The academic study of religion is an awkward pursuit. It takes a unique kind of compartmentalization to reduce the hot passions and stirrings of the soul into a measurable and observable science. So our best understanding of this thing we call religion comes in stories and testimonies and strange recollections of the way that people find meaning in their lives. More Than Conquerors: A Memoir of Lost Arguments by Megan Hustad hits bookstores today, and provides an original and vulnerable account of a Midwestern family who set out to serve Jesus on the mission field.
There, they would serve with Trans World Radio , a broadcasting ministry that used super transmitters there to send programming across worldwide frequencies.
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On missionary furloughs, they worked the church basement and slide projector circuit to eke out financial sponsors to send them back to the mission field for another tour. So Megan flees Minnesota for New York City and leaves her faith behind, pursuing a career in publishing. She finds difficulty in adjusting to life in Manhattan, and suffers imposter syndrome when her Midwestern Lutheran and evangelical missionary upbringing clash with the urban sensibilities of her bar mates and boyfriends.
Roughly a thousand years after the first ones. Seems a little late to the party. More Than Conquerors is not a story of a cynical run from the organized church, and it is not a book written for an exclusively religious audience. Megan sets her sights on New York City, where everything she was denied as a child would be at her fingertips, and Amy makes her home among the intellectual swagger of New Englanders. But fitting in proves harder than they'd imagined.
How I lost the religion of my childhood
As much as Megan tries to shake them, thoughts of the God she was ignoring follow her into every party and relationship. In More Than Conquerors , Hustad explores what happens when the habits of your religion coincide with the demands of your social class, and what breaks when they conflict. With a sharp tongue and deep insight, Hustad offers a vivid account of the cultural divisions, anxieties, and resentments that continue to divide our country and her own family.
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INTERVIEW WITH MEGAN HUSTAD
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Interesting enough story of growing up as the child of missionaries—missionaries who were not die-hard about their work, but who loved it nonetheless. I'm just Hustad talks at some length about her and her sister's relationships to religion, as separate from their parents' relationships to religion. She is clear that she does not equate her parents, or even her upbringing, with religion, but It feels as though there were Big Thi Hmm. It feels as though there were Big Things she wanted to address her sister's adult life, for example , but they felt too big, or too personal, or something, so those things are skated around.
Her parents had what sounds like a fairly quiet relationship with religion: Here's how it works, someone explained to us: You wear the T-shirt that has, oh, I don't know, a Bible verse on it or something catchy, something that might lead a person to ask, "Hey what's that on your T-shirt? He resolved not to put a Jesus fish on the back of the Subaru.
If anyone asked why not, he said, he would simply say that, sadly, our car had not accepted Jesus Christ as its savior. I suppose it's an odd upbringing for a child only if the child is used to something else, which Hustad was not She did make one really interesting point about her upbringing, by the way: her family relied largely on the kindness of those back home, which she refers to in one place as growing up as a charity case Definitely a more cynical look at things.
Hustad, meanwhile, grew to distrust the church and the ways in which adults presented religion, and God: The youth group counselors lost me, however, when they asked us to imagine Jesus as friend.
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Sure, I thought. Surely Jesus wouldn't slop down some fake-nice sentences in my yearbook on the last day of school, bubbles dotting his i's.
Not only did saying, in one breath, that Jesus was God and in the next breath, that he was our pal, sound incorrect, it sounded desperate, as if just one sales pitch wouldn't close the deal. And in my view pals were like pets. Nice to have, but inevitably you'd move across the ocean and they would be put in a kennel and flown to Philadelphia and there eat table scraps out of some stranger's hand and forget about you. They were never yours.
So why youth group leaders would want us to think of Jesus in terms of potential loss and jealousy mystified me. That feeling unworthy was a necessary precondition for experiencing God I could accept. But Jesus as a friend insulted us both. It's part of it, but, but, it's not the book. Definitely some interesting, and funny, parts see below , but it felt quite scattered. She worked hard to pronounce them all correctly.
When that proved impossible she had the satisfaction of at least knowing which ones she wasn't pronouncing correctly, and that was some victory in and of itself. Apparently I read oodles of these faith-tinged memoirs, but I was surprised to find this one kind of bland.
More Than Conquerors: A Memoir of Lost Arguments by Megan Hustad
Despite the missionary field settings and the potential for all sorts of adolescent angst, I didn't feel the stories and anecdotes were very interesting, or that the author was very engaged in relating them. Another reviewer mentioned a sense of detachment, and I would agree with their assessment. May 29, Holly rated it really liked it.
As a person who worked for a faith-based international humanitarian organization and interacted with an expat community that was largely composed of evangelical missionaries, I am familiar with the world of this memoirist. It was interesting to read about her experience with it. She was a missionary kid on a Caribbean island and in the Netherlands and now lives in New York City that great Babylon and works in the field of publishing, among intellectuals and artists and professionals whom she i As a person who worked for a faith-based international humanitarian organization and interacted with an expat community that was largely composed of evangelical missionaries, I am familiar with the world of this memoirist.
She was a missionary kid on a Caribbean island and in the Netherlands and now lives in New York City that great Babylon and works in the field of publishing, among intellectuals and artists and professionals whom she imagines disdain the kind of people she came from-- religious folk who set out to convert others to their rather narrow worldview. The author becomes alienated from her parents' faith as a teenager but, as an adult, regains a measure of respect and affection for the best parts of her Christian upbringing.