Between a Church and a Hard Place
One Faith-Free Dad's Struggle to Understand What It Means to Be Religious (or No t)
Read Andrew Park's post on the Penguin Blog.
Stumped when his children start asking questions about God, a lifelong nonbeliever takes a colorful and thought-provoking tour of religion in America.
At age thirty-six, Andrew park hit a parenting snag. Teaching his children about ethics, good manners, and the perfect free throw posed no problem. But when they started asking about religion, he came up empty-handed. He was raised faith-free in a household of nonbelievers. Confronted with the responsibilities of being a young father, park knew it was his place to find the answers to his children's questions about spirituality-and perhaps some of his own. Between a Church and a Hard Place is the often funny, yet deeply tender story of that quest.
Though Park and his wife are not religious, Between a Church and a Hard Place doesn't so much struggle with God as it struggles with whether to struggle with God. From megachurches to Humanism Seminars, Park explores the polar reaches of religion in our country while trying to find a comfortable middle ground for himself and his family. With the perfect blend of humor and humility, he uncovers what it means to embrace religion-or not-while still being a good role model, and most important, still being true to himself. In the spirit of Father Knows Less and Foreskin's Lament, Park's story is a captivating exploration of parenthood, and the beliefs that shape our culture.
Praise for Between a Church and a Hard Place
"A gently humorous, insightful journey through one man's heart and one family's life, as seen through the lens of belief. Highly recommended." -Library Journal "Between the strident attacks of the new atheists and the self- confident retorts of God's defenders, Andrew Park has crossed enemy lines unarmed, recovering a place for doubt in our public conversation about faith. Those of us who believe despite our doubts can be grateful for his honesty. I found myself moved to prayer: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." -Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of God's Economy "Park had little difficulty teaching his children about ethics and good manners-that is, to live by the Golden Rule-but was struck speechless when they asked about religion. His son first said God at age three, after Park and his wife enrolled him in a nearby Methodist church's preschool. And that was only the beginning. Park tried to balance his nonbelief and sincere appreciation of his son's endless curiosity, attempting to maintain a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy at home. When his daughter began questioning, he realized he had some serious thinking to do. He discusses his parents' religious upbringing and the impact it had on him. His father, for instance, was raised in the Church of Scotland, the forebear of Presbyterianism, which left him with unpleasant memories that he passed on to Park; meanwhile, Park's older brother converted to modern Evangelical Christianity. Whether writing about his family or Rick Warren's Saddleback megachurch, Park remains a father trying to delicately balance the responsibilities of parenthood and being true to himself. A lovely read." -Booklist