Friday, October 10, 2008

Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess

I've been reading Matthew Paul Turner's excellent book Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner. I finished it last night. It was a quick read, but it kept dragging me down rabbit trails of memories. I could so relate to this book. I love Matthew's humor and ability to express and expose the absurdity of things without being offensive.

However, while I found the book engaging and quite entertaining, I was quite surprised at the emotions the book invoked in me. Wow.

I felt the fear - the fear used to motivate. I felt the judgment. I felt the stress of having to look perfect. The anxiety that I might do something wrong and be rejected or reprimanded. I literally felt that. I thought I escaped it, but apparently it still has some power over me. And that is scary!

A whole range of emotions came flooding back as I read Churched! Yes, it was funny - at times laugh out loud funny. Unbelievable, and outrageously funny. This can so not be true funny! Yet I felt humiliated. Like people, (myself included) were laughing at me. I thought I had escaped all that! I had even passed on those same kind of silly stories and laughed at our hubris. Our superiority.
How absurd it all sounded. How stupid. How crazy.
Yet how familiar, how normal.......

I don't know what else to say. Or how to say it. I'm uncomfortable. Exposed. Some pages brought tears. It's amazing how deeply ingrained in me this is. Even though it's crazy, weird and not logical, it's........normal?

With my new lenses, I laugh. I understand why, as a group, we were laughed at, made fun of, stereotyped. I understand why I ran. I understand the bigger picture. I see the absurdity. I see the shallowness of the rules. The audacity of having all the answers. I feel the legalism biting at my heels.

Turned inward instead of outward. Exclusive instead of inclusive. Judgmental instead of accepting. Perfection instead of messiness. Out instead of In. Withdrawn from instead of living with.

A black and white island in a Technicolor world.

Wow! This book is so dead on! If you are tempted to dismiss it as exaggeration, don't. I'm here to tell you it's not. So laugh, if you must, I did! And then reach out with love to your brothers - even if they don't return the favor!


Amber said...

I'm a fan of MPT's blog and I am looking forward to reading Churched. Without having read the book yet, I can still truly relate to the things you're saying about what it was like to be a member of such a cut-and-dry, black-and-white, we-have-all-the-answers group. How fortunate I feel in "having new eyes"!

Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

Thank you for the comment to my blog. I have been able to pick it up again, then had to put it down again!!! I really thought I was healed emotionally...guess I only dealt with one issue and there were more!
I will be sure to let you know when I am fully through...and healed!!!
Can I ask what type of church you are in now? We have been in my hubs home church for the last 12 yrs but considering changing due to some teen issues in the house!