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At age twenty-one, Andrea Palpant Dilley stripped the Christian fish decal off her car bumper in a symbolic act of departure from her religious childhood. At twenty-three, she left the church and went searching for refuge in the company of men who left her lonely and friends who pushed the boundaries of what she once held sacred. In this deeply personal memoir, Andrea navigates the doubts that plague believers and skeptics alike: Why does a good God allow suffering? Why is God so silent, distant, and uninvolved? And why does the church seem so dysfunctional? Yet amid her skepticism, she begins to ask new questions: Could doubting be a form of faith? Might our doubts be a longing for God that leads to a faith we can ultimately live with?
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Andrea Palpant Dilley grew up in Kenya as the daughter of Quaker missionaries and spent the rest of her childhood in the Pacific Northwest. Her work as a documentary producer has aired nationally on American Public Television. Her work as a writer has been published in Geez, Utne Reader and the anthology Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, as well as online with CNN, The Huffington Post, and Christianity Today. Her memoir, Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, tells the story of her faith journey. Andrea lives with her husband and their two daughters in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.andreapalpantdilley.com
'I did not intend to read this book--but then I started and couldn't stop. What a relief: a young adult faith memoir for people I actually know. Andrea Palpant Dilley is refreshingly, winsomely straight-up without being angsty or impossibly pious. She has questions about God, real questions, bottom line questions, and at the end of the day she leaves room for a faith where everything doesn't have to be tied together with a neat Jesus-y bow. Instead, Dilley raises the possibility--the hope--that honest Christian faith has loose ends, and that God is fine with that. By the end of the book, I wanted more of both God and Andrea Dilley.' -- Kenda Creasy Dean, Professor of youth, church, and culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, Author of Almost Christian
'Truth. Reality. Meaning. Where do we find these elusive treasures in a skewed, surreal, and often seemingly meaningless world of unspeakable suffering? In this story of her young life, Andrea Palpant Dilley, missionary child and modern woman, struggles with these great life questions in such an honest, literate, and engaging way that the reader is swept into her story as a fellow searcher for truth. Like all of us, she still struggles to find all the answers. But she has learned where 'tires are fixed' on the journey. I believe that in this book we are witnessing the birth of a major contemporary writer.' -- Frederick Dale Bruner, Wasson Professor of Theology Emeritus, Whitworth University. Author of commentaries on The Gospel
“Andrea Dilley’s literary stroll down her own particular path of faith reminds us that while that way is narrow, it is also, at times, rather curvy and fraught with obstacles. Her winsome recollections are a balm for anyone walking a similar journey.” -- Tracy Balzer, author of Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey Into Celtic Christianity and A Listening Life.
'Andrea compellingly writes a contemporary conversion narrative mixed with a cultural travelogue, as a representative of a generation that grew up in and struggled with one corner of the Christian landscape. It is written with a story-teller's ear and an English major's eye. For those who work around the church this is a must-read, to see the generation we long to reach.” -- Jim Singleton, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs, CO
'With honesty and candor, Andrea Palpant shares her sense of displacement, as a 'third-culture kid' finding her way in America and as a once confident Christian beset with doubt and confusion in a postmodern world. I suspect many readers will find themselves in the questions that drive her away from faith. I also pray that, in her story, they will also see a pathway back. At this time in our culture, and in the church, we are in need of people like Andrea, who do not shy away from their questions and doubts, who do not fear bearing their souls, and who show us a way through to the other side of faith.' -- Dr. Steve Sherwood, Asst. Professor of Christian Ministry, George Fox University and Young Life Regional Trainer.
“Andrea Palpant Dilley’s bracingly honest memoir serves as an antidote both to the negative view of missionary families popularized by such books as The Poisonwood Bible, and to simplified stories of Christian conversion. Her unconventional story of reconversion, mapped against key events of Pilgrim’s Progress, argues for both the unique trajectory of each individual experience and for shared themes in the long process of transformation. Her own rediscovery and embrace of her identity and community is shown, wisely, to be the starting point for what is “yet a long road in front of [her].” We hope that this fine and passionate young writer will take us along on her journey as it unfolds.” -- Maxine Hancock, Ph.D, Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Author, Gol
“After summiting Mt. Rainier, John Muir wrote to his wife, ‘I did not mean to climb it, but got excited and soon was on top.’ That's how I felt when I finished reading Faith and Other Flat Tires during a very busy week. Seldom have I been so touched by the truth and ache of a spiritual memoir. Andrea Palpant Dilley's writing is fresh and clean and direct---you will examine your own soul through hers.” -- Paul J. Willis, author of Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild
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