What is an Evangelical?

When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman: Book Review

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Evangelical.

It’s a word that can conjure up a plethora of emotions, depending on who you are. Evangelical is typically thought of in one of two severe, polarizing ways: one is positive, indicating an intense, passionate devotion to Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible. This image is also marked by a sincere desire to have others experience the same benefits of knowing Jesus, being involved with the church, and following its teachings.

The other definition isn’t so glowing. The negative connotation of evangelical is the idea of intolerance, narrow rules, and a black-or-white approach to following God. It might even conjure up the image of Mandy Moore in the movie Saved when Moore throws a Bible at the head of a less zealous classmate and exclaims, “I am filled with the love of Christ!”

Addie Zierman’s memoir When We Were on Fire explores what it’s like being raised evangelical and the dysfunctional aspects that can accompany it. For those who weren’t raised in such a rules-driven environment, it can shed some substantial light on what it’s like to grow up under such a mindset.

On the other hand, if you, like Zierman, remember DC Talk and WWJD bracelets, you’ll find some relief knowing that you’re not alone in the search for trading in the past in exchange for something that feels true. Zierman’s writing is raw, with curse words and liquor-filled stories, making When We Were on Fire a worthwhile exploration into one evangelical’s life.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions contained in this review are my own.

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