A gentle guidebook for Christians caught in the messy middle
In the wake of scandal, culture wars, and abuse, many Christians are wondering whether the North American church is redeemable—and if not, whether they should even stay. While many are answering no to those questions, this book is for those who long to disentangle their faith from all the cultural baggage and recapture the joy of following Jesus.
Through personal anecdotes, encounters with the global church, deep dives into Scripture, and helpful historical context about Christianity, An Untidy Faith takes readers on two journeys. The first journey lays out the grand vision of Christianity and the legacy passed on to us by the early believers in hopes of renewing readers’ belief in the church writ large. The second journey helps believers understand why they feel distant from their church settings and provides a reorientation drawn from Scripture of God’s vision for community.
A gentle companion, Kate Boyd walks alongside those who have questions but can’t ask them for fear of being labeled by or cast out of their communities. An Untidy Faith is a guidebook for those who want to be equipped with practices to rebuild their faith and shape their communities to look more like Jesus.
PART ONE: Journey Back to Belief 1. Choose Your Own Deconstruction 2. Respecting the Bible’s Boundaries 3. The Whole Gospel 4. A More Tangible Hope 5. Kingdom of Good 6. Understanding Our Family Legacy 7. The Pain in the Promise
PART TWO: Journey into Joyful Practice 8. Compelled by Compassion 9. Confidence in the Spirit 10. Heads, Hands, and Hearts of Christ 11. In Spirit and in Truth 12. The Ties That Bind Us 13. Valuing Connection over Conversion
Conclusion Acknowledgements Notes About the Author
Kate Boyd is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher. She helps believers who find themselves in the messy middle between conservative and progressive navigate the tensions of the Christian life so they can more confidently walk the lines between doubt and certainty and faith and action with love and grace for all. She graduated cum laude with a BS in journalism and soon found her way to marketing and storytelling. She has traveled the world to interview and tell the stories of believers on mission, and she has written copy that has created millions in revenue for nonprofits and small businesses. She is studying theology with an emphasis in church history and biblical languages at Perkins School of Theology.
“There is a vulnerability in rebuilding your faith after an earlier version has collapsed. Kate Boyd shows us that vulnerability with clarity and kindness—and without judgment. An Untidy Faith isn’t a how-to but a how-I-did, a humble invitation to consider that there’s a life of faith after deconstruction for those who seek it.”
~JARED BYAS, author of Love Matters More and co-host of The Bible for Normal People
“For those disentangling their faith in the face of church abuse scandals and political idolatry, Kate Boyd offers wise and compassionate guidance for a better path forward. An Untidy Faith centers the global church, prioritizes faithful interpretation of Scripture, and clings to Jesus amid the failures of his church. I’m thrilled to have a resource I can confidently give to people asking big and important questions about the Christian faith.”
~KAITLYN SCHIESS, author of The Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture Has Been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go from Here and The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor
“Kate Boyd has written a thoughtful and well-researched book that is helpful for all Christians as we navigate culture and our faith in the midst of it. She guides us all with kindness, facts, biblical truth, and vulnerability. This is a book I will recommend to all who come to me with questions about deconstruction and rebuilding faith in the face of so many questions.”
~KRISTEL ACEVEDO, spiritual formation director at Transformation Church and author of 3 Big Questions That Shape Your Future
“An Untidy Faith is a book that provides ample space for nuance, asking questions and disentangling from toxic forms of Christianity. Kate Boyd does a beautiful job of writing honestly, passionately, and with conviction about her own journey as well as what she has experienced with others. I particularly love that she doesn’t leave you stuck but rather invites you, if you are willing, to journey along with her to construct a meaningful path to faith that makes sense.”
~ROBERT MONSON, writer, speaker, and codirector of Enfleshed
“Kate Boyd offers a safe seat on the sofa for a truthful and thoughtful discussion about the long-road journey of a living faith in God—and the potholes and detours that have disoriented and disenfranchised people throughout history. No matter where readers are on their faith journey, they will find Kate’s wisdom to be encouraging and gracious. She is the friend we all need to keep us focused on what is true and trustworthy.”
~RONNE ROCK, mentor, speaker, and author of One Woman Can Change the World: Reclaiming Your God-Designed Influence and Impact Right Where You Are
“Deconstructing one’s faith can be a messy endeavor, leaving a person to wonder whether there is anything left in the rubbish of a religion ruined by divisive politics, questionable ethics, and most of all, the trauma of lost trust. However, Kate Boyd does not leave us in the wreckage of cynicism, but rather offers us the rare commodity of joy. An Untidy Faith describes a treasure recovered by the continued life and work of Jesus, one who seeks to build a kingdom within us and around us, in our broken hearts and through community with kindred travelers.”
~PHUC LUU, PhD, author of Jesus of the East: Reclaiming the Gospel for the Wounded