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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  18,089 ratings  ·  1,973 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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Bill Evans As a Christian for 54 years and as a pastor who is retired, I am convinced that Rachel Held Evans did as much for people needing a place to renew or s…moreAs a Christian for 54 years and as a pastor who is retired, I am convinced that Rachel Held Evans did as much for people needing a place to renew or start faith as anyone. She did so by asking questions, by not hiding away with her doubts, and by a blog that found thousands of people in a similar place to what she was going through. Jesus did much of his ministry "outside the camp" of traditional religion, meeting and sharing God's love with many people rejected by their temple or church or whatever they were calling it. Jesus provided a welcome to those previously kicked out. Rachel has done the same. Love this book. Love the ministry in it that reaches out to people who have lost hope, or just got stuck in a bad church experience. God's grace to all of us who ask questions and struggle includes the work and the love shown by Rachel Held Evans.(less)

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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
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
Jessica Brazeal
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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 abo
Andi M.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, god-stuff
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:
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 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
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
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
Kristy K
Anyone who’s ever doubted their religion or their faith will certainly connect with Evans’ exploration into Christianity and her own faith.

But I had trouble with her writing. She’d repeat phrases or groups of words so many times on one page that it began to sound like a scratched record. There is an effective way to use repetitive phrases (Fredrick Backman’s a master at this in my opinion), but I felt it missed the mark here. Her style of writing began to grate on my nerves and it stopped me fr
Nov 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: truth, memoir, nonfiction
Terrific writer. I desire to give her words a higher rating; however, what Held describes as Christianity is simply not grounded on the Bible (but more on the latest 21st Century social issues.) I cannot, in good conscience, say that her all of her arguments are founded in biblical theology.
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
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: reviewed, 2016, 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
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
Rachel Held Evans passed away May 4, 2019. I had know of her for a long time, via social media where I followed her on Twitter and Facebook and her blog. I'd read Faith Unraveled, and owned two of her other books, intending, in my usual way, to getting around to reading them. Rachel was smart and passionate and compassionate and uncompromising and gracious and amazing, and I admittedly took her for granted.
Then in May she passed away from complications of reactions to medication for the flu and
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
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 think it
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
Jul 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Not a book for Christians.
If you are a "Sunday Christian" or a person who wants Christianity to be redesigned to suit you personally in every aspect, this book may be for you. If you are a a true Christian who follows the Bible, this book will not be for you. In fact, the Bible warns about being careful to stay away from ideas/people who pretend to be Christian but are not. It is especially not for new Believers, seeing how Evans twists the Bible to fit her lifestyle and the teaching is dangerou
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. ...more
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!!!
Martha Anne Sperandio
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I heard tonight in a biblical study “keep the major things major and the minor things minor.” I feel like I’ve been trying to decipher what things are major and what things are minor to my faith for the past two years. And this book felt like exhaling because I walked through Rachel Held Evans processing the same things. Church is hard and messy and really skewed a lot of things about Jesus. I loved this book because it gave me another testimony of how to wrestle with these things. It’s not a ma ...more
Emma M.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had me sobbing a lot.
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
One of the best books I've ever read. I felt seen and at ease the entire time I read it, whispering to myself, "Oh, there are others like me." ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another read for the adult ed class in my little church...and dang.

Rachel Held Evans could write. I'd read her blog, years ago, but this was the first time I'd delved systematically into one of her books. As I and the folks who journey along with me in study have discovered, she's just great. Her voice, honest and straightforward. Her theology, progressive but not rigid and didactic. Her journey of faith, warm and gracious and genuine enough to resonate powerfully with every soul in the class.

Kaytee Cobb
Five stars for admitting to doubt and standing by hard beliefs. Five stars for starting the faith journeys of so many. Five stars for the hard work it takes to be part of the church and the heartbreak that comes along with it. Excellent writing.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #32 Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans 1 9 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

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Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
75 likes · 11 comments
“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.” 71 likes
“Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.” 62 likes
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