When We Were On Fire by Addie Zierman

Genre: Religion Memoir
Release Date: October 15th, 2013
Number of Pages: 256
Publisher: Convergent an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group

Tag Line: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

// Summary (from Amazon) //  

In the strange, us-versus-them Christian subculture of the 1990s, a person’s faith was measured by how many WWJD bracelets she wore and whether he had kissed dating goodbye.
Evangelical poster child Addie Zierman wore three bracelets asking what Jesus would do. She also led two Bible studies and listened exclusively to Christian music. She was on fire for God and unaware that the flame was dwindling—until it burned out.
Addie chronicles her journey through church culture and first love, and her entrance—unprepared and angry—into marriage. When she drops out of church and very nearly her marriage as well, it is on a sea of tequila and depression. She isn’t sure if she’ll ever go back.
When We Were on Fire is a funny, heartbreaking story of untangling oneself from what is expected to arrive at faith that is not bound by tradition or current church fashion. Addie looks for what lasts when nothing else seems worth keeping. It’s a story for doubters, cynics, and anyone who has felt alone in church.

// My thoughts on When We Were On Fire //

Our stories may not be the same, but I grew up in a wonderful Christian home in the very midst of the whole super-evangelical era too, so I can understand the joy and pain of it all. And eerily, the latter half of that phrase I just shared with you feels almost like a sobbing confession, rather than a proud admission. Don't get me wrong. I cling to my faith, not bound by title or tradition, tightly. I love Jesus, and His people. But I have definitely been hurt by my fair share of overly zealous "Church People" over the last 24 years, like the author herself. Fast forward to now: I have found love and grace and forgiveness. And it looks a lot like Jesus. 

But enough about me.

Addie's story of faith-on-fire, faith lost, then faith reborn, is inspiring and heartbreaking and thought-provoking, all entwined together in an easy to read, gorgeously blue-covered package. If you want to know the truth, well, I kind of couldn't stop reading this book, because it just completely resonates with me and my wandering-soul right now. 

On another note, can I just fawn over the layout of this redemption filled story for a moment? There are 4 moving parts to this memoir: Obsession, Disillusion, Rebellion, and Redemption. Each section spoke to my heart in such a unique way, because I felt like I had and have been seeing a lot of these faith motions in my own spiritual life within the last 24 years. Oh, and the chapters? The chapters are brilliantly segmented off with different Christianese Vocab, like: Three-Minute Testimony, True Love Waits, Born Again, Evangelicalism, WWJD, etc. 

We may as well get real here . . . I don't think I've ever nodded my head up-and-down in such an oh-my-gosh-I-totally-get-what-you're-saying-girlfriend way so many times in a row. This memoir is chock full of those shockingly true revelation filled moments, when it comes to talking, and having lived the evangelical life through all of its ups and downs, that is. So, if you are looking for hope and grace and a glimpse into some real gritty faith-filled questioning and truth-seeking, then you need to meander your way through the unique, vulnerable, and beautifully crafted pages of this memoir. You'll be glad that you did.

* a cautionary note: if you're not comfortable with some occasional blips of cursing, talk of drinking and depression, then this book may ruffle your feathers. but please, do not let this real-life story of redemption pass you by because of a few gritty word-painted real-life moments. mmkay? thanks. *

// About The Author //

Addie Zierman is a writer, blogger and fledgling speaker.

She has an MFA from Hamline University and is the author of When We Were On Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over, through Convergent Books.

She blogs at addiezierman.com, where she's doing the hard work of redefining faith in a world that is significantly less black and white than she once believed it to be.

Addie is a Diet Coke enthusiast with terrible taste in TV and an endless pile of Books-To-Read. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Andrew, and her two young sons (Dane and Liam).

If you see her out, please don't say anything about the streak of snot on her shirt or All The Yelling. It will only embarrass her.

Click HERE to purchase When We Were On Fire from Amazon.com

Find out more about Addie Zierman at www.AddieZierman.com

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Resurrection Day: Or When You Can't Go To The Church Within Walls

image via Good Morning Girls

i am sitting in bed sick next to my husband this morning. we're sad we are missing church service with our brother's and sister's in celebration of our risen king of love this morning, but we are so very thankful that wherever we are - whether it be in the church within walls or the church that knows no walls - that we can extend our gratitude out towards Jesus and his brave sacrifice for us on this day, and every day. 

so from my small family of two to your own, may you all have a wonderful perspective-driven Resurrection Day, surrounded by your loving family and friends!

Here Are Some Easter-Related Sermons and Videos We've Been Partaking of . . . 

Sermon on the Kyrie, Peter’s Own Smell of Shame and the God of Easter written by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Heavenly Songs from Classical Music's Unlikely Rock Stars from CBS' Sunday Morning, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Good Friday Means Nothing Without Easter Sunday from RELEVANT magazine

"The Gospel has a goal: to create the Kingdom of God, and one element of that “good news” is that it begins now. With you and me. In the here and now. It is all tied into the Gospel knot of grace."

Mercy Tree by Lacey Sturm

and bravely, she is weeping

image via pinterest
her heart is beating out of its ribbed cage.
her lover sitting to her right, unknowing 
all that she is fighting to hold inside herself.

it is evening, shadowed, echoes strung, stillness,
now that the thrumming of light has faded away.
and then all that is hidden begins to break away.

a fierce weight lies upon her heaving chest and cloudy mind.
and then he turns 'round, breaking silence, and asks her if she is okay.
she is not okay, or alright, or even good in this moment.
he moves nearer to her, and she slips her arms low around his waist, 
at his beckoning of her to come here, he presses 
her warm weepy frame deep into his chest.

and bravely, she is weeping.
long and hard and unsure, she weeps.

she shakes with the deeply-seeded ache 
of repressed emotive days, until she cannot
possibly hold it all in another second more.

she is weeping for it all - and so she clings tighter to his core.
for she needs to claim all the strength he has to offer her.

she is weeping for words hidden, words unwritten
she is weeping for community, a tribe, a love revolution to begin.
she is weeping for the least of these, those who were cast aside.
she is weeping for brothers and sisters shunned from The Table.
she is weeping for the ill-name-casters and stone-throwers.
she is weeping for wild ugly nature out of her control.
she is weeping for little ones wanted, yet still to be born.
she is weeping for blue mountains and kinfolk and reunion.

she is weeping, weeping, weeping

and so she shakes with gasping tears of knowing once more.
for she always finds herself here, sitting just behind this shadow 
of unknowing, this shadow which moves away, as she allows
her idealistic self to be stilled, to slowly fall apart piece by piece.

and she feels in these mourning moments, 
as if she were a many-branched glass figurine,
fragile and wildly rooted and easy to break apart.

she was so easily created, by thunderous lightning and salty sand, 
and yet she is so very easily shattered, branch by branch, 
snapped constantly again, over and over, 
by mother nature and human hand.

so he strokes her hair and shushes her fears, and grips her quivering frame 
even tighter as she heals, all the while telling her it is okay to let it all out. 

and then he breaks her weeping curse with his words.
she gasps for air, and slides up into his arms, renewed, 
because he called her brave by name.