Review: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans + Giveaway

My faith journey is very typical of my millennial generation: I grew up in the church; was hurt by it; found healing in a liturgical environment; stopped going for a while; have found my way back. Obviously details and order may be different, but over and over I hear people with a similar storyline. At my most critical, church seems antiquated and unwilling to consider that change is an important part of growth. At my most generous, I recognize the community that church provides and that most believers really are trying to emulate the message of love Jesus gave his followers.


I’ve connected with Rachel Held Evans‘ blog for many years, as she is an eloquent voice for my generation. I’ve read her other books, but Searching for Sunday is by far her best. It’s a good balance of memoir, theology, church history, and practical observation. Written in an easily accessible style, Searching for Sunday examines Evans’ journey of leaving the church, but not being able to let it go. Evans describes her process of being too immersed in evangelical culture and being unable to ask questions or accept doubt.

What I appreciate most about the book is that Evans doesn’t attempt to speak for an entire generation – she tells her story. But, in doing so, she captures many of the feelings and experiences of the millennial generation. This is not a theology text, but a story of journey and discovery. Anyone who is critical of or curious as to why millennials are leaving the church would benefit from the insights and questions this book brings up.

Evans’ undertone of grace and reconciliation is what makes this book stand out. Rather than simply complaining about how the church has hurt her, she seeks to find restoration in her experience. She never gave up on the idea of church, but just needed to take time to find a space that works for her at the moment. She doesn’t hold one denomination higher than another, but finds hope and love in many different settings. I feel that if the church remembered this – that we are all looking toward the same end, but with a different approach – perhaps so much of the infighting in the Christian church would cease.

As Evans says,

Our differences matter, but ultimately, the boundaries we build between one another are but accidental fences in the endless continuum of God’s grace. (185)

This is a book of hope for the future and one in which I think many Christians will identify.

Tell me about your faith community. What makes it work for you?

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Searching for Sunday. To enter, leave a comment about an experience of searching for the “perfect” community. I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, April 17, 2015. (United States addresses only.)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

9 thoughts on “Review: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans + Giveaway”

  1. I don’t think there is a perfect experience. I didn’t grow up in the church… but I had some friends who wouldn’t give up On me. I have found a church home with a fresh, young pastor who seems to “get it”. Like you, I have been hurt by my “church family” in the past, but learned it is never about me, but about God….

    1. I agree – we’ll never find a perfect community. But, it’s always so freeing to find one that (mostly) meets our needs and helps us meet the needs of others. So glad you have such amazing friends in your life!

  2. Loved your review and cannot wait to read Evans’ book! I think I’ve always searched for the perfect church/community, whether I was aware of it or not. I have finally found myself in a church that allows questions and grace in our differences, and it has been so life giving! No more fear, no more competition, just lots and lots of grace. This is what a ‘perfect’ community looks like – where people come together knowing perfection is not possible but lots of love and grace is.

  3. Love your review and cannot wait to read Evans’ book! I think I have always searched for the perfect church, whether or not I was aware of it at the time. But I have finally found a church/community that allows questions and grace in our differences and it has been so life-giving! No more fear, no more competition, just lots and lots of grace. And I’ve come to believe that’s what the ‘perfect’ community looks like – people coming together knowing that perfection is not possible nor is it our goal, but that love and grace is our aim and purpose. And when we offer love and grace to each other, we find ourselves being set free and living out our Kingdom calling more beautifully and bravely!

    1. I love your acknowledgment of the perfection of imperfection. There is hope in considering a perfect (for me!) community. That’s what I so loved about this book – Evans is really open to the idea that different types of communities are necessary for all different people. I’m so glad that you’ve found a place that affirms questions and grace. It truly is such an life-giving experience.

  4. This is just what I was looking for Annie. I don’t read RHE regularly. I confess to find it too long and bogged down for me at times so I start reading, then skim and then move on. (Sad commentary of me!) But the title of this had me interested and your review lets me know it needs to be on my list. I’ve been in the same church all of my years and on the minister/administration side the past 22 years BUT, there is so much that needs to be changed. I want to know why people are leaving and I want to know we care about this. Yep, you describe the combination of things that pique my interest in a book. Thank you!

    1. Her posts are definitely long!! 😉 I think it’s amazing you’ve been so committed to the same church. We were talking about that the other week at book club and wondering at the balance between finding a place that’s right and committing to a place because there’s such benefit to that discipline as well.

      1. Awesome! Especially glad because my son-in-law emailed to ask if I’d read it and can he borrow it if I’m going to read it. So two of us won!

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