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Q & R: Where to Start?

Here's the Q:

Your response on Rachel's blog concerning progressive Christianity being a slow path the atheism struck a chord in me.

Not in the sense that I have stopped believing in God, but in that I have been in the middle of deconstructing the "God of the establishment" for a couple of years now and just feel confused and unsure about where to go from here.

It was simply a relief (after reading your response) to know that I wasn't the only one experiencing this.

I grew up in a conservative church and I am studying Bible at a conservative Christian college. None of my peers seemed to be experiencing what I was.

It started with deconstructing the God who punishes people for eternity and has gone all of the way through a deconstruction of the anti science God, and the inerrantist God, the penal substitution God (still working on that one), and a handful of other cluttered topics.

And I feel like I've lost all of the ways that were meaningful to me in the beginning of my faith of relating to God and understanding purpose and what it means to be human in God's world.

Having always planned on doing ministry, and with two years of school left, there's quite a bit of anxiety about how my faith is going to be formed and molded from here and what that means about my future (relationships, the rest of my time in school, career).

Could you possibly offer some words of encouragement and maybe some more resources from people who have experienced similar things….

I would like to read your work, but don't really know where to start. Would you recommend a particular order of your books that might be helpful for someone in my spot?

Rachel and people like Rob Bell, N.T. Wright, and Peter Enns have been particularly formative so far.

Thank you for your time,


Here's the R:
Thanks for your note. I'm so glad Rachel Held Evans is doing her good work out there - she is a lifeline for so many people. And of course the same is true for Rob Bell, N. T. Wright, Peter Enns, and many others.

I just read a manuscript for a new book that will be out soon by Kathy Escobar. I think you will find Faith Shift super helpful.

Of my works, here's what I'd recommend:
1. Secret Message of Jesus and/or A New Kind of Christian
2. A New Kind of Christianity (this is more theological in tone)
3. We Make the Road by Walking (my newest - especially relevant to "relating to God and understanding purpose and what it means to be human in God's world")

Be assured - you are not alone, and better days are ahead!