Book Review: Churched

I was excited at the chance to review this new memoir (of sorts) from Matthew Paul Turner for two reasons: first, it sounded funny, and secondly, he lives in Nashville. My twelve years during especially formative years were spent in the buckle of the bible belt, and I've heard little in the way of organized social commentary on it.

Turner winds through his childhood memories of being a part of a very fundamentalist church, from his first time visiting the church, when he enjoyed the smell of the floors, to his graduation where he is given the uneasy distinction of "most Christ-like". It's a very enjoyable read, and will cause most kids who grew up in the church to recall memories that might have lain buried for many years. In particular, his stories of burning a barbie in Sunday School to simulate hell and of his friend's mom's heroic attempts to block the dirty parts of Ben Hur, are particularly enjoyable.

It does give you pause as to the nature of your own upbringing and inevitably asks how one should bring up kids within Christian families. It's an important question, and the manner in which Turner exposes the blunders of his own childhood magnifies this. He does occassionally peel back the fundamentalist veneer to expose some of the true hopes and motivations behind those people in his life who were the most well-meaning. However, there is no conclusion that lends to a useful solution, and the reader is left to their own in order to find the suitable alternative. A brief epilogue gives some concluding reflections, but Turner gives the overall impression that he is still wrestling with synthesizing all these experiences. It's possible that the writing experience was cathartic for the author, and it will be entertaining and somewhat thought-provoking for the reader, but a few more years of deliberation and growth might bring about some conclusion and application that would bring the optimal response to this story.

Here's the link.


Anonymous said...

I see that you have a photo of an Anne of Green Gables book and I want you to know that I loaned out some of mine. They are my favorites and the person has not return them. Boo hoo, I am sad because now i don't have a full collection any more and I can't remember who I gave them to enjoy. Mom