Author and former pastor John Koessler offers Christian readers a thoughtful look at the difficulties of the faith life from the opposing vantage points of both doubter and believer. Koessler narrates his life story thus far by the retelling of childhood impressions and vivid memories, and how these faded yet still powerful recollections continue to color his world today. His honesty in detailing the painful family dynamics from which he arose will resonate with readers of all ages and beliefs. More important, though, is Koessler's continuing struggle with the church at large, the dilemma of not feeling at home within its walls.
Beginning with his early church background, Koessler shares his first understandings of the subtle and not-so-subtle distinctions between neighborhood Catholic and Baptist churches. He recalls feeling on the outside even then as his immediate family did not attend any church, thus this "outsider" mentality runs deep in his history. Koessler remembers asking his parents if they could convert to Catholicism but was met with raucous laughter. Not to be dissuaded, the young man asks if they are Protestants. Finally, his father offers this cynical reply: "If a Protestant is a protest-ant, someone who protests against the church, then we are."
Koessler does indeed "find God" and explores both charismatic and evangelical Christianity despite his parents' lack of belief. Through some painfully comic episodes --- the real stuff of life --- Koessler bounces around between feelings and faith and truth, learning and growing and getting bumped and bruised along the way. He describes the angst he felt as a pastor, the internal obsession to succeed and how God met him at every stage.
With a wide assortment of childhood stories intermixed wi