our summer read-along begins… NOW!

Welcome, friends, to our first-ever Summer Read-Along! This post is gonna be short, sweet, to the point, and all that jazz (click here for the reasons I chose this book). There’s no reading due today–we’re just popping in to say howdy to each other. So if you’re just now finding out about this, THERE’S STILL TIME TO JOIN THE FUN!!

(In fact, if you click this link and buy the book rightnow on Amazon, I think I get 13 cents of your purchase. Cha-ching!) EDIT: It’s 41 cents!! FORTY-ONE!!

Speaking of getting rich, a huge thank-you to my husband who spent 9 hours on jury duty today for a whopping TWENTY DOLLARS, then came home and designed this fun little read-along logo for me for a whopping ZERO DOLLARS. You’re a champ, G.

It’s summer, friends. And summer is all about laid-back, carefree, come what may (or so they say). So, in the spirit of our footloose and fancy-free read-along, here’s all I need from you today if you’re planning on/thinking about/probably, maybe joining us for the next few Tuesdays:

1. Your name (as much of it as you’re willing to share).

2. Your place o’ residence (I’m thinking more city/state, less house #).

3. What intrigues you about this book (in 25 words or less–this is going to be SO hard for some of you, so I’ll extend grace in advance to the wordy).

4. Your favorite picnic food.

Oh, and your homework for next week:

*Read the Preface and Introduction. Come back next Tuesday (June 12) ready for some discussion.*

If the assignment seems a bit light to you, there’s a reason. Three actually. 1.) I don’t want to scare away our more commitment-phobic friends. 2.) I know several people still haven’t gotten their book yet, and there’s still time to invite your friends! and 3.) I underlined over half of the entire introduction, so there’s plenty to talk about.

The reading assignments will be much longer in the weeks to come, so feel free to read ahead (if you haven’t already read the whole thing).

The plan for next Tuesday:

1. Stop by at any time during the day (my posts usually go live at 12:01am the night before, if you’re a night owl or a west-coaster), read the post, and comment as you feel led.

2. Stop by as many other times as you’d like to see what people are saying/respond in a KIND, RESPECTFUL manner, even if you vehemently disagree.

3. Write your own post (if you feel like you have way too much to say in a comment) and let us know about it. In the past I’ve done a link-up, and I wasn’t going to do it this time, but if enough people want it, I will.

And that’s it.

So, in the comments section below, just answer the four numbered questions above the three numbered statements above. (Tee hee hee.) Here they are again so there’s no confusion.

1. Name.

2. Location.

3. Why you’re here.

4. Fave picnic food.

See you back here Tuesday for what should prove to be a lively discussion on faith, doubt, God, and monkeys!

68 thoughts on “our summer read-along begins… NOW!

  1. TaraBeef

    1. Tara
    2. Troy, Ohio
    3. Working on having a relationship with the God of the universe, and not just complete a religious to-do list.
    4. Any big messy, sloppy sandwich 🙂

  2. Deb T

    1 – Deb T
    2 – Living in Northern Virginia for 10 more days, then moving to Washington State.
    3 – I’ll be listening to the book this time while I drive and unpack- I read it last fall with a friend from church, but I’m looking forward to hear different perspectives.
    4 – Chocolate chip cookies that have been sitting in the sun for a while…

  3. Nina

    1. Nina
    2. Asheville, NC
    3. Skeptic–nah, pretty much an atheist now. Tired of thinking I’ll magically start believing if I go through the motions. I’ve quit church (never fit in with that culture). Visited this blog today for the first time in months. I always wanted to read Rachel’s book back when I was going through the motions of Christianity, but I never got around to it. Rachel seems to have some understanding of what I’ve gone through (based on her blog), so maybe she (and this reading group) will help me to see “God” in a new light.
    4. Wine and cheese

  4. Paula

    1. Paula
    2. Houston metro area, Texas
    3. Love Rachel’s blog and your sense of humor (recognized in just one page!)
    4. Hot corn on the cob covered in butter and salt!
    (Will be out-of-town next week, but will try to catch up.)

  5. Kristin

    1. I’m Kristin
    2. I have lived in Los Angeles for 15 months (but who’s counting) and ….
    3. … other than the fact that being out here messes with your head and it’s easy to find a church but SO difficult to find a church HOME, I have been searching to better understand what I believe for myself when it comes to who God is and what living with him daily truly looks like, not just what I’ve been taught growing up in the bubble of Christian sub-culture. (I’m one of the wordy who needs that grace, lol.)
    4. I LOVE strawberries!

  6. Ruth

    1. I’m Ruth, been reading your blog for a long time but have never posted on it. My daughter went to Cedarville with your sisiter and told me about you several years ago. Been following and praying for your family for a long time.
    2. Warrington, Pa, ( suburb of Philadelphia)
    3.I was intrigued by the book’s title and when I read the introduction there seeemed to be so many comparisions to my own life, Grew up as the daughter of a very conservative Baptist pastor in rural New England.
    4. Hmm, thats a tough one. I love just about all picnic foods, maybe a little too much since I am dieting for my son’s wedding right now.

  7. Kelly

    1. Kelly
    2. Washington, D.C.
    3. I read the book about 5 months ago and loved it. Rachel’s story of doubt so deeply mirrored my own and I found myself agreeing with nearly every word. It inspired me to seek and trust God again. Now, I’m taking a step back and thinking about some of the theological claims a little more seriously, and would love some companionship along the way.
    4. Strawberries 🙂

  8. whimzie

    1. I’m Amy better known to Marla as Whimzie, and I’m…

    2. Moving from northwest Florida in the next few weeks, which is why I think I’m CRAZY to leave a comment on this post as if I’m in any shape to be part of any even sort of organized group when I don’t even know if I’ll have internet access for most of the read-along, but I’m doing it anyway because…

    3. I’ve wrestled mightily in my faith for the last two years. And I’m ready to hear words from others who have done the same and lived to tell about it.

    4. I don’t like to pick favorites. And since I’m 42 and can rebel if I want to, I’m not going to answer this question.

  9. Ruth

    1. Ruth
    2. Hamtramck, MI
    3. I don’t really know much about this book; I trust Marla that it will be amazing. 🙂
    4. Hmmm… Watermelon? Or Doritos.

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  11. Sandie

    1. Sandie
    2. Maryland/DC suburbs
    3. A friend introduced me to RHE’s blog last year (which I love) and EiMT has been on my reading list ever since. The read-along has given me the motivation to move it to the top of the list.
    4. Homemade ice cream

  12. Rosanna

    Atmore, Alabama
    Awhile ago I stumbled across RHE’s blog and was reading everything she wrote. Then I read about this book, quickly downloaded it and scarfed down every word. I am so glad for the opportunity to discuss it with others who have read it!

    Watermelon and Cantaloupe

  13. TNDiane

    1. Diane (from TN)
    2. but living in Macon, GA
    3. I love reading Rachel’s blog. I am a recovering Mormon (been out for 3 years) trying to find my place in Christianity…. easier said than done.
    4. grapes and any kind of cheese

  14. Melissa

    Melissa Smallwood
    Falling Waters, WV
    Rachel isn’t afraid to say the things I think and wonder about but am afraid to give voice to because people already think I’m a bleeding heart liberal who gives too much grace and not enough truth. {I could put quotation marks around a few of those remarks cause they have been said to me} I like to stretch my mind and my faith and I think this book, and the discussion that will evolve in the read along will do both!
    Macaroni Salad

  15. megan bradford

    1. Megan
    2. Columbus, Ohio
    3. I wasn’t going to do this read-a-long because apparently I have a
    hard time sticking with them . But after reading other people’s comments I decided to try again (and it helps that i reserved it at the library!). I feel like I am on this new journey and am learning things about myself, the church and God that i never knew before. Sounds like this book will challenge me even further!
    4. Deviled eggs!

  16. Belinda

    1. Belinda
    2. Central Florida
    3. Love Marla’s blog and have never participated in anything like this before. Looking forward to reading this book.
    4. Homemade potato salad and watermelon with salt.

  17. diane

    Diane from Mantorville, Mn. I am becoming more convinced of fewer things in my middle age. I am a regular reader of Rachel’s blog and she always challenges my thinking. Favorite picnic food is my homemade potatoe salad. I am still waiting on the book from the library, since I am in the middle of “consumer detoxing!”

  18. Kim

    1. Kim H
    2. Nabb, IN (tiny place north of Louisville but south of Indianapolis)
    3. Winds of change blew through my tidy little doctrinal system a couple of years ago. I’m finally comfortable in my new skin and ready to see what else God plans to throw my way.
    4. anything with chocolate 😉

  19. Krysten

    1. My name is Krysten
    2. I live about 25 minutes southwest of Columbus
    3. I’ve had more moments of doubt than I care to admit, and even more moments that I have no doubt about what God is saying, but I just plain don’t like it because it makes my world messy and uncomfortable. (hey, that explanation is not to shabby for a super wordy gal!)
    4. Easy… Watermelon, hands-down.

  20. Sheila Banerji

    1. Sheila
    2. Sylvania, OH
    3. I love RHE, I bought the book, but haven’t gotten around to reading it.
    4. Pasta salad, sandwishes and watermelon.

  21. Liz

    1. Liz
    2. Indianapolis, IN
    3. I have read the book and I disagree with some of it but also agree with some. My hubby does NOT agree so this will be good for both of us.
    4. Fresh squeezed lemonaide…

  22. Nikki Davis

    1. Nikki
    2. Painesville, Ohio
    3. I can’t really remember the last book I read was so I could use a little motivation

  23. Valerie

    1. Valerie
    2. Heath, OH (about 35-40 mins east of Columbus)
    3. I know little of this book but since I’m a SAHM on break from school I figured it’d be a way to interact with others a bit and keep my brain from getting mushy 🙂
    4. Pasta salad.

  24. Sarah Farish

    1. Sarah Farish
    2. Marietta, Ohio
    3. I’ve read and disagree with 80% of this book, but I have decided to pray and see what God has as I learn from ya’ll:)
    4. Watermelon

      1. Sarah Farish

        Do comments have a 25-word limit? 😉
        I have shared this book with two people in my life with whom I regularly discuss God’s word and Jesus. Both think I’ve lost my marbles for questioning some of the long held beliefs that Rachel questions. They look at me as if to say “what’s gotten into you?” So, I holding firm to read, pray, and learn. (And, hopefully, hold on to my friends in the process!)

        1. diane

          I disagree with Rachel on many issues, but I appreciate her spirit and enjoy the way she challenges my thinking even if my mind isn’t changed.

  25. Candy

    -Huntsville AL
    -love, love, love this book. I think Rachel and I are long lost sisters…
    -deviled eggs and watermelon 🙂

  26. Peggy Brand

    1. Peggy
    2. Eugene, OR
    3. I enjoy reading about others faith journeys and I have
    recently discovered Rachels blog and have really enjoyed
    4. BBQ Chicken

  27. Teresa Henry

    1. Teresa
    2. Stanwood, Washington
    3. I love Marla’s read a longs. Marla and the rest of the read a long gang has not been afraid to be real and open about their thoughts. God has literally been shaking my world upside down…so why not shake up some more!
    4. Sweet and juicy watermelon.

  28. Jud

    1. Jud Neer
    2. San Diego, CA
    3. Rachel strikes me as someone who’s about 2-3 years further down the path I seem to be on.
    4. Is beer a food? If not, I’m going with my mom’s pasta salad.

  29. Ken Pettigrew

    Ken Pettigrew
    Winston-Salem, NC
    I’m always looking for new perspectives on the faith and RHE fits into that category. Her blog is amazing and the book is great, too. I promise no spoilers, but I re-read it every summer. Excited!
    Gluten free cake!

  30. Amy

    1. Amy S. Grant
    2. Lebanon, TN
    3. I read this book last year, and it was like water in a desert to my soul.
    4. Cold watermelon!

  31. Rachelle

    1. Rachelle
    2. McAlister, NM
    3. God is doing a whole lot of shaking in my life for the last year and I guessed this book would be in that theme. I haven’t read one sentence yet and am going in open minded.
    4. cold soda(particularly Dr. Pepper ten)

  32. Liz

    1. Liz
    2. NJ
    3. I like reading about religious journeys and beliefs. I love knowing what people believe and why. I suspect I was raised differently from the author and from many of you, so it’s a real opportunity to learn something.
    4. Cold fried chicken. Oh my word, I never go on picnics but that is the ultimate picnic food for me!

  33. Lori

    1. Lori Bell
    2. Edmond, Oklahoma (GO OKC THUNDER!)
    3. Have always been a believer, but only in the last 4 years have really “gotten” it. Still stumbling daily through the legalism and guilt that are ingrained in me, and just trying to BELIEVE God. Also really interested in what others are thinking.
    5. Not a huge fan of the picnic…can I just say chips and salsa.

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    1. brooke

      we haven’t even started and already i have blog fodder! 🙂 between the start of the read along and Rachel’s week of mutuality, i just had to blog it.

      and yes, i’m calling her rachel. until she tells me to stop. or someone gives me the etiquette on her last name. is she Mrs. Evans? Ms. Held Evans? Mrs. Held Evans? as a hyphenated woman myself, i’m ashamed to say i really don’t know what’s proper.

      but in my defense i’m only hyphenated b/c the blasted woman at the DMV told me i couldn’t have 2 middle names. anyhooo…totally not the point.

  35. Jennifer

    Hi everyone! Happy first Tuesday of book club. I’ve just ordered from Amazon so I’ll get caught up in a couple days.

    1. Jennifer
    2. Dallas, Texas for the past twenty years but raised on West Coast.
    3. I frequently reweet and share Rachel’s blogs on FB.
    4. Hummus and veggies or pitabread to dip.

  36. Karen Sue

    1. Karen Sue
    2. Minnewaukan, ND
    3. Do not know much abaout the book or author. Should receive book, via mail, within a week.
    4. Chicken and wine

  37. HopefulLeigh

    1. Leigh Kramer
    2. Nashville, TN
    3. I read this book a couple of years ago and LOVED it. There are so many similarities between RHE’s story and mine. And while we haven’t come to all the same conclusions, I appreciated the freedom to ask questions and wrestle with the big issues. Her blog is a must-read for me, too.
    4. American Potato Salad, heavy on the mustard

  38. Danielle

    1. Hey! I’m Danielle and I’m just happy to be here.

    2. Beautiful Albuquerque, NM. Seriously, I LOVE living in the desert, especially when going through or learning about spiritual deserts.

    3. I’m here because I love Marla and will do almost any read along she is kind enough to host. Being 50+ pages into the book I can say there are some things I love, and some things have rubbed me the wrong way, so this should be fun!

    4. Cold fruit of any kind (watermelon, cherries, and grapes especially.) We had dinner at my parents house on Sunday and once everyone had had their fill of cut watermelon I sat outside with the giant bowl and a fork while everyone else cooked s’mores.

    1. Rachelle


      we really should consider meeting sometime. I live on the rural eastern side of the state, about 3 hours from ABQ. Frequent your city for the state fair, zoo/aquarium.
      We’ve both been Marla fans for a while now!


      1. Danielle

        Rachelle, I would love to meet up with you! Truthfully I stalked your blog for a while, but then lost the link. I think we would have a lot to talk about!

        1. Rachelle

          Danielle, Thank you for stalking my blog! You were probably my only reader…well except Clyde. (: I quit blogging mostly, the end of last year was just something I didn’t feel like putting anyone else through. I think we would have a lot to talk about too!

          Marla, you can meet us there… So Marla this morning while getting ready for work(I use that statement loosely) I was mentally conjuring up ways to have you come do a women’s weekend/talk at my church of 40-faithful that is only about 1,329.61 miles from you! I decided to pray and ask for divine intervention because obviously it is impossible. Which I just love!

  39. Mandy

    1. Mandy
    2. Connecticut
    3. The title is wacky. I love reading faith stories. I’ve been questioning a lot of things about church lately, so I’m in a questioning mood.
    4. Cape Cod potato chips.

  40. jolie

    Darn, I didn’t know you’d get 13 cents if I used amazon. At any rate, the book’s on its way to my doorstep.

    1. I am Jolie! Not telling you my last name. 🙂

    2. I live in Columbus but I am from Toledo!

    3. I love Rachel Held-Evans. Actually, I confess to knowing 0% of what this book is about (like, um, literally, haven’t even amazon’d it) but I recently started reading her blog and I deeply resonate with much of where she stands and many of the questions she’s raised. I feel I share a similar path of discovery on my faith. I love her recent blog rally for a discussion on mutuality/egalitarianism in the church (as opposed to complementarian….ism?) so I’m interested in reading more from her.


  41. brooke

    1. Brooke, Aunt Boo, BJay (or I also answer to any of my relatives names, as long as I know you are speaking to me)

    2. Kodakistan, TN but I’m moving soon! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE and Lord help us!

    3. The author intrigues me – more her elgalitarian views but I appreciate someone who’s not afraid to question. Plus if Marla gives it her stamp of approval? Must be good stuff!

    4. fried chicken legs! and yes, in the south KFC is totally a picnic food!!!

  42. Sharon

    1. Sharon
    2. Colorado
    3. In a word: Marla!
    4. Watermelon

    P.S. I love, Love, LOVE the logo, Marla! Kudos to Gabe.

  43. Donna P

    Hello!! I’m Donna from Memphis, TN. I downloaded a sample of this on my nook and was immediately drawn in because I have questions too. A lot of what she says in the intro are thoughts that have gone through my head and it really helps me to know that there are others who question our faith and our religions.

    My favorite picnic food… watermelon! fried chicken! and wine!!

  44. Lesley

    1. Lesley
    2. Des Moines, IA
    3. I haven’t heard much about the book but honestly, sometimes I think I have all the answers and if I don’t I can find them.
    4. Deviled Eggs

  45. amber

    1. Amber
    2. Middle-of-No.Wheres.Ville, Arkansas
    3. Because if you put faith and doubt in the same sentence with monkeys, I’m hooked.
    4. Sticky, drippy, sloppy peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

  46. Nora

    1. Nora
    2. Asheville, NC
    3. Questions. Cynicism. A friend I respect told me to read this book, and I found your site as well as Rachel’s blog.
    4. Wine

  47. Yalonda

    1. Yalonda Wilson
    2. Columbus-ish, OH
    3.I haven’t heard a ton about the book, but I’m always eager to read new things and thought, “Why not?”
    4. I don’t have picnics… more like cookouts, so…grilled corn on the cob… or sometimes hot dogs

    Looking forward to the readalong!

  48. Denise Dilley

    Hey all! My name is Denise & I’m from Chillicothe, Ohio. Honestly, I don’t remember what originally intrigued me about this book. All I remember is hearing a lot about Rachel in the blogosphere & jumped at the chance to buy her book when I saw it at a discount store. I’m looking forward to reading the book & engaging in some honest conversation with all of you.

    Oh, and my favorite picnic food is mac n cheese. And veggies with ranch. 🙂

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