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Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  9,001 ratings  ·  1,135 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans comes a book that is both a heartfelt ode to the past and hopeful gaze into the future of what it means to be a part of the Church.

Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn't want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals--church culture se
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
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Debbie Yes. I am reading on my Kindle so I read it more intermittently than other books.

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4.14  · 
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 ·  9,001 ratings  ·  1,135 reviews

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Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was raised in the Christian tradition of Evangelicalism and have become, and seen friends become, increasingly unsettled and discouraged by trends we see in the American Church. We have watched churches value purity over people, a new building over their neighbors, and one's political party over their participation in the Kingdom of God. It is with this backdrop I read Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. Rachel brilliantly weaves story, humor, history, and exhortation to share about "th ...more
Jessica Brazeal
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was the perfect book for me in the present moment. If I said nothing else about Rachel Held Evans' new book 'Searching for Sunday,' I would say this: this book made me feel like I am not alone.

I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of 'Searching for Sunday' and I am so very grateful. This book hit the spot in my heart that has been so wounded, so hurt, and so incredibly scared and spoke words that comforted, validated, and encouraged. This book made me feel hopeful and brav
Robert Durough, Jr.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Rachel Held Evans is a blogger with a substantial following, from what I hear, though I’ve not read any of her posts. In fact, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church is the first bit of writing I’ve read of Rachel’s. Friends who speak positively about her (those who know her and those who read her) tend to be of the same theological cloth—promote ordination of women as leaders in churches and promote the acceptance of homosexual relationships in the church; those who speak ...more
I will not write a long review, I will simply say that Rachel Evans is very good with words, a fantastic writer, but her arguments are not biblical, no matter how you want to look at them. I think this is probably one of the "feel good" books we keep hearing about, making room for every form of "Christianity", whether its base is the Bible or not. She uses as arguments the Orthodox and Roman sacraments to support a very, very liberal mentality that is not rooted in the Scripture. What she calls ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015.

Summary: As the subtitle suggests, this is a narrative of the author's struggle between loving and leaving the Church, only to find her loved renewed through the sacramental practices that she sees at the heart of the Church's life.

True confessions. I've had a like-dislike affair (love-hate is too strong) with the writing of Rachel Held Evans. Ever since I first encountered her blog posts, I have admired the freshness, authen
Andi M.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
6/5/18 - The re-read was just as good, if not better, than the first one.

Life changing. I'll write a whole review. OH yeah, right here:
Jun 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: religion

One woman's progressive look at how to be a liberal democrat and an acceptable modern day the same time.....

My take on this book, the two personalities don't mix well, nor should they, each mindset completely contradicts the other. Most of this book is about demonizing conservative Christians and the Bible while Evans claims to be a liberal Christian fighting for gay rights and women's leadership roles in the church.

Her feet are dipped in both worlds, but clearly nothing
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jacob wrestled with God; I seem to be wrestling with the bride of Christ. My copy arrived yesterday, on a Sunday that had left me with more angst than usual about the church. I devoured the words in less than 24 hours. It's not that Rachel Held Evans gives a solution to my frustrations with the church, it's more that she just gives reassurance that it's not just me and that it is indeed the very nature of the church to be flawed. And so I find strength to continue in this relationship that both ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
I do love the church. And I admit that I don't always appreciate hearing harsh criticism toward the church. (Even though I freely admit sometimes the church deserve this). But what we find here is not harsh criticism but the sincer longings of a insider that has come to have some very serious problems with the church that she has loved (and I believe still loves).

She makes beautiful use of language to describe things spiritual. She takes us on a journey through the sacraments as she has experie
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Journey Towards the Trinity? Searching for Sunday

I am not a millennial. I live with two of them in my home – well, one is part time now that she has gone to college. However, I have always had a difficult time figuring out which group I truly relate to the most. I could be a “Boomer”. No doubt my bowing to the god of consumerism labels me this way many times. I could be a “Gen-X” or “Buster”. God, my supervisors and my colleagues in ministry know that I have spent more than my fair share of ti
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
It's such good writing. If only it had good theology too...

I'm struggling with writing a review for this one. On the one hand, Evans has a real talent for writing, and uses words beautifully. This book was generally an enjoyable read. I'm sure Evans is a great motivational speaker and has inspired many people.

On the other hand, this book is a lot of talk, and little substance. It's vague and undefined. It's a lot of emphasis on Christians, not the cross. Oddly as an evangelical, Evans uses the s
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The strength of this book is the author's willingness to be transparent with her struggles and her love hate relationship with the Church.This personal struggle of how to be "Christian" and question the practices and beliefs of the church is the story of many of us--regardless of being boomers, genxers, or millennials. Using seven sacraments of the church, the author emphasizes the importance of each one and how they, "the sacraments invited me to touch, smell, taste, hear, and see God in the st ...more
Amy Langmaack
Aug 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, reviewed, netgalley
I found this book to be seriously lacking. I was intrigued by the title Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church because I have upon occasion also felt like I was searching for the best church "home." Instead, what the book delivered was a memoir of Held Evans journey through dissatisfaction with most churches she has encountered. Held Evans recounts her journey of finding church congregations to be lacking and their belief systems to be lack luster.

Rather than providing cla
Tim Chavel
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rachel Held Evans and I have several things we disagree. She believes same sex marriage is Biblically acceptable, she believes women can be pastors; I disagree with both of these issues. By thw way, Rachel is happily married to a man. She is not a lesbian. However, Rachel does make me think and for that I am grateful. She grew up believing the same things I believe. She went to Bryan College in Dayton, TN. Her Dad taught on the staff of that college. I read this book because I enjoy reading this ...more
Sarah Hyatt
Mar 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was both Rachel Held Evans' strongest and weakest book.

Strongest, because the writing is, at times, gorgeous. Specifically, her imagery of Sunday afternoons called to mind my own childhood vividly. I love a good religious memoir, and this book is that.


Rachel Held Evans is someone who has built her "brand" and following on her continual struggle with the church, due primarily to the church's lack of concern for particular groups. I believe this was sincere, and while reading I got th
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've had to sit with this a while to figure out why I was so disappointed with it. I'm still not sure I've figured it out. I like Rachel as a person, as a speaker and as a blogger, and I really liked the concept of Searching for Sunday – telling her story of giving up on and returning to the church through the lens of the seven sacraments. But in the end, there wasn't much of her story, even though that's easily the part I most enjoyed. Instead, her journey was drowned out by overwritten prose o ...more
Emma | everemmareads
I've been struggling with my own faith and relationship to my church for several years now. It's a lonely journey and there need to be more books like this about such journeys. My background is not the same as the authors, but I saw so much of my struggle and my thoughts reflected back in many of her words.

It's difficult to be constructive about a piece that is so incredibly personal, but my one issue would likely be that the author goes off on some tangents, that, quite frankly, I ended up ski
Annie Rim
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
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.

**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for
Aaron West
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I sat low to the ground on a stool made for those needing to reach the top shelves in Joseph-Beth Booksellers. I was on the phone with a friend, searching in the "Spiritual" section for a book that would both challenge and somehow comfort me. As I listed off titles, he encouraged me to explore Rachel Held Evans's books.

I walked out of the store that afternoon, pelted by rain on that gray Saturday before Easter, with Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, an
Danielle Wells
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was personally good for me and my state of affairs at the moment = 5 star rating. Coming from a fundamental, evangelical religious background, I could resonate with almost everything she wrote. I think this book wouldn't be for everyone unless you were dissatisfied with religion/"the church" or wanting to leave it or have friends/family who are in the same situation and you're wanting to understand. This crosses denominational barriers as well. The illustrations and stories contained i ...more
Bekah Puddington
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5-3 stars.
[Confession/Disclaimer - I skimmed the last two and a half parts; I was getting bored.]

It was okay. I definitely had some moments of resonance w/ RHE re: her frustrations w/ the evangelical church. Nothing really novel for me here in these pages. Most moving parts included stories in chapter "Healing." The book did also provide some interesting quotes & references to other resources for further reading, etc.

I appreciate the author writing this book & telling her story, but I
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
MAN it is such a relief to read about people on the same page as I am.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was healing and freeing and convicting. It made me feel like a normal human and made me want the Church that God had in mind. Would definitely recommend!!!
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first line of this book, in a foreword by Glennon Doyle, reads, “Whenever I want to scare myself, I consider what would happen to the world if Rachel Held Evans stopped writing.”

The world has lost an exceptional, prophetic voice. Grateful for her books that give us a vision for a Church in which “everyone is safe but no one is comfortable.”
Rachel challenged us to do/be better. She put into words everything I've struggled with in my faith. It's ok to question. It's ok to get mad and leave. It's ok to come back. It's ok to repeat the cycle all over. How lucky for all the people who knew her in person.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has sat on my shelf for awhile. When RHE fell ill and was placed in a medically induced coma, I prayed and began reading SFS with the expectation that by the time I finished she would be well. What happened was the exact opposite.

The writing in this book is gorgeous. Elegant, thoughtful, and honest. I’m sorry I waited so long to read it. I’m sorry RHE isn’t here to write more books like this.

“I could only proclaim the great mystery of faith—that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and
Corinne Wilson
Most folks raised evangelical or fundamentalist or just rather conservatively in the U.S. in the 80's or 90's will recognize much of what Held talks about here: what it's like to have questions that no one is willing to answer, to have a tragedy met by platitudes, to be treated like a heretic for believing in feminism or evolution or LGBT rights, to be part of a church more focused on selling Jesus than fellowship. I liked that the end of her story was not a simple one, that she freely admits th ...more
Joy Matteson
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I've read all of Evans' books, and have followed her blog for years. In my opinion, this is her best book yet, because she places her finger on the pulse of why so many of us hesitate before walking up to the church doors on Sunday mornings. Some of my friends and family dislike Evans' harsh tone on her blog or in her books. Yet here, she shows us her vulnerable side of church--how she was a part of a fledgling church plant that fizzled out. How the church she grew up in has a myster ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
(March 7, 2016): 4.5 stars, really. Evans has such a way with language that seems to encapsulate profound truths in what appear to be simple statements. Fortunately for us all she marries that talent to great courage, humility, compassion, vulnerability, and an unflinching passion to know, and not simply accept. I very seldom do this, but I intend to read this book again, this time making notes, highlighting, thinking more carefully about what she says, and probably sharing quotes until my frien ...more
Larry Hansen
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Some people leave the Church and discover a wonderful world without it.
Others leave the Church but miss the community, social and worship, and they are troubled by the cognitive dissonance resulting from the culture and Christ's teaching. This book is for the latter.
The author tries to reconcile her childhood church experience with a more mature look at some of the crazy stuff done in the name of the church. She does a decent job but is obviously still on her journey.
If she ever transcends churc
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #32 Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans 1 5 Mar 05, 2016 05:33PM  

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Rachel Held Evans was a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Faith Unraveled (2010), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012), and Searching for Sunday (2015). Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee—home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925—she wrote about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.

Rachel was featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, The Huf
“I told them we’re tired of the culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, I said, not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.” 40 likes
“I explained that when our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends aren’t welcome at the table, then we don’t feel welcome either, and that not every young adult gets married or has children, so we need to stop building our churches around categories and start building them around people.” 40 likes
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