My name is Matthew, and while you’re probably not familiar with me, you might know my bubbly, talented, beautiful wife, Jessica. While I admit that I rarely visit (in)courage and Bloom, I talk about it all the time. With my wife, of course. And I’ve sung the praises of (in)courage more than one might think. Why? Because the community and ministry that happens here at this blog is unique, valuable, and inspiring. It’s like a church in some ways, a community of believers that encourage, pray, and inspire one another to live well. I know that’s true for Jessica. All that said, thank you for what each of you bring to this community, for sharing your life’s joys as well as your struggles, and for truly caring for one another.
A couple years ago I wrote Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite A Holy Mess. This book is funny, heartfelt, and very personal. Through a collection of stories, thoughts, and a few punch lines I share bits and pieces of how I met God.
Whenever somebody asks me for a short synopsis of my church upbringing, I usually say, “Well, I went to a church where my Sunday school teacher burned Barbie to explain hell.”
That description, while certainly funny, also describes why I sort of had to survive my childhood church experiences and why faith and trust doesn’t always come easy for me.While today, I can say that most of pastors’s and teachers’s intentions were good, the effects of fear, no matter what the intentions, have a longstanding impact on people. It took me a long time to understand that.
And no doubt, a part of me is still unpacking some of those fears today.
Churched is a humorous retelling of the stories that I’ve already unpacked, and though most readers certainly recognize the threads of pain and fear, most readers also laugh. And I love that. I believe there’s hope and healing in laughter.
I’m pleased to offer the audio version of me reading Churched here on Bloom – for free. Just click here to download it.
I hope you enjoy the stories.
And, because I love hearing the stories of others: If you grew up in church, what’s a strange or funny memory from your church experience?
May God bless and keep you.
Matthew Paul Turner