At the outset, I need to let potential readers know that this book would not fall into the typical evangelical Christian category. Escobar writes about a crisis in faith and then rebuilding faith. The faith that is rebuilt, Escobar says, does not have to be that of what I would call typical evangelical faith. “I do not believe our souls are in mortal danger,” she writes, “even if we walk away from everything we once knew. I believe God is big enough to handle it.” (87) We are not to worry that our souls might be in mortal danger. Eternal damnation is not an issue, she says. (86-87)
That being said, I still think this is a very valuable book. There are many Christians who come to the point of feeling their faith is unraveling. Escobar has written this book for those people. I think she has created a valuable model, the Faith Shift Model, that helps explain the stages one goes through in initially forming faith, living it, questioning it, losing it, and then rebuilding it.
The first stage is fusing (believing, learning, doing). Some think their spiritual transformation stops here but there is more. Next is shifting (disengagement, uncertainty, longing). At this point, some return to the faith they learned as children. Others go to the next step of unraveling, where faith comes undone so it can be rebuilt (longing for mystery instead of conformity and certainty). Next is severing (cutting ties with institutions – some with God). Last is rebuilding (freedom, mystery, diversity).
Following this model, I am encouraged to know there is a process for rebuilding faith after one has experienced a spiritual crisis of faith. One can move forward and discover a new authentic faith. “There is life on the other side of a faith shift,” Escobar writes. “It's much harder to define, describe, and live out than anything we've previously experienced – but it's possible.” (128)
There are questions at the end of each chapter for personal use or group discussion.
While this book does not advocate rebuilding what I would call evangelical faith, it is a good book about the experience of questioning one's faith and/or church experience. I would recommend it for those who want to understand what many are experiencing today.
You can watch a video on the faith shift process here.
You can find out more about the book and read a sample chapter here.
Kathy Escobar is a pastor, writer, advocate, speaker, and spiritual director. She is the co-founder of the refuge, a mission centered and Christian community that has become a harbor for spiritual shifters in North Denver. She is an active blogger and the author or co-author of several books. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband and their five children. Find out more at www.kathyescobar.com.
Convergent Books (Crown Publishing Group), 227 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.