Every Church in Town

By Jessamyn Luong

Memoir, Christian Life/Personal Growth, Christianity/Pentecostal & Charismatic
190 pages, Autumn 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61876-000-5

“When I heard my name called, I found myself bent over at the waist, shaking and jerking. I walked to the front of the church bent over like that, and people gathered around me to pray. One of the church secretaries had a handheld tape recorder, held up in the air to capture the prayers.”

Every Church in Town chronicles the spiritual journey of an average Middle American teenage girl growing up in a community infused with religious fervor. Set in the early to mid-1990s, this young woman has a spiritual awakening in a charismatic church surrounded by glossolalia, holy laughter, youth groups, and Christian heavy metal. She plays in her high school marching band during the school year and attends Cornerstone, a Christian music festival, during the summer. While struggling to find her place in a rapidly changing world, she wrestles with many spiritual and intellectual questions, including how to hear God’s voice, whether it is wrong to date a non-Christian, whether one should go to college when the end of the world is imminent, and whether every Christian is obligated to be a Republican. In a small town with a deep socioeconomic divide, where everyone who wears plaid with stripes is suspect, this young woman searches for friendship, meaning, and salvation in a world full of plastic lecterns and Kool-Aid mustaches.

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