Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Faith and Other Flat Tires
by Andrea Palpant Dilley
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"Both Christ-seekers and Christ-followers will relate to Dilley’s deeply personal memoir."
In a sanitized act of defining defiance, Andrea Palpant Dilley stripped the Christian fish decal off her car. Her religious childhood and spiritual upbringing had failed her. The game of pretending had been perfected yet left her wanting. She left the church on a journey of questions, doubt and confusion.
There is no sacred cow within these pages: dysfunctional church, silent God and random suffering for no logical reason? She needed to make sense of her world, wanting a “church with less grind and more edge.”
Dilley speaks for all of us who affectionately wear the label of MKs (missionary kids) or PKs (pastor kids). Those of us who grew up knowing we had to behave a certain way and not bring shame to our parents. I remember being reminded often that I wasn’t going to get to Heaven just because my parents were ministers. I had to make “the decision” on my own. But Faith and Other Flat Tires is much more than a collection of MK/PK highlights and missteps. Both Christ-seekers and Christ-followers will relate to Dilley’s deeply personal memoir.
At the apex of her doubt and despair, Dilley found that “in my faith life, disillusionment had cut both ways: first with the church behind me and now with the aimless space in front of me. Neither place seemed like home.” As she shares her journey, she is neither a self-condemning martyr nor a self-righteous saint.
Her conversational writing style helps move the life experiences along without getting bogged down. Philosophically down to earth, her writing incorporates humor, bewilderment, authentic tenderness along with deep theological insights.
Her use of John Bunyan’s ”The Pilgrims Progress” as a “loose” framework for her journey at times helped and at other times was a hindrance. She’d make a reference and then just leave it there without much comparison. Using it as sectional dividers was an excellent idea and helped with the journey parallel.
The bottom line is there will be unanswered questions in our faith walk as well as unsatisfactory answers to troubling questions. Introspective reflection is not a sin! Andrea discovered the same questions that push her away from God in the end gently nudged her back to faith once again.
I walked away from reading Faith
and Other Flat Tires empowered to make
the time to ask the hard questions, to seek wise counsel, and not be satisfied
with the status quo.