Monday, March 18, 2013

Library Shelf: Losing My Religion

From his failed marriage and his "born again" conversion to evangelical Christianity at a men's retreat to his search for truth and his anguish over the pain of abuse victims, William Lobdell's story is intensely personal. At the same time, it is a professional story, intertwined with his career as a journalist.

A good book deserves to be talked about. Mark Oppenheimer has an excellent review here. Heather King has written an equally wonderful piece here. And Hugh Kramer's review can be found here.

I took this book along on vacation a couple of years ago and read bits aloud in the car. I remember driving through the hills of West Virginia and asking, "Do you think we'll end up like this guy? Will we ever lose our religion? Is that the direction we're headed?"

We looked at the kids in the rearview mirror. "Maybe when they grow up and we're empty-nesters," my husband replied. Until then, he figured, we'd stay in the church.

"I don't know," I said. "I can imagine it happening sooner." I didn't know then that it would only be a matter of months before my faith faded completely. And when I looked at my kids after that, Lobdell's words about his own children gave me courage.

Lobdell writes about harsh realities and glaring inconsistencies. Yet his tone is mild, as comes through in this talk:

"But the current of truth had me and wasn’t going to let me go. When I decided to stop fighting it, I felt relief — even serenity. I decided to ride it out — past the surf line — and see where it would take me." --William Lobdell

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