Matthew Paul Turner is known for his humorous takes on Christian culture, so before I tell you anything else about this book, keep that in mind. In Churched, Turner tells the story of his childhood in a fundamental Independent Baptist church, including stories of getting a “Baptist” haircut, door-to-door evangelism, and “the bad part” of the movie Ben-Hur. (Disclaimer: I recieved a free copy of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah through the Blogging For Books program in exchange for my review.)
I found the stories comical and wondered if they were a bit exaggerated through Turner’s lens of humor. But knowing that his writing is based in humor, I didn’t take everything at 100 percent face value. Nor do I think that’s necessarily the point.
Turner’s stories of fundamentalism through a child’s eyes needs humor in the telling because some of his experiences are so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. Still, it’s not all laughs. Turner wrestles with some serious themes like hell and death and salvation. Churched doesn’t tell the entire story of Turner’s spiritual life but chronicles his rocky relationship with church. I appreciated the concluding chapter that gives us an idea of what church is like for him now as an adult.
Churched is an interesting (and short) read. Fans of Turner’s blog will enjoy his stories, as will anyone who grew up in a similar environment and has now left it. I don’t know if it’s a book I would recommend to everyone but it is a good illustration of how church can be hard, even for someone who was raised in it.