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Opinion | Discipleship

Girl Dumps God

Carlene Bauer's memoir recounts her de-conversion from Christianity for the literary set.

I wanted to love Not That Kind of Girl, a new memoir from "recovering evangelical" Carlene Bauer. On the surface, Bauer and I have a lot in common. We're women who love the Bible, literature, and pop culture. We are aspiring writers who landed in publishing. She even grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs like me, entrenched in the evangelical subculture. And from early reviews, it was unclear just what, exactly, "recovering evangelical" meant. In the first chapter, Bauer describes her first encounter with the End Times, via a church basement screening of A Thief in the Night with her Christian classmates. At 8, her biggest fears suddenly included the government installing a bar code on her forehead or the back of her hand under a blood-red moon. She goes to bed at night earnestly whispering to God, "Could I live until I fell in love?"

This girl is -me, I thought. I vividly remember telling my mom, myself at 8 years old, that I wanted to be excited for Jesus to come back, but if he could, it would be great if he could wait until I went to college, got married, and had a career and kids.

What critics are heralding as a "good-girl memoir" is actually a tragic story of faith, slowly and painfully lost. Bauer writes for a generation raised in the church of Dare to Discipline: "I sometimes wondered, sitting in church listening to ancient tales of obstinacy, if I had been born with original sin, because stealing and lying and saying mean things had never held an appeal." For Bauer, faith ...

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