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Currents: In Search of Spiritual Community

A converstation with Carmen Renee Berry

Carmen Renee Berry wants to help those who, like her, once dismissed the church in cynicsm, but are now reconsidering it in their search for spiritual community. In The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church (Brazos, 2003), she offers an easy-to-use, sometimes irreverent, hitchhiker's guide to the mottled landscape of American Christianity. She examines some 30 denominations, describing in simple terms each tradition's heritage and habits so that the curious can "sort through the liturgy, lingo, and lunacy" of choosing a church.

When you were distanced from the church, what prompted your return?

A good friend committed suicide. Though he attended church, he had grown cynical. I shared his attitude, but his death moved me from feeling cool and clever in my cynicism to admitting I have failings. I didn't want to be spiritually isolated like my friend.

Over several months I purposely developed relationships with people of faith. A phrase in my mind changed me: "You've been living in doubt and ...

December
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