cover image God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America

God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America

Lyz Lenz. Indiana Univ, $22 (176p) ISBN 978-0-253-04153-1

Journalist Lenz blends memoir and reporting in this slim but powerful debut on the faith and politics of Middle America. After a lifetime of straining against her prescribed place within a white, Protestant world, Lenz left both her marriage and church in the wake of the 2016 election. Unable to compromise any longer with a husband who voted for Donald Trump, and unable to worship at a church that ignored violent white supremacy, divorce and departure become her only path forward. “The story of who leaves the church,” Lenz writes, “is just as important as the story of who stays.” In a series of episodic chapters, the author travels across the Midwest exploring stories of both the belonging and exclusion she finds there. Highlights include her tale of a home church that imploded around questions of authority and submission, and her tracking of a resurgent “muscular” and patriarchal Christianity. She also reveals online and physical communities built by women, queer Christians, and people of color pushed out of conservative evangelical spaces. This work will resonate with any readers interested in understanding American landscapes where white, evangelical Christianity dominates both politics and culture. (Aug.)