Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mini-Reviews: Forgiven by Terri Roberts and Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

From Goodreads:
On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face.

But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy.
I knew this would be a sad story, but I didn't expect to bawl my eyes out through the entire thing.  It's so sad, but also so beautiful.  I feel like Roberts' story is just unparalleled.  I remember when this happened, but somehow I missed the coverage of the Amish response to the shooting, so I was unprepared for how supernaturally kind and forgiving they were to the Roberts family.  It's a beautiful portrait of grace and how God can empower us to go so far beyond what our human hearts feel capable of.  I highly recommend this one and will be buying several copies to give as gifts this Christmas.

Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn't want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals--church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she set out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it.

Centered around seven sacraments, Evans' quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.

A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church.
Another one that will rip your heart right out - I also cried through the entirety of this book.  I follow Evans' blog and love her ideas and writing style, so I grabbed this one as soon as I had the chance.  I could so strongly identify with her choice to both leave church and return to church, as it's something I've also gone through in the last five years or so.  She has such beautiful and honest stories about the pain and beauty of being a part of the Church and what that means.  It's another that I'll be buying my own copy of as well as passing around to everyone I know.

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