Book Review – Churched (One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess)

Churched (One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess)

by Matthew Paul Turner

Waterbrook Press

When Matthew was five years old his parents left the Methodist church to become independent fundamentalist Baptist. This book is a collection of musing stories of church, life, and how it was seen and perceived by a kid. The book started a little slow for me but by chapter three I was cracking up. Growing up in conservative churches I could identify with many of the stories.

Some of my favorite stories include:

  1. How when you were 11 years and 364 days old you were not accountable for your sins but as soon as you turned 12 you would go to hell for them.
  2. Pastor Nolan’s boxing matches with the devil.
  3. Pirate Pete’s explanation of why Whitney Houston was the devil.
  4. Mr. Neleg’s rants on how evil the world was.
  5. How Jesus at the Baptist church wanted boys to have short hair.
  6. When he asked if the angles danced when someone got saved the pastor responded, “Angles don’t dance when they get excited. That would make them demons (55).”
  7. Pastor Nolan having people close their eyes during the invitation and ask people to raise their hand if they wanted to be saved and although he saw no hands raised Pastor Nolan still counted 5 salvations.

Here is my favorite quote of the whole book

I thought the devil was easy to spot when I was younger. To me, he stuck out like a black dot on a white sheet of paper. I’d be minding my own business and all of a sudden – boo!- Satan jumped out from behind a corner like he was a jack in the box. He sought out ways to devour me, tempt me, or get me to take up smoking. I was trained in Sunday school to spot the devil. My teachers told me to watch out for roaring lions, disgruntled angles, women wearing low cut blouses, and Billy Graham. Those were sure signs that Satan could be close (page 109).

This book will keep you laughing as long as you don’t take things too seriously. The only thing I thought the book lacked was in the ending he tells about his life now. It seems that he skips from age 17 to 30 without sharing several details that I would liked to know. I wish I knew more about his faith struggles after high school and how he has tried to work through them. You get a small dose but left me wanting.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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