What I Learned from “Gray Faith”

I met Carrye Burr on the reNEW retreat that I attended on Columbus Day weekend.  She was one of the women who encouraged me and now continues to encourage me with my writing.  We sat next to each other in the main room where we had our plenary sessions.  At the retreat, they had a Book Celebration and Signing for everyone who had published a book that year.  Carrye’s name was on the list!  I was sitting next to a published author!

I read the excerpt from her book Gray Faith on a sheet that we had received of everyone who published a book.  She wrote that she had grown up in a Christian home, the daughter of a pastor, and she had a lot of questions about her faith.  But, because she grew up as a pastor’s kid, she did not feel she had permission to ask those questions.  Nevertheless, she writes this book with the answers that she has discovered throughout her life, especially through the various trials that she has endured with her health, raising her kids, and the adoption of her son.

When I saw her summary, I instantly wanted to buy a copy of her book, not just because she was a debut novel writer, but because she had a story that was worth sharing.

The book is a fairly quick read (about 100 pages), but the information that she provides is genuine and fresh.  Without giving away too much about the book, Carrye includes issues that people deal with today, such as “seeker-friendly” churches and how to deal with sin.  Through the lens of a mother of three kids and a daughter to an obedient pastor, she is able to provide parenting advice for those who want to foster spiritual growth in their children, especially for those kids who have these times of questions about faith.

My favorite part of the book is the chapter on the church.  Having grown up in the church, Carrye never really thought about what it would be like for first-time guests to a church.  She felt comfortable in her church, so she thought everyone did as well.  But as she moved from place to place with her family and tried out different churches, she realized that all churches do not do things the same way.

Because of the rise of “seeker-friendly” churches (the ones with the dim lights and the coffee and the pastors wearing jeans), Carrye begins to question how comfortable the church should actually be for first-time guests.  Yes, we want them to feel welcome, but Christianity in and of itself isn’t always about comfort.  As a matter of fact, it’s about conforming to God’s standard for our lives, which almost always means a surrender of our plans for our lives.  That doesn’t sound too comfortable to me.  Since I work for a church that I think does a pretty good job of making it seeker-friendly but also Christ-focused, it was encouraging for me to do a heart check of what is important in a church.

The book Gray Faith demonstrates a sign of maturity in the Christian who asks these questions. The Christian who questions does not take everything at face value. If you have these questions, they might not get answered through reading this book, but the book was meant to start a conversation. May your questioning bring you closer to God.

Carrye Burr self-published this book, and it was a great book to get her name out there to continue building her platform as a writer.  At the retreat, she was already playing around ideas for another book, so I’m excited to see what other ideas God gives her!  You can purchase Carrye’s book Gray Faith on Amazon.

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