Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
He spent his childhood trapped within the confines of countless bizarre, strict rules. And lived to tell about it. In this first-hand account, author Matthew Paul Turner shares amusing - sometimes cringe-worthy - and poignant stories about growing up in a fundamentalist household, where even well-intentioned contemporary Christian music was proclaimed to be "of the devil".
Churched is a collection of stories that detail an American boy's experiences growing up in a culture where men weren't allowed to let their hair grow to touch their ears ("an abomination"), women wouldn't have been caught dead in a pair of pants (unless swimming), and the pastor couldn't preach a sermon without a healthy dose of hellfire and brimstone. Matthew grapples with the absurdity of a Sunday School Barbie burning, the passionate annual boxing match between the pastor and Satan, and the holiness of being baptized a fifth time - while growing into a young man who, amidst the chaotic mess of religion, falls in love with Jesus.
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 53 minutes|
|Author||Matthew Paul Turner|
|Narrator||Matthew Paul Turner|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 03, 2011|
|Publisher||Matthew Paul Turner|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #298,027 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#47 in Christian Biographies (Audible Books & Originals)
#9,008 in Christian Living (Audible Books & Originals)
#13,709 in Religious Leader Biographies
Top reviews from the United States
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All of these qualities are present in "Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess." It's about growing up in a fundamentalist Baptist family and church (and not a Southern Baptist church, mind you, those liberal heretics!). And after the first two chapters I stopped counting how many times I laughed out loud.
Turner covers it all - attending the church for the first time; fighting to stay awake during the sermon (not only a fundamentalist problem); getting his first Baptist haircut; attending the church school; home visits by the pastor; the trials of a Sunday School teacher who's asked if God wears clothes; eating Jesus cookies. It's all there.
"Fundamentalism made me weird," Turner writes. "I wasn't alone. It made lots of people weird. But I believe some people at my church believed that was the point, that somewhere in the Bible, Jesus declared, `Blessed are the weird.' Our weirdness was a form of obedience unto God."
As weird as it may have made him, fundamentalism also shaped him in other ways, and it was surprising to see what emerges from behind the humor and the edginess: tenderness, caring and affection. You see this most directly when he talks about his parents. There's a lot of love there.
It wasn't all weird.
"Churched" is a humorous, sometimes painful, look at how religion can turn rules and boot-camp mentality into a substitute for a relationship with the living God. Matthew Paul Turner is not out to point fingers, so much as to encourage others who have survived this craziness. He talks about the "sins" of long hair on men, of backward masking in music, and the little lies that are so important for surviving in a religious atmosphere. He deals with this fear-based mentality and nudges us toward an understanding of a God who hates sin, yes, but who also loves people of all colors, ilks, and sizes--even those dreaded Presbyterians, Catholics, and, gasp, smokers. The black Catholic woman he meets while on an evangelizing foray (with goodies as a reward for converts) serves as a beautiful example of what real church and real life with Jesus should be about.
Turner made me laugh out loud, wince, feel ashamed, and also elated. He details his own journey through this holy mess with the harmless honesty and humor of little Ralphie in "A Christmas Story," innocent, mischievous, and full of dry wit and wisdom. This is a journey worth taking.
I related with almost every word of this book. And here is what I loved most: It was respectful. I assumed the author would tell of his ridiculous past and then of his eventual wild rebellion from God and religion altogether until he was eventually won back through some divine moment with Jesus. I was therefore really impressed with the reserved ending, and again, related so well. The author describes fundamentalism with great respect, despite the amazing humor. He tells stories that will shock many readers, i.e., "How could anyone tell a little child that?" But he doesn't describe them with any hint of bitterness or hatred. They are matter of fact, and we even see the way he basically believed the teachings and followed them even when they didn't make him particularly comfortable.
His journey reminds me of my own in that somehow God became very real to the author even in that "holy mess" as the book describes. Though I understood by the end that Turner no longer pursues the fundamental denomination, there is no story of his breaking from it. You understand by the writing voice throughout that he walked away, and frankly, you're so happy for him.
I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone. Christians need to read it and examine what they are teaching children, what they believe about Christ, and whether or not the two are truly compatible.