Year 3, Book 70

70. Sundays in America: A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith by Suzanne Strempek Shea
After reexamining her Catholic faith after the sex scandel, the author spent a year of Sundays visiting different churches across the country. She visited a variety of churches of different denominations and sizes. I found the book entirely fascinating. Because she is covering 52 different churches in about 300 pages the entry on each church is fairly short, but they all provided a good glimpse of her experience at the church as well as background on either the denomination, the church itself, or both. Her basic conclusion was that faith and its practice is a very personal thing and a church that appeals to one person may not appeal to another. I found myself pretty much agreeing with her opinions on various churches based on her descriptions of their services and literature.

She sums up her experience by saying this:
“I don’t know what the others are finding in their travels, but the past year has distilled for me the qualities I’d need in a new church home: a community that welcomed me warmly, didn’t give a whit about my politics or lifestyle, gave tons of whits about the social justice needs locally and beyond, contained little-to-no hierarchy, allowed congregants a say in decisions large and small, offered a spiritual message inspired by love rather than by fear, and did all this in an art-filled space that range with awesome music.”

She says that says that no church is perfect and none of the ones she visited met all her criteria but some met the most important ones. If you’ve read my blog at all in the past you should be able to tell that her ideal church comes pretty close to mine. As she says no church is perfect, and I don’t think mine is either but it comes pretty close to meeting all my ideals for a church. Definitely a recommended read for anyone interested in seeing how people practicing the same religion of Christianity can do it completely different ways. I give it an 8 out of 10.

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