Stumbling Toward Faith virtual book tour

Today this blog is participating in a virtual book tour for Renee Altson, who was kind enough to send out an item or two related to Get Up Off Your Knees through the Youth Specialties email list, and who now has a book of her own, Stumbling Toward Faith. I read Renee's story in one stunned, tearful evening, and have been telling people the book ought to be required for any Christian leader who has the illusion that "a church background" is by definition benign.

The book tour began yesterday, with a commendation of the book by the inimitable Real Live Preacher, and continues until the end of the month. Renee and I emailed a bit about connections for her visit to a narrow-topic blog like this one, which only exists as the odd, half-promotional spawn of a book of sermons drawing on U2 songs. And we ended up noting U2's skill at lament....
Beth: One of the things I've learned in working on Get Up Off Your Knees is how many people in the Body of Christ are rediscovering the importance of lament - speaking honestly to God in the midst of an experience of evil and suffering instead of trying to make things seem "nice." What has lament meant to you as you've "stumbled toward faith"?

Renee: i think that discovering lament was what helped me survive. i grew up in a world where everything was "nice" - where we weren't allowed to question god or connect with our grief - there was no permission to truly feel anything... everything was always about pretending; about hiding.

in fact, my first real connection with u2 came with their song "40" - the refrain "how long" completely echoed the aching yearning longing brokenness in me, and i remember singing that one part over and over and over under my breath in my darkest moments. the odd thing about that song was that the passage wasn't new, it was taken directly out of the bible - but it was a part of the bible and a part of the journey that had been denied to me.
so i embrace lament. i believe it is part of the wholeness we are created to have; the people we are created to be.
Thanks to Renee for the redemptive lament that is Stumbling Toward Faith, and for permission to post her thoughts. All the bloggers participating are asked to link to the next two sites on the tour; so I'm linking Jordon Cooper and Cory Aldrich.

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