Leaving Church: Guest Post by Danelle Landry Townsend

by | Nov 29, 2012 | Uncategorized

For six weeks, we’re exploring the question, “How do we walk out our faith in the midst of pain, suffering, disappointment, and loneliness,” with a book club discussion on Thursdays about Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor. Today we’re coming back after a week off from Thanksgiving, exploring Chapters 5-10 with Danelle Landry Townsend. I met Danelle early in my blogging journey and can’t help but love her big, generous heart for others and for Christ. I hope you’ll welcome her in the comments.

It is Sunday and I am the only one in my family without a temperature.

Without a cough.

Whatever sickness remains in my body can be contained by a red lozenge or a throat clearing at the first sign of an uncomfortable tickle.

My mother invites me to hear her sing in the choir and singing is her love language.

She cried on the phone when she found herself back in a choir robe after many lost years.

It was a homecoming.

So I come.

I find a seat beside a little girl wearing a dress stitched with a lace tutu around her waist.

Somehow her hair pulled tight in the ponytail stirs memories.

My heart nods inside, I clear my throat at the first disturbance inside all those inflamed chords.

I once was a dancer, a girl who practiced for recitals and the hair would be pulled back and the tutus would clinch around my waist.

And all of these thoughts and memories lead me back to a place that speaks sense and nonsense simultaneously.

Maybe I’ve always been confused?

The reasons, many, that my heart, my spirit, can find both the beautiful and the challenging within the church buildings I’ve sat in.

A kaleidoscope of denominations and traditions I have learned and yet none feel quite right, even though I see the brilliant colors in each.

I know practice and routine can create beauty.

I’ve taken the stage and know this from experience.

Yet years have shown that the honest beauty appears when heart is interlaced with mind in words, prayers, actions.

This combination true liturgy.

But today I feel that I’ve come to a recital.

A routine I’ve danced all through my childhood, the background music of a thousand sundays is handed to me on a laminated sheet.

I hold on with a hand both comforted and numbed.

I need the red throat lozenge.

I see newness here though, because I am looking for it, and I have to look to find.

I glance at the young girl beside me again.

She is bent, itching dry skin flaking around her heel.

She is straining to remove the dried and cracked as she bends in her beautiful tutu skirt.

And it makes it more difficult, the beautiful suddenly in the way of the need.

I want to kneel there and tell her I understand.

My thoughts perfectly interrupted by the priest:

“The church has a cosmic ability to change the world.”

I hang on to “cosmic”.

The truth of this vastness.

Beyond where my feet are planted in this church building.

I am a pilgrim not a resident.

Then from my morning reading I remember these words:

“. . God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man. . -Magnificat, November 2012

Suddenly I see the trees holding up the roof around this sanctuary. Trees?

And they aren’t really, but God wants me to see. And I do.

His creation inside, holding up what man has created.

I’ve never noticed the four branches reaching high.

The little girl next to me reaches for my hand as we say the Our Father.

We lift our joined hands and repeat words from the earliest prayer I ever practiced.

“For the kingdom, the power and the glory is Yours, now and forever.”

I watch my mom slip down from the risers where she has been singing, she receives communion with her head bowed.

I choose to stay in my seat, communion happening in my prayers, in the lozenge that is thin and about to break on my tongue.

I remember Pastor Jay at our barn church asking us all to take a big piece of the communion bread.

How I walked up with tears in my eyes and tore the bigger piece and dipped it into the red juice.

How both the lozenge and the bread made my soul utter and feel connected.

And I am reading a book called LEAVING CHURCH.

I think of finding it.

Church, for me, has always been there in the trees. Especially the trees.

But yes, also in the recital, the singing, the communion table.

The chunk of bread torn or the wafer placed by the priest.

The fire on my back cold mornings and the conversations with friends.

I feel Him here. In this church. Now.

I dab my finger into the cup of holy water.

I take a picture of a four branched tree holding up a church building made of brick and human labor.

“Thin places,” I whisper this as I climb into my car.

And drive away.

To so many others.


“I learned the proper name for those places on earth where the Presence is so strong that they serve as portals between this world and another. . . Thin Places, the Irish call them,”-Leaving Church, Chapter 7.

Have you ever encountered a thin place? How does the setting affect your worship?

Danelle lives in Georgia with her husband and two sons. She loves finding God everywhere and clings to the truth that He sees each of us and seeks us from wherever we are with grace. She enjoys reading, writing, walking her two rescue dogs, drinking lots of coffee and tapping words at her blog, He sees me

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Sharon O

    This is INCREDIBLE. beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it especially the ‘holding’ hands with a little one with a tutu on. So sweet.

    • Danelle

      *Thank you so much Sharon*

  2. Floyd

    You’ve captured the internal conflict of our hearts as we seek God in our awkward flesh and He reaches through all of the fallen to lift our hearts to His. Comfort in hard places… Thin places… It suites the Irish in me…

    • Danelle

      There is such an internal conflict Floyd! Yes indeed. I love what you say here about him “reaching through all of the fallen to lift our heart to His”. Beautiful.
      I had no idea you were Irish? I have a good bit of Irish blood myself. My great grandmother on my mom’s side was “Irene Walsh” as an example. I suppose we are kindred from Irish roots. That doesn’t surprise me a bit.

  3. Tereasa

    I love this, Danelle. The imagery of thin places drew me into my own. Thank you.

    • Danelle

      I am so glad to hear this Tereasa. Thank you friend.

  4. birthjoy

    I have been lurking deep and dark throughout this series. I think because it resonates so deeply and I feel all of these emotions so poignantly. We are currently without a church home and I feel both lost and free, wandering and found, blind and aware. Thank you for hosting this series, Shelly. Perhaps more light will filter through the darkness for me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Holly, I’m in the exact same place. Without a church home and feeling all those ways you mention. The slate is clean and now I’m waiting for Him to reveal the handwriting about the next season. It’s both lonely and exciting all at the same time. I’m so glad the series resonates and speaks to you. May He continue to reveal Himself to you as you join in the conversation.

      • Gayle

        I am there as well, it is a unique place. Yes, lonely and exciting at the same time.

    • Danelle

      I understand all of this Holly. Thank you for being here today and the transparency of your heart. Please know that I am praying right now for His will to be revealed to you in His perfect timing.

  5. wynnegraceappears

    Danelle, this is oh so beautiful friend. Your words are masterful in the painting of these thin places. I love the thought of that phrasing and the meaning behind it. And you paint it with precision and beauty.

    • Danelle

      Thank you so much Elizabeth. I am so glad that you found something beautiful here. Like I’ve told you before, your words always sing to me and encourage me so very much.

  6. Mia

    Hi sweet Danelle
    If my mind serves me correctly you said the other day when you read someone’s beautiful post that you want to put your pen down. I hope you see now how utterly funny I have found that!! This is sort of ethereally beautiful. I see church as the woman our Lord Jesus loves so much. She is His bride, a spiritual bride. He has betrothed her to Him already and when everything is finished with the preparation of their home, the new heavens and the new earth, our Pappa will give Him permission, like the Jewish tradition, to come and fetch us!

    Bless you and thank you Shelly for hosting Danelle

    • Danelle

      You are so kind Mia. I understand what you are saying here, that God is constantly drawing us toward Him, meeting us wherever we are and loving us entirely. I had no idea that sunday mass would be the catalyst for this post, but there is a reason for every moment in every day. He certainly does see us. And I promise not to put my pen down anytime soon. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  7. Megan Willome

    This is beautiful, especially for me, having recently gone Catholic. There’s something about not going forward, about sitting in the pew. Also, our church is surrounded by lovely trees. This summer, I just sat on the benches to pray.

    • Danelle

      HI Megan,
      God finds us right where we are, altar or pew. Yes. And I agree that there are few places more perfect to pray than a place surrounded by trees.

  8. Gayle

    The “thin places”, is such an interesting concept. And yes! I am a believer in them, I have experienced them. I think regions sometimes carry their own “energy” as well. I’m joining the discussion over at my place, Behind the Gate. Please stop by!

    • Danelle

      So glad you are here Gayle. I will come on over to visit very soon. Looking forward to reading your words.

  9. Natalie alvarez

    Love reading this !Beautiful message.Love u Danelle.

    • Danelle

      *Thank you Natalie*.

  10. Joy Lenton

    This is an amazing post. So moving and deeply spiritual in connecting with the heart of our Father wherever He may choose to quietly announce His presence. ‘Doing church’ is far more than being in a building together. ‘Being church’ involves this eyes and hands wide open approach to be ready to receive and give out to one another as His Spirit leads and directs.
    I am in a transition period of feeling disconnected from my local church and reading blogs like this reminds me that others think and feel as I do and we all belong together (as a crazy mixed up family does) in the rich variety of our expression of faith. Bless you, Danelle, for a lovely reflection:)

    • Danelle

      Thank you so much Joy. I completely understand what you mean. I am so glad that you found my story relatable. Like you, I am always blessed to know that others struggle at least from time to time with where they “belong”. And yet, in the end, God will find us wherever we happen to be. This is what I call Amazing Grace. 🙂

  11. Matthew Kreider

    Danelle, your words are always so good for my heart, my circulation. Thank you.

    • Danelle

      What can I say to that Matthew? You are too kind to me. So very glad that we are family. *Thank you*

  12. tara pohlkotte

    love this with a thousand loves. you explain this ebb and flow, the pull and tide of these thin places so well. i find myself in a season of looking to stay right there in the thin. i’m hunting for places where i see the horizon flicker. this pursuit can be both lonely and so encompassing it’s all mangled up between holy and horrible. i love though when that breeze lifts the veil and i see all of these other beautiful people on this path too. so glad for you.

    • Danelle

      I want to stay there in the “thin” with you Tara, watching the horizon flicker. I know what you mean about the pursuit being lonely at times and all encompassing at others too. I treasure you Tara. Glad we are traveling with our veils lifting together my friend.

  13. Jillie

    I have enjoyed your reflections here Danelle. I understand the “thin places” and wish I experienced them more often. Maybe I’m not paying close enough attention, as Barbara writes in that same page.
    I know that we’re not here to critique Barbara’s book, and yet there were things in these chapters that bothered me. (I’m not on FB, so I can’t comment there.)
    She begins writing on p.109 about her faith being less about her beliefs, and more about “the beholdings”. I get that, and yet what we believe is crucial to our faith. What we believe is our foundation, and if we stumble over foundational truths, not knowing what we ‘stand’ for…well, we could ‘fall’ for anything. On p.110, she talks about Jesus’ presence with his disciples after the crucifixion as “maybe being more metaphysical than physical”. This troubles me. A ‘ghost’ cannot be felt, as Thomas touched Him. A ‘ghost’ does not eat, as Jesus did on the seashore at breakfast.
    Barbara writes on p. 106 about ‘those’ who turn to the Bible in order to solve their conflicts. She says, “[they] defend the dried ink marks on the page [to the extent that they] become more vital than defending the neighbour.” I believe we might have to draw a line of truce in order to continue to love others, but I fully believe in the inerrant Word of God. In the case she’s speaking of, they’re wrestling over the gay issue. I’m not going to go there, but the point to me is, the Bible hasn’t changed. It remains the same, forever! What God said waaay back there in Bible times, He still maintains today. This applies to all issues we face in the church today. It is our Source of Truth—our only source of truth in a world gone crazy. It is the Church that should be declaring right and wrong, even as the ‘world’ seeks to blur the lines. It disturbs me to find as I read, that Barbara seems to ‘waffle’ on some very important issues, the main one being the Word. I know too many people who pick and choose what they like in the Bible, while discrediting the rest.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jillie, I’ve opened up my book and looked into the passages that troubled you to try to respond in a way that informs our discussion here. I’ll try to go in the order that you mentioned. On page 109, when she talks about beliefs versus beholdings, I get that too and I completely agree with you. We do need to know what we believe, it is crucial to living out our Christian faith. I took what she said as sometimes blurring the lines, coveting what we believe over our love for the One we believe in. On page 110, this is definitely an area where I disagree with her. We are on the same page here. And again on page 106 I agree that the inerrant Word of God is just that, free from error, period. Maybe I am being naive, but being in ministry, leading people for as long as I have, I get what she was saying about defending the dry ink marks more than their neighbor. There is a subtle crossing of the line cloaked in piety that can look holy but act ungodly, it is quite deceptive. I hope that makes sense. I knew when we decided to read the book together that there would be some things that I didn’t agree with regarding the author’s beliefs and I’m okay with that. I’ve sat around tables with people I’ve gone to church with for years to find out there were five differing opinions among five people who I assumed thought the way I do. The challenge for us as believers is to love people who think differently than we do without compromise. Sometimes that means agreeing to disagree because in the end we will stand before an audience of One. And that is all that matters.Thank you for being honest Jillie, your comments make me think. You, my freind, are NOT a follower of the crowd and we need more of you.

      • Danelle

        Hi Jillie & Shelly,
        I read your comment here Jillie about an hour ago. Then I went for a long walk because I knew that I needed time to think on how to respond. Then I came home and read Shelly’s response and found myself nodding right along.
        The one moment that I kept thinking about was when Barbara Brown Taylor spoke of sitting around a table and God’s people using God’s Word to judge each other. It painted an image that I’ve seen many times and it causes me enormous pain. In Luke Chapter 10, Jesus tells the lawyer that the only way to eternal life is to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. At the end of the day, you agree to disagree and you love. I have built the foundation of my walk with Christ and the grace of God on that pillar of Truth.
        I love that you came here Jillie with such important thoughts and words to share. LEAVING CHURCH is just a book written by an imperfect human. I find her words to be beautiful and wise mostly, but I realize that anyones words need to be held up the discernment of our hearts, guided by the Holy Spirit. I hope this made sense and I hope you know how much I cherish your honesty and addition to this ongoing conversation.

  14. lynndmorrissey

    Danelle, what a beautiful post (and your name is beautiful, too, by the way)! I had to read your words several times, because they are dense with richness and meaning. You cover so many points so well. Where does Shelly find all you gifted writers?! You surely have the gift, Danelle!! I was touched by your mother’s experience, because I went for a long season without singing in the church, and it grieved my soul. Being able to do that now brings me such joy. And I can truly relate to that “tension of suspension” (my words) that you feel, teetering between beauty and challenge in the Church, and finding both extremities amongst a “kaleidoscope” of denominations. This is so well put, Danelle. It makes sense because, as you so wisely observe, we are pilgrims here and not permanent residents. Heaven-bound, we cannot ever find complete satisfaction amongst fellow pilgrims (and sinners) in any church of which we become a part. None feels quite right, as again you wisely suggest, and none will till we are glorified. And which of us can ever feel quite right if we worship only with our minds in words and prayers, as you stated, and not also with our hearts? We need to worship as whole persons, with body, mind, heart, and soul. I’m so glad you felt close to God that day, and that He lifted a veil to reveal His presence to you. Wonderful! Sadly, worshiping with believers can sometimes be thick with sin and bickering, judgmentalism and legalism. It doesn’t mean we should leave the church (we’re still commanded to be a part), but when we come with “thin” hearts, laid bare in repentance, focusing on God and not on us, worship can become a thin place, a portal to His presence. I would gently disagree with you that the church “has always been there in the trees—especially the trees.” Granted, it is sometimes difficult to tell online when authors are employing metaphor, but you seem not to be (and do correct me if I’m wrong). I do believe that we can worship God anywhere, including in nature, and that nature, His handiwork, reveals His glory. But the Bible is very particular about what the Church is. I won’t take time or space to elaborate here or cite Scripture references, but the Church is the Body of Christ—believers, whether in local congregations (who worship and fellowship together in a variety of settings—certainly not always in “church” buildings), the Church universal (believers all over the globe), and the Church historical (believers down through the centuries). The Bible often uses metaphor and does so even in talking about the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ, when referring to the Church. But it is evident that Scripture means that the Church is the believers, themselves, together, and that Christ gave His life for her. So in this case, I think it is important to refer to the Church the way the Bible does. Thank you again for such a thoughtful, meaningful post. I will look forward to reading more by you. Also, I’m working on another post, which I will send separately, because it doesn’t address your writing, particularly. Blessings, Lynn

    • Danelle

      Hi Lynn,
      There is such richness and thoughtfulness in your comment that I had to read your words a few times. Thank you for sharing here.
      When I refer to “church” being in the trees, by the fire, etc. I am referring to God’s Presence. I am also referring to worshiping Him, praying to Him, listening to Him, being comforted by Him. All those things happen when I am in nature especially. I equate all of these to be similar experiences one would have when they are whole heartedly engaged in a church environment. Church in this sense meaning a building or other set location with a community of believers meeting there together to do all of what I mentioned: singing, worshiping, praying, listening and being comforted. And I think, by what I understand of your response, that you agree that nature is a fantastic place to worship God and feel His Presence.
      Thank you for your kind comments in regards to my writing. Your encouragement was a blessing to my heart. *Thank you*
      Again, thank you for such a well thought out response to our conversation here today Lynn. So nice to meet you here.

      • lynndmorrissey

        And thank you so much, Danelle, for *your* kind and gracious response. In reading this, I think you were using “church” metaphorically to mean worshiping God. And yes, I believe we can worship HIm and feel close to Him in nature. I think that the word church does have a specific meaning in Scripture, and we can never substitute being alone with God and communing with Him in natural settings for worshiping Him with a body of believers. Nor did you say that, I realize. I rejoice that He gives us a way to worship Him both corporately and individually. Again, Danelle, I’ll look for your writing. You’ve much to share (and beautifully so). ~Lynn

  15. Jillie

    Dear Shelly AND Danelle…I just want to thank you both for responding to my comments. Being rather insecure, I worried that my thoughts might be taken in the wrong way. I really am a light-hearted person but I do get defensive over the things that most strike my heart. The inerrant Word is one of them. I guess I just struggle with those who question and disregard things that appear to be pretty black & white in my Bible. I’m so glad I’m not the only one noticing these ‘discrepancies’ in Barbara’s writings. I also fully agree that we must call a truce before cutting off love from another person. I did think of that Scripture you cited, Danelle, about Christ’s two most important commands.
    In the interim between our corresponding, I checked out another area I had tabbed in the book.
    On p. 108, right at the top, she’s talking about different persons who developed theology over something that had happened in their world. Eg., I don’t believe it was the Apostle Paul who first ‘came up’ with the doctrine of atonement. Was he?
    Then she says that Christ’s followers were ‘struck’ with the thought that Christ was “very close kin to God”—I don’t know if they were so much ‘struck’, as they were plainly ‘told’ by Christ Himself! When He said, “I and my Father are One”, and “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father”—statements like that…well, they’re what got our Saviour crucified, Even though it was all in the plan of God. And He wasn’t just ‘close kin’…He was and is God. No, the word ‘Trinity’ does not appear in Scripture. I’ll give Barbara that. I’m not sure where the word itself actually originated.
    And what Barbara wrote about Augustine responding to the misbehaviour of Christians with a ‘doctrine of original sin’! I think the truth of that is also understood and clearly seen in the Garden. Eve disobeyed, Adam followed her leading. Original sin. Then came jealousy and murder with Cain and Abel, and we’ve all been sinners ever since. I don’t think the idea of it originated with Augustine, did it? I am certainly not any kind of scholar.
    Just some additional thoughts I had. Thank you so much for listening. And for your gracious responses.

  16. Morninglory

    Danielle, I love the idea of the thin veil between we humans and the glory of God. I see that veil when I look out and see the early morning mist. Our life really is like a vapor. It is great to see our kindred Irish Spirits.

    • Danelle

      You are right. The early morning mist is definitely God’s handiwork to remind us of the thin veil between us and an eternity with Him. Our life the vapor. Yes. So nice to meet you here today Morninglory. Just your name makes me smile.

  17. chasingsilhouettes

    wow, i love the four trees growing roots, holding up the church, the branches upon which Jesus died… but nothing can stop his life. God is so intimately connected with you friend. thank you for sharing his heart with us.

    • Danelle

      You are right, nothing can stop His Life. Thank you for being here today Emily. *Thank you*

  18. lynndmorrissey

    I realize that on the blog it would be impossible to address six book chapters in one short post, but I think there are some particularly problematic aspects of Ms. Taylor’s views worth addressing in this reading. I don’t want to imply that I feel it is not worthwhile to read something with which I disagree. I’m glad that I’ve read all that Taylor has said (and will add that she writes very well)! Shelly, I’m also glad that you’re asking us to read a book that some will consider controversial in part. Life is messy, and we shouldn’t shy away from difficult discussions, because they cause us to go deeper, to grow, and to fine-tune our own beliefs. There are times to agree to disagree, in charity. There are other times, when Scripture is clear, and I personally think it’s important to take a stand. I pray I am not overstepping my blog-bounds. I think that Taylor makes an unusual dichotomy between “beholding” and “believing,” stating she was drawn into the Church by the “beholding parts, and not believing parts” of the Christian story. I’m not even sure what that means. We are drawn into the Church by God through His gift of faith—through *belief* in Christ alone. There is no other way to have faith other than to believe. She quotes this verse: “Behold the Lamb of God …” as if somehow to underscore that it is more valid to behold Christ than to believe Christ. But what does *behold* mean? Taylor omitted the second part of that verse. John was telling people to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Only those who believe on Him and His atonement for their sins will have eternal life and not perish. This “beholding” is not somehow just looking upon Christ simply to see Him or to be wonderstruck by Him, but to look upon Him so as to recognize Him as the sinless Lamb who takes man’s sin upon Himself on the Cross. By coming to Him in repentance and by believing upon Him, we are saved. The great British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said: “When John says, ‘Behold the Lamb of God,” he means more than wondering or considering. ‘Looking’ is used in Scripture for faith: ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved. … Beholding is a steady kind of looking. Believe, then, in Christ with a solid, abiding confidence. Believe that He is able and willing to save you, and trust Him to do so.’” There is no other reason to behold Christ—to look to Him—other than for salvation (which requires belief) and for the means to live out that salvation. Taylor says she had little interest in defending Christian beliefs. We *need* to be able to defend them, in love, if they are being opposed, because we need to declare truth. Ms. Taylor chafes about Christians trying to solve their problems by turning to the Bible. How else would they do it? The Bible gives us truth for life. (See Ps. 119 for how the Bible gives us answers for life). Certainly people who differ can pray; talk, wrestle honestly with each other about their beliefs, speak truth in love and charity. But remember, she is talking about whether homosexuals and lesbians should be ordained in the Episcopal Church. The Bible is very clear in both Old and New Testaments in speaking against the sin of homosexuality (much less ordaining clergy who practice this). It is in this context that she says (speaking specifically of this division in Grace-Calvary Church among parishioners as to whether or not to ordain homosexuals) that, “I notice that whenever people aim to solve their conflicts with one another by turning to the Bible: defending the dried ink marks on the page becomes more vital than defending one’s neighbor.” In the context of this passage, the “neighbor” is the homosexual. Homosexuality is indefensible and cannot be protected. Does that mean that homosexuals should not be loved and treated with great compassion and given the truth of God’s Word, shared with them with tenderness and respect? Does that mean that we must not remove the plank from our own eyes first before sharing? Does that mean that we should not say to ourselves and believe it, “There but for the grace of God go I?” Even if we are not tempted by *this* sin, we are tempted by many others. But heaven forbid if we ordain clergy engaged in this kind of sin and defend our neighbors the “right” to commit it. On the other hand, heaven forbid if we shun homosexuals from our churches. This is where they need to be. They need to meet Christ and those who love Him and, ergo, those who love *them.* We’re all sinners. But after we come to Christ, He bids us put away these ongoing sins. I’m an alcoholic, but I don’t any longer engage in drunkenness. What I’m saying is that homosexuals or adulterers (I could go on), don’t have to continue to engage in the sin. It’s important to be told what sin is and encouraged to stop sinning. A Missouri pastor, Doug Elders says it well: “The duty of the church is not to judge, but to define sin according to the Bible and challenge people to live according to its standards.” I hope I’m making sense. Thank you, Shelly, for the opportunity to share openly. As I’ve said a number of times, what you are doing here is so important!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lynn, when I was asked by several to lead a book club on this book, the last thing I wanted was for it to be a stumbling block for anyone. So if it has been, I ask for your forgiveness and pray that God will redeem anything anyone has read that would lead them to be believe that Jesus is anything other than our Saviour, the only way to salvation. Our discussions on the Facebook page have been full of hope and redemption and tremendous honesty. I pray that God will use it to bring people closer to Him, reveal truth, heal wounds, and set people free.

      • Jillie

        Sorry Shelly, but I feel I must respond to Lynn’s comments and yours. I think Lynn has made her astute observations very succinctly. Her ‘undertone’ is Love, no question; The truth…in love. This book has not been a stumbling block to me. I had a desire to read it before you started your book club, and I’m glad I’ve read it. Barbara writes beautifully, and well. She has some very important things to say. I concur with many of her thoughts. However, in some ways it does bother me that she makes statements that young believers might take as gospel truth, especially when it comes to issues like homosexuality and the mamby pamby attitudes held so often in many churches today. Some denominations are famous for it, especially here in Canada. Crucial beliefs are swept under the rug, covered in the all-encompassing statement that “God is Love and He loves everyone!” Yes, He loves everyone, desiring that ALL should come to REPENTANCE. His Word is clear on ALL our besetting sins, just as Lynn stated.
        And, sweet Shelly, I want you to know that Barbara’s book by no means alters my respect and admiration for you.

  19. Brandee

    It’s been so painful to me, at certain points, to leave a church…also to try on a new one. But I guess, looking back, I’ve found a little bit of God in each sacred place. I don’t know that it will ever be just right this side of heaven, among flawed and sinful people. But it’s always beautiful from a certain angle.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I agree Brandee. I’ve never thought about leaving church permanently because every time I go I’m reminded of how much I need to be among his people in worship who are messy and fallen just like me. I was in a puddle just this Sunday, when the gravity of my daughter’s recent brush with death hit me. It was a simple phrase in the sermon that made me realize how much He loves us. And I would’ve missed out on that blessing had I chosen to stay at home. There is no perfect church or people, just a perfect God.


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