O Me of Little Faith

This is release week for my friend Matthew Paul Turner‘s new book, Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess. Release week is always a big deal for a writer, because typically you’ll have finished the book months before, and since then you’ve just been sitting around and doing not much of anything, other than some advance marketing. Then, boom!, everything happens the week the book drops. You want people to blog about it. You want people to buy it on Amazon (high rankings are a must). You do in-store signings and early-morning radio interviews and blog interviews and pretty much your life is crazy for a couple of days. It’s exhausting.

MPT has been through this before, because at my count, he’s written nearly six kajillion books. Churched is his first hardback, though, and it’s gotten some seriously good publicity, and it’s the kind of book that vaults you into version 2.0 of your writing career. I’m excited for him. (In fact, I liked Churched enough to endorse it.)

Churched is a warm, funny memoir about Matthew’s experiences growing up in an extremely fundamentalist church. I know a bit of his story — my background wasn’t as extreme as his, but both of us have sort of ended up in the same place spiritually — and what impresses me about him is that he’s able to treat the fundie garbage in his past with such grace. Churched is not a mean-spirited book at all, but it could have been. And in the hands of most other writers, it would have been. I appreciate Matthew’s gift at that kind of merciful introspection, and it’s worth reading just for the chance to see someone refuse to be defined by his past, and learn to grow beyond that past without getting angry or bitter.

What I also appreciate about Churched is its title. “Churched” is perfect. It’s a noun turned into an adjective! Not sure who came up with it, but since getting the advanced copy I can’t stop thinking of other descriptive location-based adjectives that would make good book titles. This is because I’m a strange person. But anyway, here’s my list:

+ Starbucked: One Woman’s Search for Coffee Despite All the Other Products In Her Way

+ Garaged: One Man’s Epic Quest to Install a New Alternator on His Plymouth Voyager

+ Outbacked: How I Tried, and Failed, to Eat an Entire Bloomin’ Onion

+ Porta-Pottied: One Woman’s Traumatic Weekend Locked Inside a Portable Toilet, and How Everything Eventually Came Out All Right

+ Malled: One Man’s Quest to Buy His Wife a Gift She Won’t Return

+ Targeted: A Tale of Love, Lust, and Hilarity Inside America’s Hippest Discount Store

+ Vaticanned: A Plucky Nun’s Dramatic Ascent and Downfall in the World’s Last Bastion of Masculinity

Contest! Post your own fake book titles using location-based nounjectives in the comments. The best one gets a free copy of Pocket Guide to the Bible. Signed by me.

Stay tuned next week for an interview with Matthew Paul Turner about humor and the church.

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