The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church
Carmen Renee Berry
Brazos Press, 400 pages, $18.99

In this sassy and informative romp through the worship communities we call home, Carmen Renee Berry (Girlfriends) guides the reader through the daunting process of finding a place in God's family.

"While I can't tell you which specific congregation to attend, I can help you sort through the liturgy, the lingo, and the lunacy," writes Berry.

In the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant categories, she offers a brief overview of church structures, worship style, position on the Trinity, and claims of spiritual authority. Berry further breaks these down into denominations, grouped by worship styles and placed roughly in historical sequence. Her chatty, first-person reference guide is packed with quick sound bites of information, including testimonials, hymn lyrics, feast days, factoid boxes, terminology, and even a running light bulb joke.

There's helpful, practical advice for visiting churches as she describes a typical service, details Communion practices, and explains various symbols. Berry, who was raised Nazarene, admits that it's impossible to include all denominations but does an admirable job of covering most.

Believers looking for a new church or wanting to become familiar with the spectrum of Christianity will relish this armchair compendium.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church is available at and other book retailers.

See also today's Dick Staub Interview with author Carmen Renee Berry.

Brazos Press has an excerpt from the book.

Berry's book has garnered attention from USA Today, The Toledo Blade, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mobile Register, and other newspapers.

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