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One Kids Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess

Author Matthew Paul Turner
Narrator Matthew Paul Turner
Runtime 4.8 hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher Matthew Paul Turner
Downloads ZIP MP3 M4B
Release Date April 11, 2011
Availability: Unrestricted (available worldwide)

He spent his childhood trapped within the confines of countless bizarre, strict rules. And lived to tell about it. In this first-hand account, author Matthew Paul Turner shares amusing-sometimes cringe-worthy-and poignant stories about growing up in a fundamentalist household, where even well-intentioned contemporary Christian music was proclaimed to be "of the devil."


He spent his childhood trapped within the confines of countless bizarre, strict rules. And lived to tell about it. In this first-hand account, author Matthew Paul Turner shares amusing-sometimes cringe-worthy-and poignant stories about growing up in a fundamentalist household, where even well-intentioned contemporary Christian music was proclaimed to be "of the devil."

Churched is a collection of stories that detail an American boy's experiences growing up in a culture where men weren't allowed let their hair grow to touch their ears ("an abomination "), women wouldn't have been caught dead in a pair of pants (unless swimming), and the pastor couldn't preach a sermon without a healthy dose of hellfire and brimstone. Matthew grapples with the absurdity of a Sunday School Barbie burning, the passionate annual boxing match between the pastor and Satan, and the holiness of being baptized a fifth time-while growing into a young man who, amidst the chaotic mess of religion, falls in love with Jesus.

48 Reviews Add Review

Customer Reviews 48 item(s)

In hindsight...
I listened to this book almost a year ago now so my review is a recollection of how the book made me feel about my faith in Christ rather than focusing on specifics. I recall relating to many of the author's experiences and laughing out loud at some. As the book progressed, I became more hopeless that Jesus' ongoing work through his church, broken as it is, would ever be recognized by Mr. Turner. There was entertainment value in the book but as a cure for what ails the American church I think the list of adverse side effects could be long indeed. You won't feel better after taking this pill.
Review by / (Posted on 8/29/2014)
At first I was cringing at what seemed to be attacks on Christianity. I felt guilty when I laughed out loud. But then I got it. It isn't an attack on Christianity, or on God. It's an honest, real look at one man's experience growing up in a certain flavor of church, and how that affected his relationship with Christ. I could relate with so much of it - the focus on pet doctrines, the judgments on those who don't interpret Scripture the way we do, the shying away from what has scarred us in the past. The last sentence or two of each chapter is a nugget of faith and trust. Thank God for grace! (I noticed several repeats of phrases. It'd be great if these could be cleaned up. But the author does a great job of telling his own story in audio form.)
Review by / (Posted on 4/11/2014)
Kinda mean
While I think that the author was sincerely trying to be funny, he was really just making fun of people who loved the Lord, and were trying to make a difference. I'm glad I got the free audio because I would feel pretty disappointed if I had paid for it.
Review by / (Posted on 8/21/2013)
Can't help but be funny
A look at being raised in a fundamentalist church. I appreciate it. Judging from some of the comments above, i'm not surprised that some Christians would take this as an attack on "the church" since most American Christians, at least those I've met and read and heard, really care more about getting people to church than helping them follow Jesus. Membership and attendance is paramount over true discipleship. The production of a Sunday morning meeting is the center of the universe. It's even consider worship. There needs to be more books like Churched.
Review by / (Posted on 8/17/2013)
The Wonder Years - Christian version
Witty, satirical, extremely- honest yet very touching true to life story of the struggles of a young boy who grew up in a legalistic Christian environment. His (mis) adventures are worth reading (listening to) and mature seasoned Christians will learn a thing or two from the author's own experiences. I love the hymns that start and end every chapter. Warning: not for the weak in their Faith lest they may stumble. :-P
Review by / (Posted on 7/9/2013)
Not a huge fan
I wanted to quit listening to this book several times, but suffered through so as to get a full impression of it. It never really got better. I feel that all this book brings to the table is some current examples of how the warnings of scripture come true... There are stories of the blind leading the blind and some wolves dressed in sheep's clothing, but other than that, it seems to be pretty negative and sarcastic in some ways that are less than helpful.

This book seems to simply be the venue that the author used to vent his frustrations towards fundamentalism. Though I identify with him in these frustrations, all it did was seem to tear down without ever building up the Body of Christ.
Review by / (Posted on 3/25/2013)
Nothing particularly powerful
This book is a guys' story, intriguing at times, but mainly intriguing because you are wondering if he is going to completely reject Christ while throwing babies out with the bathwater, or manage to at least hang on to some shred of orthodox Christianity. I was left wondering in the end. I didn't feel that I was particularly helped in any way by the book, except that it did do a good job of showing some of the errors of fundamentalism (they threw babies out with bathwater too, incidentally).
Review by / (Posted on 2/5/2013)
a very fun and entertaining story. It is a nice and simple look on youth and growing up in faith.

A great book to listen to when in traffic!
Review by / (Posted on 1/23/2013)
a great 'read'!
this was a great book. it was genuine, honest, funny and objective. Matt Turner is obviously comfortable enough in his faith to be able to expose his insecurities about our earthly church. He does not seem to aim to please, but seems to simply want to share his experience. The end of it is suitable as well. Although it isnt climatic, it wasnt supposed to be. after listening to his whole commentary, having him be 'born again'...again.... would only be written in as a crowd pleaser. i'm glad he did not fake the ending. :)
Review by / (Posted on 9/20/2012)
Great book
Found this to be a humorous yet true book about how certain churches and Christians can push people away from the church.
Review by / (Posted on 9/16/2012)
I was not overly thrilled with this audio book, in my opinion and it is just my opinion this book makes a lot of generalities. If filled with the Spirit of God this is not a issue, we ought to focus more on Him instead of pleasing man.
Review by / (Posted on 9/7/2012)
Wonderfully Refreshing
What a delight! Present reality of "church" delivered in a humourous and in sightful manner. I love his style of writing. Well done!
Review by / (Posted on 9/5/2012)
Excellent testimony of one man's journey of faith
Worth a listen for those disheartened by their churched upbringing. I am glad the author still searched for and found a church home after the harsh upbringing he experienced
Review by / (Posted on 9/5/2012)
interesting insight
I enjoyed the insight provided by the author regarding his own personal testimony and struggle to understand God, Christianity, and the Church.

A valuable insight into where many young people (Millennials) are at with the evangelical church in general.
Review by / (Posted on 9/5/2012)
Entertaining yet no closure
Having come from a similar past and having found the truth about Grace (or rather His revelation to me about Himself), I was very empathetic with the author throughout the book, waiting for the climax of the author’s revelation of the truth about the Gospel and the church, yet I was left disappointed and grieved for the author; ending his story in disillusionment yet with a desire toward God, but still looking to churches and pastors for the answer. May Grace find him like He found me and I hope the author may have a triumphant sequel to tell of how his soul found peace because his search ended in a relationship founded on Grace and the unconditional love of his Savior.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2012)
Left hanging but hopeful for the author
Having come from a similar past and having found the truth about Grace (or rather His revelation to me about Himself), I was very empathetic with the author throughout the book, waiting for the climax of the author’s revelation of the truth about the Gospel and the church, yet I was left disappointed and grieved for the author; ending his story in disillusionment yet with a desire toward God, but still looking to churches and pastors for the answer. May Grace find him like He found me and I hope the author may have a triumphant sequel to tell of how his soul found peace because his search ended in a relationship founded on Grace and the unconditional love of his Savior.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2012)
My 15 year old daughter especially loves Churched. The author pulls you into his world. We never get tired of listening to this book. It will have you rolling.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2012)
I think the author had some good points and really gets you thinking.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2012)
Truthful, but flawed
Don't listen to this book expecting a neat conclusion - it's too biographical for that. An interesting story of the struggles of a boy growing up in a smalltown fundamentalist church. Ultimately, it's a somewhat sad story because, as other reviewers have said, what the author ends up with is something of a shadow of the community of faith that church should have been.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2012)
Is this author really a Christian?
This book seems to indicate everything that is wrong with the American church. No-one in this story seems to have understood the gospel and were living hypocritical lives. I was throughtly depressed after listening to it!
Review by / (Posted on 8/24/2012)
Made Me Laugh, Made Me Think
Mr Turner has my sense of humor. It’s dry, plentiful, and full of extreme exaggeration. Loved the book. He made me laugh throughout the whole story.

As you can tell from the other reviews, it’s not for everyone. While not being very uplifting or theological (at all), it does do an excellent job of cleverly pointing out some very negative human characteristics within the Christian church that are good to be made aware of. I think the book will make you think about what following Jesus should look like, whether you like the book or not.

The narration is absolutely excellent. He’s got an interesting voice, and I found it really added to my fascination with this story.

I’m definitely interested in listening to more of his books.
Review by / (Posted on 5/31/2012)
The author depicts his relationship with church and getting to know Christ through the eyes of a child. A lighthearted look at growth in one's earthly walk.
Review by / (Posted on 5/13/2012)
Inspired and appreciative
I have to say that this is one of the best reads I have had in a while. This book is smart, funny, insightful and at times poignant. This isn’t a book that will suit everyone, I don’t think it’s meant to be, but it is a book that presents situations that most Christians can relate to in some way.

Churched presents a story of how one person came to embrace the Christian faith in a deep and personal way, despite spending many years feeling like he didn’t belong within the church group that he grew up in.
Review by / (Posted on 4/2/2012)
Jesus is grace, not rules
Matthew Paul Turner's Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess engages you from the get go. I am going to have to assume that if one to were read this with no church background at all, they would definitely leave the reading thinking the Baptists are all crackpots. But, if you have had any type of upbringing in the church you will be smirking a whole lot, unless of course you are a pure bred fundamentalist with no sense of humor. That would probably be the kind of person Turner hopes would read this and see themselves in it.

I grew up in a very small Methodist church in nowhere Wisconsin. I had the unfortunate belief of nothing. I just couldn't get past Jesus being the core of great stories, just like Santa and Rudolph were. If I would have been transplanted from my comfortable church setting to the intense fundamentalist Baptist setting of the author, I kind of think I would have been way messed up. It took me a long time not to be messed up as it was.

As, the modern age of church evolves I think it is this type of reflection, on one's perspective of the church growing up, that we can all learn from. The bottom line is as Turner takes reveals his own messed up mind growing up the church we see one prevailing factor. In a fundamentalist church you have to live up to the rules of the church and the love the Lord is something that just doesn't seem to exist. It is hard to love something you are terrified of.

When church is nothing but dressing up, having the appropriate hairstyle, witnessing out of guilt and fear, every sermon is a `get out of hell' motivational speech, and a fearing of when the age of accountability is church becomes wearisome and scary.

Now, my words might make this book sound depressing. It is not. It is a blast. It is articulately funny. Turner taps into every stereotype of the church we have seen or have been. Through his narrative he makes us reflect on things we have done or wondered about in church and makes it OK to do so. He covers the gamut. Door to door evangelism, what TV shows we `can't' watch, sleeping through sermons, spotting sin, etc.

We Christians can do a lot of things to get ourselves stereotyped and Turner's perspective of his dad is a great example...." There were times when I envied my father for having the right personality to be a Baptist. He was stubborn, could be cold-minded toward anything that wasn't his idea, and was fully convinced that Pentecostals were a bunch of nut jobs."

Funny? Yes. Convicting? Yes. Remind you of someone you know? Definitely.

I highly recommend the book. It is an easy, enjoyable read, that will remind you that loving the Lord is the beauty of responding to His grace. And it so much easier to love grace than fear condemnation.
Review by / (Posted on 3/31/2012)
Great and sad
This book is a perfect description of a church in Indiana I wonder if he's talking about that church. Great because he is honest. Sad because it is the truth that could push others farther away from Jesus.
Review by / (Posted on 3/14/2012)
Book lacks purpose and gives no solution
I personally grew up in an IFB church and I figured by the title of this book that it was about someone raised in this circle which prompted me to take the time to listen. I would like to review this book on several levels and will break them apart in paragraphs.

1. Literary - The author overused similes in this book. Too many “likes”, it just got annoying. Also, the use of these exaggerations where too extreme and did give a sense of sarcasm.
2. Purpose – Not sure if I can say there is any useful purpose in this book. It does describe how life was, to an extent, growing up in an IFB church, but I would question if all the issues brought up in the book were “actually” as extreme as depicted. Some of the issues written on were right in line with what I experienced and others were not. If all the things talked about in this book all happened to the extreme the author portrayed them under one steeple, it would be a very rare case.
3. Author’s attitude – The author definitely poked fun and also gave credit to the authorities presented in the book that showed good character, though part of his “church” experience and possibly the problem. There were times I laughed when he touch on something close to my experiences and other times very sad seeing how man’s traditions and poor interpretation of Scripture clouded the Gospel message.
4. Purpose – I was not greatly impressed with the book because it lacked purpose. It paints a very bleak picture of the Christian church most likely leading someone further away from the true Gospel of Jesus or deepening the bitterness of a similar experience. I could see it helping someone understand the IFB church and how it operates for the purpose of counseling (keeping some of the extremities in mind).

Critical Conclusion: If the author is presenting himself honestly, he has the same problem now in his “new” church as he did in the IFB church. Church is still about himself. In the IFB, how one was seen externally by the church was more important that how ones heart was seen before God. Legalism, in most cases is performed more for the protection of self out of fear of man and God over glorifying God. The author writes as when he was approaching the pastor of the “new” church in Ch. 16 with the question: “How will I fit in?” The focus is still on self and that is the issue. The New Testament church is presented in the scriptures as a body of believers focused on Christ and self-sacrificially giving to one another as Christ did for the church. If you approach church like you're shopping for a country club with comfort, acceptability and self-interest in mind, then expect to be unfulfilled and empty. I am humbly grateful the Lord gave me the ability to see past myself and I pray the same for the author and anyone else that may have experienced what he did.
Review by / (Posted on 2/23/2012)
Waste of time. Can I mark a negative star rating?
I thought this book has promise, because we all need to get away from following Jesus by obeying a bunch of rules and just follow Him out of love. But as I read, I quickly realized that this book was not going to say that. This guy basically goes way too far the other direction and creates his own "Christianity."

Maybe you like this kind of book, but in my opinion, it's a complete waste of time. It's just a big narrative. No scripture, no teaching, it's just an annoying (and I think somewhat fictitious) story. It's full of an amateur comedian's joke attempts, and it seems like he's trying desperately to make you like him rather than to show you some truth he's discovered. That's annoying to me. I don't like it when people waste my time. Tell me what you are trying to say, and then let me chew on it. I think he is embellishing his stories of his "messed up" childhood. I'd like to talk to his parents and "Pastor Nolan" to see what they have to say about this book, and what they are really like. I know these people do exist, but he makes everyone sound like imbeciles while he is the only one in the story with his head screwed on straight.
In the end of the book, he is VERY vague about the final conclusions he has reached. It seems like he has convinced himself that it's okay to not go to church very often, okay not to have relationships with people, okay not to forgive and overlook what you see as their shortcomings, and that God's Word isn't authoritative in our lives. How did he get here? He goes from ranting about his growing up to what he says in the last 5 minutes of the book very abruptly.

From what I gather, he and his wife are now "members" of a community church, but they don't have relationships with people there, they don't read the Bible much because they don't see the words of God as perfect, and they only come to church every once in awhile because they don't think they "fit in". I wonder what the New Testament Christians-the ones that saw Jesus die- would think about that kind of person. I don't think they were concerned about "fitting in." Basically, I think this guy is anti-authority, including coming from the Bible, but he still has a need to be liked by everybody, so he goes to church to satisfy people. And he writes this book to please people who feel a spiritual void in their lives, and instead of cleaning the inside of their cups, they blame the church for their lack of a relationship with God. They'll spend the rest of their lives blaming the church and disconnected from it, fooling themselves into thinking that this is what God wants for them, and that they are ok and that He's pleased with their decision to separate from His body. And all the while they'll remain spiritually disconnected from the Father, too. Then, at the judgement, not surprisingly, he'll tell them, "I never knew you." And then eternity will begin.

At the end of the book Turner says he's passionate about Jesus, but I don't believe it. You cannot be passionate about Jesus and disconnected from His word and His people at the same time.

I just wasted my time listening to this. At least I did it on my commute, so that would have been semi-wasted time anyway. Don't waste yours.
Review by / (Posted on 2/20/2012)
I've visited churches that approach what the author was describing but the way he described it was very unnecessary. It sounds like the author is bitter about his past. While I would agree that the some of the examples he gave were unbiblical and not promoting the cause of Christ, he exaggerates them and tends to judge other believers and their motives for what they do.

I decided not to finish listening to the audio book because it served no purpose other than to ridicule a group of believers. That's causing dissension among the believers and my Bible tells me that God hates that.
This book isn't worth the reading.
Review by / (Posted on 2/10/2012)
There are plenty of other books that would be a much better use of your time.
Review by / (Posted on 2/2/2012)
Important lessons
I think others on this board are being a little too harsh on the review of this book. If the author is telling the truth about his experiences and how it changed his life… who am I to judge it as worthless? I think there are very important lessons to be learned from this.

First, what we teach and how we teach it can sometimes determine the direction people go in life…. for good or for bad. We have to offer good sound teaching that is lead by the bible and the Holy Spirit in order to have real change in people. Two, we have to realize that it is God that molds us not man. If we are not careful in how we teach we will begin to mold people into our image and not the image of God. He is the potter and we are the clay. Lastly Jesus’s blood can reach anybody. Just because the author didn’t say that he is all straighten out now doesn’t mean he will never be. God can untangle the craziest thoughts and the bitterest of all emotions.

I agree that this book can act as a warning for all Christians to grow closer to God not through fear but through love. In order to show God to the world we have to show the love of God to each other. I said all that to say this… this book reminded me how important God's love is and you can never discount other people’s experiences. Sometimes it takes time to be totally healed from the things that derailed our faith. The author is writing out of his hurt. But I’m confident that if he draws closer to the truth of God's word he could change for the better.
Review by / (Posted on 1/18/2012)
The Title is Deceptive
A sad recollection of the experiences of a child growing up in a Fundamentalist Church and family.

I'm not a Fundamentalist. I'm probably closer to the old school Presbyterian he mockingly caricatures, (along with a host of others), in the last chapter, so I really don't have a Fundamentalist axe to grind.

But I do fear that Turner is not journeying toward God as the subtitle says, but away from Him.

His statements regarding the inerrancy of scripture are troubling: "I don't know what I believe about the bible being infallible. I believe it's inspired. I believe it tells God's story, but infallible? I don't know."

"Inspired" in what way? Beethoven's 9th Symphony is inspired but not by God, certainly in no way close to the bible.

"God's story"? The bible is not God's story book.

His statements about the Cross and the Resurrection are also cause for concern: "I can't believe His resurrection is meant to be downsized into one simple equation. That doesn't seem like grace to me. I guess what I'm hoping to find in a church is a place all about joining God in the resurrection story." What does that mean? At best it is an ambiguous and weak understanding of Christ's resurrection and what it means to follow Him.

Like others, based on the title I was expecting the book to end in Mr. Turner being freed from the works based chains that bound him and growing closer to God and other believers but that is definitely not the case.

This book is not worth your time unless you want to hear anecdote after negative anecdote of his recollections of growing up in a Fundamentalist Christian home. There is no redeeming value here. Nothing that would promote spiritual growth, love to others or bring praise to God for His grace.

I can't recommend this book to anyone.
Review by / (Posted on 1/7/2012)
Well worth the read
An eye-opening book, that exposes many of the 'Toxic' religious thoughts, teaching and manipulations that unfortunately do exist is Churches all over the world today. I don't believe that all "Baptist" or "Fundamental" Churches are like the one described in this book, and I also believe there are other denominations that are falling into the same trap.

This is exactly the result of trying to earn one's salvation through morality and self-effort, rather than by the grace of God. In relying on what other think of us as a measure of our being accepted by Christ. This book serves as a warning, and should cause alarms to go off in your head, should you hear these teaching being propagated.

All of that said, I found myself chuckling aloud so many times while listening to this book. It is a good read/listen for any Christian, or for any non-Christian to realize what true Christianity is not.
Review by / (Posted on 11/6/2011)
Interesting, but sacrilegious.
This book is highly interesting--and the author's voice is perfect for the sarcastic tone of the book.

There is a tinge of truth to most everything the author relates. But I would think that much of it is a fabrication, for a 4 and 5 year old couldn't possible remember all those precise conversations and details which he relates.

Also, the author seems to paint most ALL Christians as hypocritical, unthinking idiots. This is an unfair caricature.

The bottom line, is that the underlying tone of the book is sacrilegious. I could imagine it being offered on an atheistic website--but it surprised me that it is found on a Christian website.

Review by / (Posted on 10/24/2011)
So very sad...
Nice to see that others sensed the bitterness this writer has toward the Church and all those who disagree with his views. I'm sorry he hasn't learned about grace and forgiveness yet. But there's hope for everyone.
Review by / (Posted on 9/4/2011)
Wish there was more meat
Every once in a while I come across a book that diverges from theology, youth ministry, introspection, apologetics, or even fiction that interests me. Churched is one of those books. It describes a young man (author Matthew Paul Turner) growing up in a hyper-conservative southern baptist church. Despite all odds of being embittered against and rejecting the legalistic tendencies of his upbringing, Turner is able to see the beauty of the Gospel and continue in his faith and love for the Lord. This interested me immediately.

What I liked: Turner is a great story-teller. In each of his experiences, the reader can easily imagine all the little details he is describing to a "t." Also, this book jumps deeply into many of the ridiculous teachings that can come from a place of pride, envy, judging others, etc. Some of the examples from his real life are so preposterous they come across as simply unbelievable... in a good way. Turner calls things like they are. This book truly reveals the deception that lies in the hearts of others. It shows the dark side of the church. It angered me at times.

What I Didn't Like: First of all, I have this as an audiobook from, as part of their reviewers program. Turner's voice wears on the listener. His tone is one of almost mocking the characters in his story as he tells them.
For all of the dark stories the author tells, he rarely mentions his journey with the Lord. He simply tells 15 chapters worth of stories about how crazy and pretty much ungodly his southern baptist church was growing up. Then suddenly in the last chapter he tells a story of his current church, a couple things he believes, and how he still loves Jesus despite his past. This is great, don't get me wrong, but we aren't allowed into that transformation at all. We don't see the process. It makes all his stories lack direction, purpose, and meaning.
This book would have been awesome if he had half the stories from his childhood, focused on the things he had to wrestle with because of those stories and how he was able to grow in his faith and maintain his love for Christ and passion for the Gospel. That is a book worth reading. This one seems to digress into cheap shots against people of his past and a total bashing of all fundamentalism with very little pay-off in the end.

Personal Takeaways: I was challenged in how I interact with my students as I read this book. One of the positive things this book establishes is that the mind of an adolescent is very pliable. The very tone in which I teach things, my motivation behind every talk I give, and my (potential) lack of focus on the Gospel can easily embitter my students later on in life. I must be careful to teach only what Scripture teaches and model only who Christ is. Nothing more. Nothing less. My ministry at TreeHouse cannot fall into any traps of legalism or berating others. This is not the Good News.

Who's It For?: If you are looking to get into the mind of ultra-conservative, fundamentalist, southern baptist churches (I'm speaking in probably too broad of terms here), this book could give you some insight. It is a quick and easy read, mainly being full of stories. I'd say it's accessible to all, but ultimately panders into name-calling and mocking far too often and fails to establish the story of what God is doing and has done in the heart of the author.
Review by / (Posted on 9/3/2011)
Hits close to home
I grew up in a very similar church to what Matthew describes. Fortunately, the church I went to always preached to "check everything in the bible for yourself". That backfired on them on many occasions and helped me figure out the difference between opinions and truth. Matthew ends the book with the feeling that he is still searching. I don't find any problem with continuing to search for God. God is big enough to find us. Many who believe the same as those described in the book believe it is wrong to search and question. They will be the ones that will give this book a negative review. It is a good read for any christian to help think through how others interpret their actions and teachings.
Review by / (Posted on 8/11/2011)
I'm not one to go over all the details of the book. It's a funny book and from the reviews, I wonder what kind of church the people that gave this book a 1-2 star review attend? Probably ones that look a lot like the ones that this guy talks about in the book! Hilarious how a kid interprets what happens in stuffy...or fundamentalist... churches! I'd be bitter being forced into some of the things he talks about too but I don't think it was just a bitter memoir.
This is a fun book and best of all, free for now!

Review by / (Posted on 7/28/2011)
Let's start off with the positive: Mr. Turners writing style is engaging, sometimes even funny.

Other than that, it isn't worth the free download, nor the time listening to it. One star is ten too many.

I am not a fundamentalist, but knowing a few of them, I'm well aware of issues present in their church. But I also know that for many of them, their heart is in the right place.

Quite a few of them are solid in their faith and their theology -- and those who are, approach their church leadership to effect change where needed. They do not, as Mr. Turner chose to, write slanderous, back-handed parodies.

The most disappointing part of this recording was that there appears to be no point or resolution to it. Mr. Turner regales the listener with hours worth of anecdotes, each ridiculing Sunday school teachers, pastors, their wives, family friends or classmates, and then ends with a short "we're going to church on Sunday."

Ironically, Mr. Turner becomes guilty of all the negative preaching of which he accuses his childhood church: The bulk of his writing is spent condemning, ridiculing and marginalizing.

I would not recommend this book to anyone. There are much better ways to spend the time; much better books. I will even go so far as to say that this book as no value in the life of a Christian. It does not edify, it does not build up, it does not point to Christ nor present the gospel, it gives no advice, no counsel, no hope. It will attract a few "me too" votes and loud approval from those who enjoying finding fault in others.
Review by / (Posted on 7/14/2011)
What Would Jesus Read??
My first impression after having listend to this audiobook was, "I wonder if Jesus would have just spent the time listening to this?"

I do understand where the author is coming from. I have personally experienced some of the same things as he did, but with a VERY different outlook on it all.

This book has a very definite bitter undertone, and although funny in places, left me feeling very grieved in my spirit, and burdened for the author's salvation. Listening to him state that he is not sure that the Bible is infallible, and other comments, makes me wonder if he truly understands (and possesses) true salvation.

I cannot understand why this book would be on a CHRISITIAN audio site - to me, it seems like it should be on an anti-Christian audio site. It is very negative, and I kept waiting for the author to "balance out" his experience, but he never did.

One other thing that I found very un-Christlike was the way he dishonored his parents and other authority figures in his life. Regardless of whether they deserve it, we are to honor our parents, and my heart really went out to them after listening to this audiobook. I hope the author's children won't do that to him one day, when he is sincerely trying to follow Chirst, and doesn't do everything right.

It saddens me to see so many people "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" when it comes to being in a doctrinally sound church. Just because some churches are off the deep end with "standards", doesn't mean they are off the deep end doctrinally when it comes to salvation, and sanctified living.

I feel bad that I listened to this audiobook and gained nothing from it but a little entertainment. It did nothing to encourage or exhort me spiritually, and I have to admit that I will be more careful what I listen to from christianaudio in the future.

Review by / (Posted on 7/11/2011)
Loved this, stuff like this make us the person we are today. I enjoyed it a lot, recommended 100%
Review by / (Posted on 6/20/2011)
Pretty Meh
The snarky, ungracious tone of the book made this book a difficult "read". Since it was read by the author, there can be no doubt that he read it in the tone he meant it in. The author seems bitter. I think Mr. Turner has some growing up to do before the story he relates in this book is truly finished.
Review by / (Posted on 5/25/2011)
I felt the author left too many doors open and failed to complete the story. He criticizes the fundamentalist church and the environment he was raised in but never references an encounter with God or a biblical retort for the criticism he is giving. I do see the humor and the accuracy of the restrictive nature of the fundamentalist movement. However, there is freedom in Christ and this was not addressed (except maybe, and not even really here, but in the last 60 seconds of the book).
Review by / (Posted on 5/14/2011)
Humorous and sad
The author recounts hist journey of faith through fundamentalism. From the short attention span of his childhood, to the simple understanding that dictated his response to church and God. His dry, sophomoric humor provides a good chuckle, but it is also an honest reflection of childlike reasoning.
Several chapters left me feeling sorry for the mistruths that he had been taught. The impression that they had on him and his life with Jesus provoked challenges that he still struggles with. I appreciate his candidness in the book, and really enjoyed listening.
Review by / (Posted on 5/6/2011)
A funny book - but still kinda sad.
I think this book is witty and funny, even though it tells a story of a kind of troublesome childhood. Matthew Paul Turner tells his story without bitterness and with a loving tone. Still critical to it - a balance he handles well.

Being a mother of a son with psychoneurological challenges, I really liked how he shows how church can be for a kid with ADHD. This is not a book about that - he just mentions it briefly, but it explains some of the things that happens in the book.
Review by / (Posted on 5/3/2011)
not recommended
Pretty dull read. Lame attempts at humor covering a lot of bitterness.
Review by / (Posted on 4/27/2011)
Insightful & Non-Judgmental
This is an excellent book about Matthew Paul Turner's life. He is candid and honest in a book about deeply important things when it comes to being raised within religion. He does a wonderful job of telling stories without judgment or agenda. A hard thing to do! A good read (listen).
Review by / (Posted on 4/14/2011)
Hilarious but often poignant
What happens to a kid who grows up in a fundamentalist church when he or she rejects fundamentalism? Many times, because they "got" the message that fundamentalism is the only "true" Christianity, they wind up rejecting Christianity/religion as a whole. However, sometimes, some people find a path through this forest of legalism, conspiracy theories, and isolated subculture to Jesus...or maybe Jesus finds them.

Such is the case for my friend Matthew Paul Turner. In his book Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, Matthew recounts his journey of faith through fundamentalism. The narrative that Turner offers is equal parts memoir and satire. Though it could have easily devolved into a bitter rant decrying his upbringing, Matthew succeeds in virtually channeling himself as a child. As such, his story reads with a nostalgic sweetness that brings both laughter and tears. Churched is genuinely funny, and at times quite poiniant. Many readers will find the experience similar to a kind of group they learn to laugh at their own stories too. Far from demonizing the "characters" in his story, Matthew excels at revealing their humanity and sincerity. As hilarious as the stories of his Sunday School Teacher's lesson on manna or his childhood pastor's "boxing match with Satan" are, you get the sense that Matthew also finds a way to honor and respect them. Though it is never explicit, you can clearly see the bruises and scars that Matthew carries and how he has wrestled to find a way to believe. In the end, the implicit main character of this memoir is not Matthew himself, but rather the Savior that he loves who shines through all of the craziness and has led Matthew to a genuine faith that is characterized by hope and love.

I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. Even if you didn't grow up in a fundamentalist church or subculture, I think you may find surprising resonance and inspiration.
Review by / (Posted on 4/13/2011)
Great Read
Refreshing and quick witted, Matthew gives a fresh look at Christianity and helps the reader move beyond the resentment and frustrations that often accompanies a life raised within the bonds of a legalistic Christianity.

"Churched" brings new inspiration for living within the freedom of Christianity that God intended His for his followers within their fellowship.

A must read for those disillusioned by their upbringing and in need of hope for the dream that God has for the world.
Review by / (Posted on 4/13/2011)