn’t dumb it down, or go over your head. I found each chapter relatable to my own life and things I have gone through. I am at an interesting place in my faith. This book wasn’t Christianese in verbiage, which could have been triggering for me, so I’d even recommend it to those burnt by the church. This book is actually spiritually comforting.

I received my complimentary copy of Dare To See by Katie Brown from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own will. I don’t have TV (shocking!), so I have never heard of Katie Brown and her TV show, but this woman of faith is the real deal. She is not showy, fake, but genuine in her love for God and her faith story is relatable. I have read a lot of Christian Living books and this one is a new favorite of mine. I look forward to reading more books by Katie.

Book Review · Books

Once You Go In

Some memoirs you read and wonder where has this particular author has been all your life. If you have been disenfranchised by the church, dealt with spiritual abuse, or are wanting to find a different church expression then this book might be calling out to you.

Carly takes you into her homeschooled world of Northern California. She’s always felt different, wanting to belong and one day when she discovers Pine Canyon Assemblies Of God Church she thinks she may have found a place to fit in.

This book is Carly’s journey into the world of the charismatic church. Her descriptions of what the services can be like is spot on and the peer pressure to speak in tongues even when you may think the whole idea to be weird is huge. When Carly does finally speak her special language she describes the spiritual high she gets from it and how everything else in life sort of fades away when she’s in that mode.

I recall when I visited a charismatic church and there was pressure to be slain in the spirit. When the piano player timed the music a little too, planned I sensed the whole sham that I felt it was. Were church goers truly under the Holy Spirit’s power, or was it a false spirit? Is having what looks like seizures truly a move of God, or demonic? I left that service with my charismatic interest snuffed out.

This church is Pentecostal and on fire for Jesus which includes speaking in tongues, long prayers and being monitored by the leadership. It’s all in love right? Carly’s parents are believers, but not as intense as this church body is. She longs for approval and to be seen as worthy, to be as spiritual as her youth pastor’s wife, that befriends her.

When something goes terribly wrong on a mission trip Carly tries to chalk it up to her not listening to the rules for the trip. Other things happen where logically she feels the leadership is being overly legalistic. Carly wants so badly to do the right thing that she brushes off her gut reaction.

How do you know when a church is unhealthy, or spiritually abusive? How do you stand up for yourself when your spiritual leaders have you under their spell of sorts (not an actual spell)? Carly deals with these vital topics and more.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Once You Go In by Carly Gelsinger from She Writes Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own will and mine. I commend Carly for writing so candidly about her church experience and faith journey. It’s not easy to share such personal moments. Thank you for baring your soul, so others know they aren’t alone in their journeys to find their spiritual home, whether that’s in a church or in a park.

Personal

Faith Wrestling

I was raided Christian. I’ve always felt different from others, like an outsider looking in. My mom mentioned to me once that while I was in the NICU she prayed the Holy Spirit would cover/protect me, hence the otherworldly sense I’ve had since I was little. It feels like being set apart, sealed as a believer before consciously coming to faith, converting, etc.

Fast forward decades. I am an adult and have gone through a bad church experience. I haven’t attended consistently since 2009. Yep, 10 years outside the box. It’s interesting stepping outside the Christianese world and glancing in. It’s like looking back at high school and remembering what was popular back then, recalling what you were like back in the day.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can return and trust the church again. My heart would love to, I miss the community aspect, but trusting other believers is a challenge. I haven’t read my Bible in a few years. Maybe I just need to take a step back, away from the verbiage that’s a first language to me.

I want to start from scratch. I still believe in God. I feel like part of the challenge is that Christiandom idolizes the Bible. God is bigger than the Bible, or any other book considered holy. I’ve also, wondered why other books that had been considered part of the cannon were removed, like the book of Enoch that connects the dots on so much. Is it a case of keeping non-clergy in the dark?

I’m still triggered by worship music. It’s sad because I have so many songs I love, but it’s just too, painful to hear them.

Do you struggle in a similar way? If so, feel free to comment or email me.

Personal

RIP RHE

I’m sitting here in shock. We think we are invincible until reality slaps us in the face. An author I admire, whose books helped me know that questions within Christianity are ok has passed this morning. I still remember reading the originally titled Evolving In Monkey Town and how thought provoking it was to read about a believer who understood the need to revisit what you’ve been raised to believe and to carve out your own faith apart from your parent’s faith. She was only sick in the hospital for 2 weeks. Such a short time.

I can’t fathom He took her home. RHE was young with a husband and little kids. She still has books I’m sure she was intending to write. You never plan to go home early (spiritually speaking). I can’t imagine the pure guttural grief her family and close friends going through. I know so many readers out there were praying for her to recover.

This passing is going to take time to process. I didn’t know RHE personally, but her books are such a gift to those who struggle with their faith, church and Christianity in general. Rachel’s books lead me to read Elizabeth Esther’s book, Girl At The End Of The World and Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist. RHE you are leaving quite the legacy. Thank you for writing your heart out, being honest with your own faith journey.

Books

RIP RHE

I’m sitting here in shock. We think we are invincible until reality slaps us in the face. An author I admire, whose books helped me know that questions within Christianity are ok has passed this morning. She was only sick in the hospital for 2 weeks. Such a short time.

I can’t fathom He took her home. RHE was young with a husband and little kids. She still has books I’m sure she was intending to write. You never plan to go home early (spiritually speaking). I can’t imagine the pure guttural grief her family and close friends going through. I know so many readers out there were praying for her to recover.

This passing is going to take time to process. I didn’t know RHE personally, but her books are such a gift to those who struggle with their faith, church and Christianity in general. RHE you are leaving quite the legacy. Thank you for writing your heart out, being honest with your own faith journey.