The book Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite A Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner is essentially a comedic, autobiography of his life raised in the American church and how it scarred his life forever.
A blurb from his website about himself actually describes the book in whole:
There were two streams of thought that ran throughout Turner’s upbringing: the first being that the outside world was evil; and the second being that someone (or some thing)—the devil, Democrats, Disney, Hollywood, the ACLU, Catholics, tobacco, alcohol—were out to destroy Bible-believing evangelicals. Evil was around every corner, the world was going up in flames, and it was up to the redeemed to stand firm.
If you are looking for a book with life altering spiritual meaning or deep theological content for your Seminary paper, you might invest your time better elsewhere. If you enjoy novels of Christian satire from a child’s perspective, this is perfect for you. Unfortunately, I went in with a mindset that this would be an informative book for how to engage students in the Church who are looking for purpose, structure, and/or meaning in their lives. At the same time, I am in a stage of life where I am sick of hearing endlessly about how the Church is messed up without a follow through of ideas on how we can fix or begin to mend the situation. This left me with a bad impression of the book where in other situations with an open heart, would have found this humorous and inviting to read.
The book had great quips that made me chuckle and brought about memories of my own life where this “church thing” just did not seem to measure up correctly. Being a pastor’s kid, I can say that I have gone through a couple of these things as well, but come out of it with a deep appreciation of authentic Church that I would not give up for anything. He does approach his faith with humor, honesty, and the awareness that the answers aren’t as easy as traditional fundamentalism seems to portray them, but shines an extremely negative light on Christian families as well as tradition without giving cause to offer any kind of defense to why they conducted church as they did. I think his points about fundamentalism are genuine and in many ways correct and need to be stated, but in a fair context that gives light to the reasoning for their actions that is consistently lacking throughout the entire book.
Overall, I give the book a 2 out of 5.