In the Land of Believers
I just received In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church by Gina Welch in the mail. I really liked The Unlikely Disciple and I think this may be quite similar, so I’m interested to get started. I’m not sure what it is about me and books about religion…
Gina Welch, a young secular Jew from Berkeley, joined Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. Over the course of nearly two years, Welch immersed herself in the life and language of the devout: she learned to interpret the world like an evangelical, weathered the death of Falwell, and embarked on a mission trip to Alaska intended to save one hundred souls. Alive to the meaning behind the music and the mind behind the slogans, Welch recognized the allure of evangelicalism, even for the godless, realizing that the congregation met needs and answered questions she didn’t know she had.
What emerges is a riveting account of a skeptic’s transformation from uninformed cynicism to compassionate understanding, and a rare view of how evangelicals see themselves. Revealing their generosity and hopefulness, as well as their prejudice and exceptionalism, In the Land of Believers is a call for comprehending, rather than dismissing, the impassioned believers who have become so central a force in American life.
In the Land of Believers is due to be released on March 2.