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Breaking Up With God: A Love Story (2011)

by Sarah Sentilles(Favorite Author)
3.55 of 5 Votes: 2
0061946869 (ISBN13: 9780061946868)
review 1: This book is hard to review for me mainly bc I expected it to be such a different book. It had been mentioned in an interview I read a few months back and sounded really interesting, but from the article, I expected it to be a book that talked about the value of religion in modern society. But when I started reading it, it felt like I had been tricked into reading a sappy memoir that is more about body-issues and lack of self-love than having anything to do with religion. But I am stubborn and decided to finish reading it, and while most of it didn't speak to me, after finishing it, I did notice that I had taken quite a few notes, which is always a good sign. Overall, as a memoir about the difficulties of finding ones way in the world, it has beautiful moments, and is wort... moreh reading (and is a quick read). As a book of theology, not so much.
review 2: I have been wanting to read a book like this for a while. When I was studying theology as an undergrad, I remember reading a theologian or philosopher who had left faith behind comment that theology was the weaker for having no balance on one side. There is a range and diversity of ways to believe and degrees of faith, but once a person crosses a line of doubt to unbelief (or no longer thinking "Do I believe?" is an interesting way of framing a question.) that person's voice is no longer part of the religious conversation. So when I broke up with g*d and Christianity, I had to leave behind the conversation entirely, even though I only moved incrementally away from the place I used to stand. Breaking Up with God allowed me to revisit the conversation. I'm grateful for that. The opening of the book was good, but I did not identify with her childhood experience of G*d. It wasn't bad or poorly written, but it was for me, the least engaging part of an otherwise very engaging book. Her story about being a young woman at college with an eating disorder was also foreign to my understanding, but compelling. It matched what I've with other biographies about eating disorders (Such as She Was Once a Runner) and is clearly something I should understand better to keep from perpetuating the abuse and suffering. The story of her theological education was emotionally and intellectually very powerful. It was cathartic to read another love story of theology. Personally, I never felt as at home in a church as I did in a theology or religious philosophy class. That was my place and immersing myself in those thought-spaces again was comfortably nostalgic. I left Christianity over 15 years ago, but I remember intense pleasure in discovering that a better concept of g*d did away with much of the troubling nature of religion, especially dealing with power, epistemology, and gender issues. It was especially comforting to read her experiences with loving the kind of g*d certain theologians help us see and then not recognizing that in any of the manifestation of church. I'm not attempting to be rude or rain on anyone's parade, but since I became an adult, churches have been universally horrid places for me to be in. Yes there is love and acceptance, but it comes at a price I'm unwilling or unable to pay. I've found that, as related in Breaking up with G*d, my difficulty with the text of prayers, lyrics of hymns, questioning of gender roles, or labeling evil behavior in scripture as evil, is unwelcome and I won't leave that behind. I am welcome, but my thought processes are not. What I love as a vital part of my being I'm supposed to gratefully cast aside as a burden and a sin. Breaking up with G*d helped me remember that there are beautiful things connected to theology that are outside of church and religious society. Even if I don't want to get back together, it's a nice feeling to miss the old relationship.The close of the book, with its abrupt shift of focus to food felt right to me. The author has a clear heart and a story worth telling, but she is still learning the craft of writing. At times the narrative seemed tentative or the structure seemed unplanned. So, when she suddenly turned to food, I feared for the narrative. Somehow, it felt right. She found an emotional and spiritual metaphor that rang true without making it overly blunt or pedantic. What she found by breaking up with g*d is similar to what we can find by breaking up with Agriculture Inc. We all have to eat, but there is something wholesome to be found in locally grown produce that simply does not exist in Monsanto or McDonald's fare. I suppose that's not going to sit well with people who feel healthy and satisfied in the system she left, but I found great comfort in it. I also found a hope that since she succeed in articulating what I loved about thinking about g*d and what also what repelled me, I could also succeed in bridging that gap with others who never felt the need to leave. I love a lot of believers, but I struggle to respect the institutions of belief.So, yes, this isn't a perfect book. Not every part of her experience resonated with my own, but it brought me to a place of gratitude and love for an effort I have abandoned. For that I thank her. less
Reviews (see all)
A very interesting perspective of self-discovery from a theologian who couldn't make herself belong.
Theology was squishy, jokes were funny.
Great writing, but take at face value.
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