Guest / Limited Access /
A Fragile Faith of Devotion and Cynicism
Bill Whitt / Flickr
When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Book Title
When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over
Author
Publisher
Convergent Books
Release Date
October 15, 2013
Pages
256
Price
$14.99
Buy When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over from Amazon

Even the title of Addie Zierman's memoir is evocative: When We Were on Fire. A good title will tell you a lot about a book, and indeed there is a lot to learn from this one. We know, for example, that the titular "we" are no longer "on fire," that it happened in the past. We know this is about more than just one person, although whether the "we" is a constant voice or a changing one remains to be seen.

Most telling is that last bit, "on fire," a resonant phrase for anyone even passingly familiar with the evangelical subculture of the 1990s. "Fire" was the favored metaphor for a deep and burning passion for God. Consuming. Refining. To be "on fire for God" was the highest compliment, the deepest mystery, the truest sign that you were wholly his.

Things Go Sour

In many ways, Zierman's upbringing in the church closely paralleled my own. We both grew up in suburban Chicago, had groups of friends who weathered the peaks and valleys of Christian faith together, and attended small, liberal arts Christian colleges. With some of her friends, Zierman started a prayer group at her high school, and when she describes it I feel sure I was there: "'God, we just pray for revival,' I started, and I loved the way the words sounded on my lips….'Lord, we claim this school for You.' I believed that my words were a flag planted in the concrete. A promise taken by force of faith."

But there are points at which my experience and Addie's begin to diverge. Where I found freedom and honesty in the faith of my youth, Zierman found strict rules and legalism. Nowhere is this more evident than in her experience with her boyfriend, Chris.

Chris ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueMy Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
Subscriber Access Only
My Home Has 'Murder' in Its Name
How Russell Jeung met Jesus among the Southeast Asian gangs of Oakland.
RecommendedTrump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Trump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Pastors, authors, and others weigh in on 2016 election.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
A Fragile Faith of Devotion and Cynicism
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.