Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans Download (read online) free eBook

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans comes a book that is both a heartfelt ode to the past and hopeful gaze into the future of what it means to be a part of the Church.

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 se

Robert Durough, Jr.

Apr 08, 2015

rated it
it was ok

Rachel Held Evans is a blogger with a substantial following, from what I hear, though I’ve not read any of her posts. In fact, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church is the first bit of writing I’ve read of Rachel’s. Friends who speak positively about her (those who know her and those who read her) tend to be of the same theological cloth—promote ordination of women as leaders in churches and promote the acceptance of homosexual relationships in the church; those who speak

Though there are obviously people who love this book and offer positive reviews, I did not find it particularly helpful or entertaining. The chapters are organized into sacramental sections, though it’s not always clear how or if many of the chapters fit anywhere in the book, let alone under their subheadings. I think it’s supposed to be memoir, but it’s quickly apparent that this is turning into a narrated lecture with moments of “shock-and-awe” language and imagery. (Perhaps this is what readers of her blog enjoy and are used to.) Sure, we all have hang-ups and frustrations with our churches, but there are a number of positive books for working through that struggle.

From the start, Rachel hammers her frustration, anger, and sadness over churches that deny the ordination of women and do not accept homosexual relationships, eventually stating it quite plainly: “There are denominations of which I cannot in good conscience be a part because they ban women from the pulpit and gay and lesbian people from the table” (184). There’s much more to the book, but this point is made so often (some more forcefully than others) that it overwhelms anything else she has to say. Rachel shares her struggle of not finding a church wherein she can revel in problems and doubt (except for wrestling with her battle cry—that must be fully accepted, as noted), eventually leaving public gatherings altogether while still touring and discussing her faith with churches and other organizations. For one with a broad understanding of denominational distinctives, it’s obvious after the first few chapters that, if she lands in another church, she would find the Episcopalians, though she concludes the book without any real recognition of “finding the church,” contrary to the book’s subtitle. It appears Rachel is still searching.

If the reader is in favor of the aforementioned hammering, then he or she will probably like the book; if not, then it’s probably going to be a difficult read. Either way, I just don’t think it would be at all helpful for those struggling with frustration, doubt, and questions in and about the church. If one argues that the intended purpose is not to guide but to describe, then I would suggest another look at the text.

(In Rachel’s defense, she notes in the introduction that she did not want to write this book, even losing a bit of it to a spilt chai on her computer, but was pushed by her publisher to do it.)

Not recommended…but…

I pray for blessings on Rachel and others with similar struggles as they continue searching; may we all lovingly engage in a healthy wrestling with questions, doubts, one another, and God.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jessica Brazeal

Mar 18, 2015

rated it
it was amazing


This was the perfect book for me in the present moment. If I said nothing else about Rachel Held Evans’ new book ‘Searching for Sunday,’ I would say this: this book made me feel like I am not alone.

I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of ‘Searching for Sunday’ and I am so very grateful. This book hit the spot in my heart that has been so wounded, so hurt, and so incredibly scared and spoke words that comforted, validated, and encouraged. This book made me feel hopeful and brav

I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of ‘Searching for Sunday’ and I am so very grateful. This book hit the spot in my heart that has been so wounded, so hurt, and so incredibly scared and spoke words that comforted, validated, and encouraged. This book made me feel hopeful and brave.

The timing could not have been better. I had the privilege of meeting Rachel just a week before I began reading. She spoke at a conference that the agency where I work hosts and I got the chance to spend an evening talking with Rachel over dinner the night before she presented. You know those times where you meet someone new and realize that there are kindred spirits all around that you may never realize until you meet one of them by chance? That’s what happened. Rachel and I began counting all the many things we shared in common and the very similar belief systems that we come from. I think at one point at dinner we decided we were brain twins.

I loved this, not just because I made a new friend, but because a week later when I read her comforting words, they meant all the more. They were not only the words that I needed to hear, but they were now being told to me by someone I knew and trusted. That is a game changer.

I won’t give you a summary of the book because you can get that on Amazon. Instead, I will tell you my experience with this book. Over and over I found myself underlining and writing in the margins and getting the chills and talking out loud to the book in response. This book very much felt like a manifesto to me. They were the words that I had been thinking and feeling and longing to have understood by another person. And Rachel does understand because it is her story too.

I have extensive history with the conservative evangelical church and I went to a seminary of the same background. In the middle of that time in my life, I began working at an agency serving a population of abused individuals. In getting to know my clients, I learned that their experiences had been minimized, marginalized, and silenced in so many ways, over and over again, and very often by the church. I won’t even begin to truly describe how very deeply that has affected me personally, but needless to say, I was desperate for another Christian person to acknowledge the truths and realities and inconsistencies in the Church that I was seeing.

And that, in so many ways, is what Rachel does in this book. She acknowledges the hurt and the pain and the questions and the doubt and the fact that all of these are okay, that none of these things are too big for God to handle, and that it is right and good that we would be affected when we spot injustices in this world.

At a time where I very much have not felt like buying what the Church is selling, ‘Searching for Sunday’ made me remember why I love Jesus and why His message is the message that I believe in. It has reminded me that if we love God and love people, we are doing okay. It has reminded me that LOVE, more than anything else, is what is required of us.

I don’t want to have to choose. I believe that God made my brain and God made my heart and that the idea was not for me to use just one in living my faith. I want to use both. That’s the only way it’s gonna work for me.

Please read this book. Please let this book affect you. Let it in. Consider it. And let’s consider being a people, a Church, that is known by our love. That is, in fact, what Jesus suggested. I think we should take Him up on it.