Introduction & Endorsements for book, Why I Left Church to Find Jesus: A Personal Odyssey
Updated: Jan 6
I wrote this odyssey as a snapshot of some of my most challenging and even ugly religious experiences in a fundamentalist megachurch in an effort to more fully embrace breaking free from an unhealthy authoritarian religious indoctrination and to process the grief that emerges from the religious shunning that sadly, but often inevitably, results from this kind of religious deconstruction. Christians, ex-Christians, and religious outcasts will relate to the heartache, confusion, and betrayal of not only a religion lost but, more painfully, of friendships lost. Such loss is often the catalyst for a much needed spiritual transformation and great healing, which is the fortunate outcome of this particular journey.
This is a moving travelogue of Julie's personal journey—innocently spiritual, then religious, and ultimately spiritual again. Many of us who have embraced, struggled in, and finally emerged from the cocoon of religious fundamentalism will identify. There is no joy and no pain quite like it. To make dear friends that you have loved for years—friends who become family, who sing and pray and celebrate grace with you—but suddenly cut you off as if you don’t exist, this is a unique kind of disillusionment. It’s traumatic. Disorienting. And yet you cannot go back. A butterfly cannot return to the cocoon—not even when those you love who have not emerged cry foul. Reading Julie’s account of her own emergence, it is clear that we were born to fly free. We knew it as children. And even though we can lose touch with that freedom for a while—the true spiritual journey is a return to it.
Julie has made that journey; and like all the rest of us, she is still on it. This is a little book that is worth the read. --Susan Frederick, Author and Entrepreneur (Biblical Studies & Holistic Theology)
Julie's odyssey is a well-written, moving work that is both heartrending and life-affirming. I recognized my own spiritual questions and journey in many of her entries. I believe that regardless of where we find ourselves in the doctrinal issues raised, we can all agree on Julie's central points of loving more and judging less, that independent thought and study is not a threat to Jesus or Christianity, and that fear, rejection and censorship is a threat. Anyone reading this odyssey will be moved by her story and challenged to think through their own beliefs.
--Margie Ings, Writer, Mother, and Grandmother
It is my honor to endorse not just a book but a journey of courage and gut level honesty. Fellow travelers will resonate with Julie's chronicles of the painful and joyful adventure of truth discovery!
--Dr. Chuck Crisco, DMin, Author, Teacher, and Beach Lover
It's an honor to write about Julie's odyssey. I consider her a dear and precious friend. I'm confident you will be blessed by reading her story.
Julie and I met on a fundamentalist Christian bulletin board forum. Her thirst for knowing God was evident even within that context. As you read her story, you'll join her on her journey of discovery into a new vision of Christ and His salvation. It's a voyage with a lot of twists and turns, some advances and some retreats, but always in the long run moving forward in the love of Jesus.
I don't always follow the path that Julie takes. But while we don't see eye to eye on every issue, we always see heart to heart.
Book on Amazon now: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Left-Church-Find-Jesus/