A Thrashing Book

A little over a year ago the publishing company I work for acquired author Mandy Steward. At the time we could tell she was a good writer, she had a well crafted proposal for a book, and she was a housewife living in somewhere, Oklahoma with her husband and four kids. Mandy didn’t have a huge platform, she wasn’t speaking at all the catalytic gatherings. But she had made a statement on her blog: I’m tired of being a Christian. And as honest statements usually do, it received its fair share of feedback. The expected reactions came, but what she also received were numerous responses of the me too variety.

I was paired up with Mandy as her editor and off to the races we went. What I sensed after the first reading of her manuscript was that there was a question behind her provocative blog statement, one I believed just as honest: what about me? And as luck or grace would have it, I’d been asking that same question for a long, long time. It doesn’t have to be all about me, but its at least got to be a little bit about me, or what’s the point of me?

thrashingaboutwithgodbymandystewardThe result of our work together is Thrashing About With God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything. Mandy’s proud of it, and so am I. Every review I’ve seen so far has said in either a straightforward or roundabout way – this is an honest book. Here’s how the backcover copy reads: My God has not proved safe, and my Christian answers have not proved to be enough. There have been times when doing the right thing and playing by the rules most certainly did not land me in the place of a thriving and vibrant life to the full. I don’t want the answers I’m supposed to have. I want the ones that actually work. Or perhaps I want to know that there actually are no blanket, black-and-white answers for cleaning up the messiness that I face. Namely, I want to breathe again. I am desperate. Maybe you are too. And you’re tired. You’re tired of pretending. You’re tired of building walls around your heart. You’re tired of doing “the Christian thing.” But you’re also terrified. Me too. But I want to breathe again.

I recommend this book to you if anything, anything at all in those words pluck a chord in you. But don’t expect smooth sailing. This, dear reader, is a thrashing book.

563182_633043720081004_2028927422_n*Yeah, that’s Mandy on the left. Photo credit – Hillary ‘Rain’ McFarland.

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11 Comments

  1. pastordt on November 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I think maybe this is the same Mandy who wrote several pieces for A Deeper Story that I LOVED. Is that right? Hooray for her – these are such important things to say, good questions to ask. We need more people willing to ask them, without shame and without being somehow attacked for thinking outside ‘the box.’ I’m ordering the book now. Thank you.

    • thebeautifuldue on November 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      Yes, Diana, its the same Mandy. Thanks!

      • pastordt on November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        Very cool. What a great connection to pair her with you, John. Looking forward to this.

  2. ramblingtart on November 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I’m so glad that you connected with her story and helped share it with so many others. I’m a pastor’s daughter and can no longer claim a faith of any sort, but I dearly love hearing the stories of others and how they thrash through things to come to a place of peace.

  3. Gwen Acres on November 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I am ordering this now! Through blogs and books I am finding a much needed
    new Christian family. Thank you Mandy and John.

  4. Bonnie Grove on November 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    It is good to see people wrestling faith that is centered around ourselves and our ability to perform in certain ways. With the things that have nothing to do with being Christian. It’s the only way to shed them. It’s surprising how much it hurts to do so, and who hurts us along the way. I hope the people who need to wrestle their way out of church culture find hope in this book. And please know there are a few people waiting on the other side. Those of us who have fought and lost and now stand on the shore pulling out the half drowned souls who had the courage to face their false faith. Because in facing it, we found ourselves the recipients of vast mercy, grace, and maybe even faith.We found that God was willing to continue working with us no matter what state he found us in. He keeps plugging along,lavishing mercy on the wicked and ungrateful.

  5. Lindsay Terry on November 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Congratulations Mandy and John. May the book be used of the Lord to help many hurting, fearful people.

    Lindsay Terry

  6. Misti on November 3, 2013 at 12:04 am

    I remember when I first came to read Mandy’s blog three years ago she was just beginning a transition. She was still in what I would call a ‘crafty’ mode and as I stuck with her blog over the next several months I realized I could identify with a lot of what she wrote. I’ve only just begun her book and as I read it I’m so glad she wrote it.

  7. Susan Contakes on November 3, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Thank you for this work and honest questions. I am looking forward to reading this, Thank you for getting the word out. Bless you, Susan

  8. Grace Elizabeth on November 3, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Thrashing about with God tore me in half and left me…well, thrashing. And then God restored {continues to restore} me to a better place. And THIS is why Mandy is so amazing. She lays herself out there {gets naked} and in doing so gives us the space to do the same – which leaves the room for God to move. I am never goign to be able to explain it, but I am changed – and Mandy started that.

  9. Cherry Odelberg on November 3, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Oh. Maybe if I read this I will feel not so alone.

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