My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Every now and then, if you are lucky, you will have an encounter that resonates with your soul and you weep for the beauty now revealed.
Reading this book was one of those encounters for me, and I was totally not expecting that. To begin with, I didn't pick up the book for myself, I picked up the book because I wanted to be able to reach the “unchurched” who no longer feel that my Church is a spiritually safe home … and this book is absolutely aimed at those people, but the advice here was not the answer I was searching for. Ultimately this reimagining of the “Road to Emmaus” story in Luke re-affirms the idea that regardless of the reason they left and whatever road they are on, they are right where they are supposed to be. Sometimes that is hard to take when you are the one left behind … and that is where this book hit me.
I have never really had a “crisis of faith” that would set me adrift to wander the “Godforsaken Road” to Emmaus. In fact, I come from a family with generations of preachers, teachers and missionaries that helped create a rock solid faith foundation. And while I have changed church traditions, I never really considered myself as the target audience … because when all is said and done … I stayed. In fact, by seeking ordination, you could say that I even doubled down on the place so many now find it impossible to stay in. Imagine my surprise when one of the vignettes profiles a woman that “has not walked away from her faith, but she has had to walk away from some of the spaces that once seemed to nature it.” <— Yeah … that is me looking back from the mirror. What is more … I found the pain and grief that many of my friends and family have also encountered in the Church that prompted them to “walk away.” Until now … I had always felt it was my mission to help bring them back when perhaps it would have been better to walk with them on the their Road to Emmaus instead. In short … I have a new perspective on dealing with the “people in the margins” where we can find the true Christ.
However, if you have trouble seeing these “people in the margins” and understanding their pain … this book is not for you. In the very first chapter, under the subheading of “What Sent You on the Road?” Martin introduces to a woman just coming to terms with her experience of sexual assault when the preacher decides to makes an impassioned defense of then Brett Kavanaugh along the lines of dismissing any concerns under the idea that the righteous are often falsely accused … if you are a partisan on either side, you have likely already formed your opinion about the author’s political views at this point … and you would have completely missed the point the author was trying to make. There is no opinion and condemnation of Kavanaugh here … instead you find a woman who feels that her own experiences, that color her world view, are irrelevant and were callously discarded by a pastor who job it was to minister to the broken. In other words, we the Church failed! Instead of answering Christ’s call to Love, we forced people to pick a side … so regardless if you have left to wander your own road (or if like me you have stayed despite the flaws), “Just keep on following the voice of Love. Don’t let the louder voices into your head. Don’t give in to the panic. Don’t let anybody else establish the terms.” You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Chapter 1. The Road Called Godforsaken
Chapter 2. God on the Road Away from God
Chapter 3. When the Story Gets Too Small
Chapter 4. Your Pain in Real
Chapter 5. It’s Good to Be a Fan
Chapter 6. The Moment of Recognition
Chapter 7. People of the Burning Heart
Chapter 8. The Way Home
Chapter 9. What Had Happened on the Road
I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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