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The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  21 reviews
If anyone had good reason to join the league of the “Nones,” the “Dones,” and the deconstructionists, it would be Zach Hoag. After growing up and out of the compound walls of a Texas cult, and becoming a failed church planter in one of the most post-Christian cities in America, Zach was faced with both a crisis and a choice. He loved Jesus, yet questioned: If the church is ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Zondervan
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Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having grown up in many toxic churches where religion was used not to grow a person's faith but as a way for the pastor to control his congregants, it's amazing to me that I even believe in any form of Christianity or go to church at all. For me, religion is what happens when people replace faith, which is nourishing and healthy, with fear. Religion has caused a great many people to be done with not only the Church but with Christ. It definitely makes me think of Gandhi saying, "I like your Chri ...more
Julius McCarter
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Zach Hoag's The Light is Winning: Why Religion Might Just Bring Us Back to Life weaves together Hoag's life with the story of the biblical book of Revelation into a rich tapestry that explores why we are the way we are in America these days.

Hoag's The Light is Winning launches right in with his own story, mainly how his family up and moved from Florida to join a cult in Texas. That's one great quality to the book -- the transparent display of vulnerability, giving us a glimpse into his own story
The Deconstructionists
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Zach has managed to write a heartfelt story of his own journey that is poignant but never cynical. He gives us all hope that there is a place for us all out there.
Jessica Kantrowitz
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Light is Winning is a fascinating read about a man who has overcome spiritual trauma as both a child and an adult, worked through bad theology, and come to a place of deep faith and hope. Hoag tells his story with compassion and humor, making space for the reader's experience and perspective. My favorite part was chapter 3: A Problem With Authority, especially Hoag's discussion of sociology professor Josh Packard's research into those who he calls the "dones" who have poured years of energy ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for our time of uncertainty - an inspiring vision of a rooted and empowered passionate faith

y - an inspiring vision of a rooted and empowered passionate faith - a great push back to the " I Am not religious just spiritual " way of thinking
Mark Wheeler
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I did not like the book. The book did not live up to its title. The book describes the flaws of a narrow slice of legalistic Christianity rather than stories of the benefits of religious practices. I do not recommend the book. These four statements summarize my evaluation of Zach Hoag’s latest book, The Light is Winning: why religion just might bring us back to life.

The author’s purpose is stated on p. 28, “…the decline of Christian faith in America is not a problem to be solved but an opportuni
JD Reynolds
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annie Rim
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
The Light is Winning by Zach Hoag is a worthwhile read. Growing up fundamentalist and finding a faith-shift in his discovery of the teachings of John Calvin, Hoag walks the reader through his spiritual journey. From Calvin to John Wesley and more progressive Christianity to settling in the Methodist church, Hoag wrestled with the mix of reconciling the faith he’d experienced in his childhood with the faith he found as an adult.

Hoag is clearly working through his faith journey still. Toward the e
Cara Meredith
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Super interesting (today's apocalypse) meets Hoag's back story, including a failed church plant. He's definitely passionate about the state of today's church, which I loved.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
For all you who have lost hope in the North American church, read this.
Richard Klueg
Jul 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Where to begin. This is a sad, sad book. The book was give to me, and I came into it with no pre-conceptions, being unfamiliar with the author. I started out thinking "four stars" (my default for a book I consider worth reading and recommending), and the stars dropped the farther into the book I got.

Let me begin with the author's "father issues." For the sake of discussion, let's assume that Mr. Hoag's father is truly the one-dimensional authoritarian ogre he describes. For the sake of the fift
Tristan Sherwin
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tracing his own journey from growing up in a cult setting to eventually planting his own Church, Zach Hoag is certainly no stranger to the damage and shockwave reverberations of authoritarian religion.

Zach’s experiences have led him through dark wildernesses and deep wrestling with God and the Christian faith. But such struggles haven’t blinded Zach with cynicism, but have instead birthed insight on the problems with the American (and Western) models of church.

Within *The Light Is Winning: Why R
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
Imagine a world where religion can wage light instead of war. Does that place exist or is it solely a place we hold in our hearts? I don’t know. I came to Hoag’s book with these questions in mind. I read the book twice hoping I didn’t miss something the first time I read it.

Hoag comes from a Texas cult and as he grows older, he understands this is not how Jesus intended us to live. He draws from this place as he takes us through his failed attempts at church planting and his passion for God. He
Zachary Houle
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don’t really know where to begin with Zach Hoag’s The Light Is Winning, a book that seems theological sound but is a narrative mess. Essentially, the book chronicles what’s wrong in the American Christian Church by juxtaposing the author’s upbringing with an authoritarian father in a Texas cult. The author has spent many years in the wilderness trying to find a faith that works, even failing to plant a church in the process. (That he attempted in one of the least religious cities of the U.S. — ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, religious
Part Memoir, Part Liturgy, Part Warning, Part Dystopian Hopefulness... I don't know how to classify Zach Hoag's The Light as Winning besides a triumph in the meanderings of a spiritual journey in the context of American Christianity. It is an important book and should be read by anyone experiencing the disillusionment of the American conservatism, church, and life.

I personally enjoyed the transparency of Hoag's personal memoir and experiences growing up in the troublesome context of a charismat
Peter Henne
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This excellent book is part a story of the author's voyage out of an authoritarian Christian background into a more uplifting and authentic Christian life. It's also part analysis of the struggles of contemporary American Christianity, with suggestions for how to revive it.

This book will be meaningful for anyone who has left conservative Christian circles, or stuck with them in the hope that they would reform. It is meaningful for those of us who come from mainline Protestant traditions and wor
Rob O'Lynn
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honest, authentic, raw, passionate, hopeful. These are all words that come to mind when I think about Zach Hoag's book. If you are "done" with organized religion, then I tenderly recommend this book to you. If you are aggravated and don't get why people are leaving the Church, then I also tenderly recommend this book to you. If you are sold on Christianity, then I heartily recommend this book to you. Basically, if you're breathing, you should read this book!
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The author has a fascinating personal history and LOTS to be disillusioned about regarding religion. But I found his description of how he found his way back out of his "desert" experience to be a little lacking. With one TV quote he went from questioning everything to filled with hope. He makes illusions to it being "harder than that", but glosses over that part of the story.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I can’t decide if the book wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, or if it simply wasn’t about what I thought it should be about. I’m tired of the buzzword “Empire” thrown about by progressive Christians All. The. Time., and wish they would come up with a more nuanced explanation of what they mean that would communicate better to those outside the progressive tribe.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Insightful and hopeful memoir of faith deconstruction.
Jordan Kalt
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Long-winded, poorly written and organized. Hoag has an important story to tell of fundamentalism and authoritarianism in the American Church, he just might not be the best person to tell it.
Brandon Jones
rated it liked it
May 14, 2018
Mathew Reames
rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2018
Zach Hoag
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2017
Rob  Edwards
rated it it was ok
Aug 06, 2018
Matthew (bookshelvesgalore)
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2017
Bonnie Kristian
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Jul 30, 2018
rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2017
Alysa Bajenaru
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2018
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