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The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church

Sarah McCammon is a compassionate companion as well as a reliable teacher for pastors, therapists and friends wondering how to better understand and support exvangelicals on the journey. — Amy Pagliarella

By Sarah McCammon
St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages
Published March 19, 2024

The field of “exvangelical” literature is increasingly crowded with stories of those who walked, ran or crawled away from the theologically conservative traditions in which they were raised. Sarah McCammon’s courageous and candid The Exvangelicals is a welcome addition; she reveals her own spiritual scars as she attempts to explain the evangelical Christian worldview that seems to dominate America’s religious and political landscape.

An NPR reporter who covered Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, McCammon takes a journalist’s view from 900 feet, explaining why the insular culture of many evangelical churches harms so many, and yet is so difficult to leave. At the same time, she takes a memoirist’s approach; raised to interpret the Bible literally, McCammon was eager to “be a good soldier for the Lord,” until she saw the disconnect between church teachings and the real world she encountered as a young adult.

McCammon shares her own path, touching on the therapy and support that allowed her to find a healthy way to love God. Exvangelicals, of course, take many paths — some lean away from the faith (or organized religion) entirely, while others reconstruct their faith, becoming stronger believers in the process. McCammon is a compassionate companion for those seeking guidance and healing, as well as a reliable teacher for pastors, therapists and friends wondering how to better understand and support exvangelicals on the journey.

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