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Not Sure: A Pastor's Journey from Faith to Doubt
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Not Sure: A Pastor's Journey from Faith to Doubt

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  50 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In 2002, while touring North America with his wife in an RV, John Suk -- lifelong Christian, longtime pastor, and noted leader in the Christian Reformed Church -- experienced a crippling crisis of faith. He emerged from that dark time with a strange new gift -- doubt.

In Not Sure Suk takes readers on an eyes-wide-open, deeply personal voyage through the past and present of
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 2nd 2011 by Eerdmans
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Robin Groothuis
Sep 24, 2014 Robin Groothuis rated it it was amazing
This was a tough read for me in the way it was a "tough write" for John Suk. I, too, come out of the CRC tradition, but unlike John, I was not raised in "the tribe." My dad is a now-retired CRC pastor but worked mostly in non-traditional Home Missions parishes, so I was "of but not IN the tribe". I appreciate the author's weaving of the church's historical narrative and his own personal journeys, especially his willingness to offer up examples of his shortcomings and awkward epiphanies along the ...more
Oct 05, 2013 Randy rated it it was ok
This was a hard book for me to read, being at the same time heartbreaking and mystifying. It was heartbreaking because the pain, stress, and loneliness that the author, John Suk, has experienced over the last fifteen or twenty years is laid bare on many of the pages. I believe him when he writes that doubt is not something he chose, but is more like a virus that he caught. Nevertheless I was also puzzled by his description of the faith he can no longer embrace, which was replaced by a large mea ...more
Brandon Haan
Mar 04, 2013 Brandon Haan rated it really liked it
This was an extremely interesting book. I'm actually a student at the same seminary where Suk himself was trained to be a pastor, so much of what he wrote in the book is well-known and applicable to me.

I was certainly intrigued by his approach. Throughout the book Suk sketches out how the West's relationship with Christian belief and faith mirrors his own personal development: enchanted, oral faith became literate, modern, and scholastic faith, which has now eroded into post-modernism and secon
Roy Howard
In her now famous TED talk, Brene Brown spoke about the power of vulnerability to sustain a whole life. That talk received over 4 million hits. John Suk understands the importance of living an honest life, which is another way of speaking of vulnerability. He writes of his movement from secure (mostly unquestioned) faith through a dismantling of faith to an embrace of doubt. Agnosticism receives a clear eyed affirmation. There is something predictable about this path but not in the way Suk tells ...more
John Medendorp
Jul 14, 2014 John Medendorp rated it really liked it
Shelves: church-work
I liked this book much more than I expected. It is at times winsome, thoughtful, tragic, and critical. Offers important critiques for ministry in the CRC that ought to be heard and heeded. I thought the challenges Suk pointed to were accurate, especially the issues of changing learning styles and our society's interaction with technology. I thought his solutions to those problems, however, were less than satisfying.
I highly recommend this book for pastors. It offers a strong critique of the chur
Ed Visser
Jul 21, 2013 Ed Visser rated it really liked it
I took my time reading this book -- not because it was academically difficult; it was an easy read in that sense, but there were many times I found John was poking in sensitive areas of my own life. So I would read then reflect. I'm going to read it again before saying anything else.
Marie Butson
Mar 02, 2015 Marie Butson rated it it was amazing
Coming out of the CRC as a youngster, I get John's background and train of thought. Read this after reading an editorial he wrote on the goal of the Christian life, how the evangelical version ("personal relationship with Jesus" vs. living in the kingdom, or even the Westminster confession "enjoying God and serving him forever") can be a semantic disconnect for some of us. I appreciate the historical background and how he unfolds his experience. After a rough patch, the last chapter was soothing ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, bio-memoir
This was an engaging read that creatively combined a personal memoir of faith with the history of Christianity since the Middle Ages (that sounds like it wouldn't work, but it is actually pretty clever).

I really appreciated that Suk had done his research for the historical aspects of the book, while at the same time translating some very intellectual ideas into more distilled and accessible language. I read it along with family members, and though we all have different reading tastes and differe
Jul 31, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it
This book brings up many mixed feelings, partly because as I read the book I knew he had left the denomination that was our common religious home (The Christian Reformed Church). So I read it in the mood of disappointment that he'd given up on our community.

Yet there is an insightful and literary edge to the story with which I empathize. It gives voice to uncertainty, doubt, and lament, the shadow side of faith and church-life, and that is both refreshing and humbling. He ties this in with broad
Ruth Everhart
Dec 29, 2012 Ruth Everhart rated it really liked it
John Suk and I come from the same background and both entered ministry, so I was very interested to read his journey from that place. He uses the idea that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" to compare his personal faith development with historic faith development over the centuries. If that sounds intriguing, it is. If it sounds just a bit arrogant, it is. I quibbled with him most in the area of post-modernity, or what he calls "secondary orality." And this matters in the sense that it might he ...more
Robert D. Cornwall
In Not Sure John Suk tells the story of a journey from enchanted orality to literacy and beyond. It is a story of a person who emerges out of a conservative, ethnic, doctrinal milieu. It's not the story of a loss of faith, but a story of discovering faith in the context of doubt. If you have struggled with competing loyalties, that is loyalty to a faith profession and a loyalty to the pursuit of what you believe to be true then this book will be of assistance.

I'll be writing a longer review at t
Jan 05, 2013 William rated it it was ok
Shelves: faith
The book wrestles with the question of doubt, and as such it is something of a half-way project, this journey and its resolution are not yet complete.
Jim Hoekstra
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Jul 22, 2016
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Jun 19, 2016
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Joshua Dembicki
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Sep 29, 2015
Marie Butson
Marie Butson rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2015
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