Between a Church and a Hard Place: One Faith-Free Dad's Struggle to Understand What It Means to Be Religious (or Not) (Hardcover)

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Read Andrew Park's post on the Penguin Blog.
At age thirty-five, Andrew Park hit a parenting snag. Teaching his children about ethics, good manners, and how to shoot a free throw posed no problem. When they started asking about religion, he came up empty-handed. Raised in a faith- free family where teenage rebellion meant being born again as an evangelical Christian (as his brother did), Park always believed he'd be a nonbeliever. (And his lapsed Christian wife thought the same.) But when his children ask if God is real, he knows it is his responsibility to try and find the answer. "Between a Church and a Hard Place" is the often funny yet deeply tender story of that quest. It follows the author as he tries to reconcile his upbringing with the demands and liabilities he faces as a young father. He realizes with alarming clarity that if he doesn't provide some answers, someone else gladly will.
As he searches for middle ground, Andrew Park addresses the hot-button questions surrounding faith and freedom and explores the polar reaches of religion in America. Along the way he uncovers what it means to embrace faith-or not-while still being a good role model, and more important, still being true to himself.

About the Author

Andrew Park is a former correspondent for "BusinessWeek," whose work has also appeared in "The New York Times, Wired," Slate, and other national publications. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife, Cristina Smith, and their two children.

Praise For…

"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."

Product Details
ISBN: 9781583333716
Publisher: Avery
Publication Date: March 4th, 2010
Pages: 224