Such is the case for my friend Matthew Paul Turner. In his book Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, Matthew recounts his journey of faith through fundamentalism. The narrative that Turner offers is equal parts memoir and satire. Though it could have easily devolved into a bitter rant decrying his upbringing, Matthew succeeds in virtually channeling himself as a child. As such, his story reads with a nostalgic sweetness that brings both laughter and tears. Churched is genuinely funny, and at times quite poiniant. Many readers will find the experience similar to a kind of group therapy...as they learn to laugh at their own stories too. Far from demonizing the "characters" in his story, Matthew excels at revealing their humanity and sincerity. As hilarious as the stories of his Sunday School Teacher's lesson on manna or his childhood pastor's "boxing match with Satan" are, you get the sense that Matthew also finds a way to honor and respect them. Though it is never explicit, you can clearly see the bruises and scars that Matthew carries and how he has wrestled to find a way to believe. In the end, the implicit main character of this memoir is not Matthew himself, but rather the Savior that he loves who shines through all of the craziness and has led Matthew to a genuine faith that is characterized by hope and love.
I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. Even if you didn't grow up in a fundamentalist church or subculture, I think you may find surprising resonance and inspiration.