This is perhaps not what you are looking for.
By “clean” I mean that Christians often want to tell conversion stories that are clean: I was a sinner and then I found Jesus and now I’m squeaky clean. This kind of story happens sometimes — and I know lots of people like this. So this is one kind of story.
But there is another kind of story that is far more normal than the “clean stories” suggest. The fact is that many if not most Christians struggle, especially until they line up into the ruts and routines of middle age (and then some are still struggling). If struggling is far more common than we often hear, why don’t we tell more of those stories. Will it, as some have suggested, create a bad model and steer the struggling into thinking that their struggles are OK or that they can sin and it is OK?
I doubt it.
Some tell this story: I was a sinner and still am; I am a Christian but not all that good of one at times; I wish I were a better one. God be merciful to me a sinner.
This is why I like stories of Christians like that of Karen Spears Zacharias, told so insightfully in her memoir Hero Mama but which will soon come out in paperback with the title After the Flag is Folded.
John Burke’s new book, No Perfect People Allowed, is along the same line. If some of you had the opportunity to read Tony Hendra’s Father Joe one finds a similar kind of truth-telling about a person struggling for faith. A more theologically-shaped story but just as truthful is John Goldingay’s Walk On.
I could go on, but I wouldn’t mind it if others pointed to similar honest-to-God strugglers.