Loving and Leaving a Church, by Barbara Melosh, a book review

Barbara MeloshBarbara Melosh and I met at a week-long writing workshop hosted by Collegeville Institute (MN) in 2012. After that, she joined my writing group, making the commitment to drive all the way from Wilmington, DE to northern VA twice a month. I mention that because so many people think it’s possible to write books in a casual way. In my experience that’s not true. People who write books prioritize writing, and say No to many other things in order to say Yes to the book.

I’m so glad Barbara said Yes to this book! Her writing flows beautifully and her descriptions are rich and eloquent. Barbara Melosh’s memoir covers her first year in ordained ministry, after a career as a professor of American Studies. She served a Lutheran church in a struggling blue-collar neighborhood in Baltimore. Barbara brings many lenses to her experience — that of reluctant believer, academic, energetic newbie pastor, and deeply observant contemplative. Determined to turn the church around, she found that something else turned her around instead.This is a great book for:

  • any clergy or committed church leader,
  • anyone who has a love/hate relationship with their church,
  • anyone who has wrestled with vocation,
  • anyone who has lived in a culture that doesn’t feel like it belongs to them by birth.

This book reminds us why we read memoir — to live for a few hours in someone else’s skin, which inevitably enlarges our worlds and hearts. Buy Loving and Leaving a Church by Barbara Melosh here. 


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