30+ quotes from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans

Quotes from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Rachel Held Evans ·  268 pages

Rating: (7.1K votes)


“I told them we’re tired of the culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, I said, not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“I explained that when our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends aren’t welcome at the table, then we don’t feel welcome either, and that not every young adult gets married or has children, so we need to stop building our churches around categories and start building them around people.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“I am writing because sometimes we are closer to the truth in our vulnerability than in our safe certainties,”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“But there is a difference between curing and healing, and I believe the church is called to the slow and difficult work of healing. We are called to enter into one another’s pain, anoint it as holy, and stick around no matter the outcome.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“The great struggle of the Christian life is to take God’s name for us, to believe we are beloved and to believe that is enough.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“In the company of these friends, questions and doubts were met with sympathy, not fear. No one felt the need to correct or understand or approve. We just listened, and it was sacred.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“They reminded me that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people. They reminded me that, try as I may, I can’t be a Christian on my own. I need a community. I need the church.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“The church is God saying: 'I'm throwing a banquet, and all these mismatched, messed-up people are invited. Here, have some wine.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“Baptism reminds us that there’s no ladder to holiness to climb, no self-improvement plan to follow. It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security . . . More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, “Give them something to eat.” —Pope Francis1”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“But the modern-day church doesn’t like to wander or wait. The modern-day church likes results. Convinced the gospel is a product we’ve got to sell to an increasingly shrinking market, we like our people to function as walking advertisements: happy, put-together, finished—proof that this Jesus stuff WORKS! At its best, such a culture generates pews of Stepford Wife–style robots with painted smiles and programmed moves. At its worst, it creates environments where abuse and corruption get covered up to protect reputations and preserve image. “The world is watching,” Christians like to say, “so let’s be on our best behavior and quickly hide the mess. Let’s throw up some before-and-after shots and roll that flashy footage of our miracle product blanching out every sign of dirt, hiding every sign of disease.” But if the world is watching, we might as well tell the truth. And the truth is, the church doesn’t offer a cure. It doesn’t offer a quick fix. The church offers death and resurrection. The church offers the messy, inconvenient, gut-wrenching, never-ending work of healing and reconciliation. The church offers grace. Anything else we try to peddle is snake oil. It’s not the real thing.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“Jesus did not begin to be loved at the moment of his baptism, nor did he cease to be loved when his baptism became a memory. Baptism simply named the reality of his existing and unending belovedness.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“It’s not my job to change people,” Brian told me when I pestered him about it, “just love people.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair. Most days I don’t know which is harder for me to believe: that God reanimated the brain functions of a man three days dead, or that God can bring back to life all the beautiful things we have killed. Both seem pretty unlikely to me.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“It seems those most likely to miss God’s work in the world are those most convinced they know exactly what to look for, the ones who expect God to play by the rules.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“Two thousand years later, John’s call remains a wilderness call, a cry from the margins. Because we religious types are really good at building walls and retreating to temples. We’re good at making mountains out of our ideologies, obstructions out of our theologies, and hills out of our screwed-up notions of who’s in and who’s out, who’s worthy and who’s unworthy. We’re good at getting in the way. Perhaps we’re afraid that if we move, God might use people and methods we don’t approve of, that rules will be broken and theologies questioned. Perhaps we’re afraid that if we get out of the way, this grace thing might get out of hand. Well, guess what? It already has. Grace got out of hand the moment the God of the universe hung on a Roman cross and with outstretched hands looked out upon those who had hung him there and declared, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“There is nothing nominal or lukewarm or indifferent about standing in this hurricane of questions every day and staring each one down until you've mustered all the bravery and fortitude and trust it takes to whisper just one of them out loud”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“We could not become like God, so God became like us. God showed us how to heal instead of kill, how to mend instead of destroy, how to love instead of hate, how to live instead of long for more. When we nailed God to a tree, God forgave. And when we buried God in the ground, Got got up.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“We millennials have been advertised to our entire lives, so we can smell b.s. from a mile away. The church is the last place we want to be sold another product, the last place we want to be entertained.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“This is what God's kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there's always room for more.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“As Brené Brown puts it, “I went to church thinking it would be like an epidural, that it would take the pain away . . . But church isn’t like an epidural; it’s like a midwife . . . I thought faith would say, ‘I’ll take away the pain and discomfort, but what it ended up saying was, ‘I’ll sit with you in it.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“As my friend Ed puts it: “When you join a church you’re just picking which hot mess is your favorite.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“This is the church. Here she is. Lovely, irregular, sometimes sick and sometimes well. This is the body-like-no-other that God has shaped and placed in the world. Jesus lives here; this is his soul’s address. There is a lot to be thankful for, all things considered. She has taken a beating, the church. Every day she meets the gates of hell and she prevails. Every day she serves, stumbles, injures, and repairs. That she has healed is an underrated miracle. That she gives birth is beyond reckoning. Maybe it’s time to make peace with her. Maybe it’s time to embrace her, flawed as she is.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“I didn’t want to put my church story in print because, the truth is, I still don’t know the ending. I am in the adolescence of my faith. There have been slammed doors and rolled eyes and defiant declarations of “I hate you!” hurled at every person or organization that represents the institutionalized church. I am angry and petulant, hopeful and naïve. I am trying to make my own way, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do that without exorcising the old one, without shouting it down, declaring my independence, and then running as fast as I can in the opposite direction. Church books are written by people with a plan and ten steps, not by Christians just hanging on by their fingernails.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“And we learned, perhaps the hard way, that church isn’t static. It’s not a building, or a denomination, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“Jesus said his Father's House has many rooms. In this metaphor I like to imagine the Presbyterians hanging out in the library, the Baptists running the kitchen, the Anglicans setting the table, the Anabaptists washing feet with the hose in the backyard, the Lutherans making liturgy for the laundry, the Methodists stocking the fire in the hearth, the Catholics keeping the family history, the Pentecostals throwing open all the windows and doors to let more people in.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“I hadn’t yet learned that you tend to come out of the big moments—the wedding, the book deal, the trip, the death, the birth—as the exact same person who went in, and that perhaps the strangest surprise of life is it keeps on happening to the same ol’ you.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


“But what makes our marriage holy, what makes it “set apart” and sacramental, isn’t the marriage certificate filed away in the basement or the degree to which we follow a list of rules and roles, it’s the way God shows up in those everyday moments—loading the dishwasher, sharing a joke, hosting a meal, enduring an illness, working through a disagreement—and gives us the chance to notice, to pay attention to the divine. It’s the way the God of resurrection makes all things new.”
― Rachel Held Evans, quote from Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church


About the author

Rachel Held Evans
Born place: Dayton, Tennessee, The United States
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