stumbling toward faith
about renee the book the blog forum

hi. i love blogs and blogging. i blog at ianua. i'm also having a virtual blog book tour! (how completely cool is that?) i'll be going to various people's blogs and talking about my book, my story, doing interviews, making posts -- in some cases i'll be having online live chats with the blog authors .... it will be great fun, and we'd love it if you would join us.

Book Tour Schedule

Aug 31 Real Live Preacher
"Renee Altson doesn’t care if she is relevant or if she makes you feel good. She cares about telling the truth of her journey. She is willing to speak boldly and let the chips fall where they may... I wish to God that a book like "Stumbling Toward Faith" didn’t need to be written, but it did. The Church must listen to stories like this and truly hear them, if the Church is to discover what real relevance is for our culture."

Sept 1 U2 Sermons
"I read Renee's story in one stunned, tearful evening, and have been telling people the book ought to be required for any Christian leader who has the illusion that "a church background" is by definition benign."

Sept 2 Jordon Cooper
"Tomorrow marks something that I have never done before and that is I am going to have my first guest poster here at I was deeply moved by the book. She reminds me a lot of Anne Lamott, authentic, raw, and talks about things that I know are true but haven't had the courage to think about yet ... My friends know that I only ever give away books that mean a lot to me and this is one book that I will be giving away lots over the next couple of years."

Sept 3 Cory Aldrich
"Struggling. Stumbling. Doubting. Fearing. Raging. We can bear all these, if we have someone to bear them with, someone to sympathize, to affirm, to accept. Renée has bravely opened her life to us all. For that, I thank her; and to you I commend her book."

Sept 6 Andrew Jones
"Renee writes artistically and with passion about her journey from the dark tunnel of spiritual abuse."

Sept 7 Liz Rios
"I think every person but especially every leader should pick up this book to help them shape (or reshape) their philosophy of ministry. I love the title because we all stumble and as we progress in our respective journey's we make decisions every day after a stumble if we will go toward a renewed, reshaped faith or walk away from it altogether. Renee didn't walk away. It was reshaped, it was renewed, it was rebuilt—hope for us all."

Sept 8 Jay Voorhees
"Renee's book is ultimately about exclusion and embrace. For many years, the Christians that encountered Renee excluded her because she didn't conform to their theological understandings. She confronted them with hard questions, not necessarily overtly, but in her pain and suffering, that weren't easily answered. So it became easier to exclude her rather than asking the hard questions of faith that life puts upon us.

Yet, it is also a story of embrace, of a God who is present with her and won't let her go. There is no reason that Renee should have any desire to ever be a part of the church again. But God won't let her go. And likewise, if we are to be the Embracing Church, we too must take care to never let go of the trouble makers, the one's who don't fit into our theology, the needy who need the reassurance of grace again and again. The way that we are holy is to be with them, to walk beside them, and to never let them go."

Sept 9 Jenell Paris
"Why did you choose to write without capitals?"

Sept 10 Phillip Winn
The pain described in the opening pages is overwhelming. It easily leaves the reader sucking for air, gasping to get from underneath an oppressive weight. And it begs for resolution. How could a man like this exist? How could any person do something like that to any other person? And, the question that every page ask, How could God allow it?

The answers aren’t in the book. I don’t know where the answers are in life. I do know that already a few people out there are marshaling arguments to respond to the question and to them I say, STOP! Have you read the book? Are you answering the question, or are you responding to Renée? The question isn’t “How does evil exist within God’s sovereignty?” It is “How did God allow what happened to her?” If you don’t see the difference, you’ve got some serious “love” issues.

Overcoming evil is never easy. Renee offers realistic hope for the victims of abuse whether sexual, physical, emotional or spiritual.

Sept 13 Jen Lemen
in exchange for being my already naturally over-the-top advocating/encouraging self, zondervan sent me the book (thank you), so i'd have real reasons for being so excited that my friend is a published author, and i soaked the whole thing up in one day, just blown away that someone would have the guts to commit to paper such a soulful story—of having your innocence stolen and your faith in god perverted with the sick & twisted dark side of religion. but renee does just that. she's brave, she tells her stories, she reveals her true self, and i can only imagine the throngs sitting in shrink's offices wishing someone would say just this: that you can survive such nightmares, that god can be present for you. and that somehow, in spite of it all, there's light for the journey.

Sept 14 Will Samson
Renee's experience illustrates the need for openness. Her years of silent suffering are unfortunately all too common within the Church, a place that should be a home for the sick and the needy. We need to change that. Hopefully this book will be one more step in that process.

Sept 15 Dry Bones Dance
While the details of our personal histories differ, Renee asks all the questions that I've been asking for years. She doesn't answer most of them, but then I haven't answered them either. Neither have you. If you say you think you have, I probably won't believe you. Sometimes there are no answers, just the mystery of how doubt and faith hold hands and the miracle of redemption that comes on the far side of despair and that leaves us wondering why it didn't show up before we got so damaged.

Sept 16 Chris Monroe
Stumbling Toward Faith is likely "unlike" any book you¹ve read before. It is at the same time: story, tragedy, poetry, indictment, and confession ­ blended together into the nearly seamless expression of a human soul. That human soul ­ Renee Altson ­ is a remarkable person.

Sept 17 Angi York Crane
Skimming quickly the first time, so I would know what surprises lurked between the covers, breathing out and in as I finished it, and then, starting over again. The second time through the book was less of a quick drive through- meal and more of a picnic. A picnic through darkness, light, the absence of the sun, searing heat, and driving rain. I found myself giving the book more time because the words and the story deserved and invited my full attention and presence. In the pages I wrestled with God, and the pain that we, the people of His creation, inflict on the innocent and helpless.

Sept 20 Adam Cleaveland
"It is definitely an experiment in transparency, an exercise in laying out the truth, as it is: gritty, raw, painful...but real."

Sept 21 Claudia Burney
First of all I have to tell you that stumbling toward faith is a stunning book. It's not just the beauty of your craftsmanship that astounds me, but the book, and your story, is knock you down on your face, with your butt in the air on the altar good.

Sept 22 Doug Ferguson
I cannot help but recommend this book. At the very least it shows that the Christian journey is not an easy, safe, predictable road, despite the popular christian subculture which encourages more or less such a view with sterile panacea's from "Let go and let God" to "Everything works for the good". At the very most, Renée reminds us the true fruits of Christ's grace are found in individual and united acts of true compassion, suffering with the sufferer; that the common life of a church is more than doctrinal conformity, more than a self-infatuated spirituality and a sense of personal spiritual accomplishment, usually at the expense of others.

Sept 23 Bobbie (part 2)
after finishing her book i realized how even amidst the pain and the trauma she endured renee never lost site of god. her god is so big, so vast. handling any question she throws, and frustration she hurls, and even the silent tears she cries. renee's understanding of god has widened my own small miracle god that i kept tucked away in my small box, into a full, sweeping god that i don't understand but love even more. that she could have endured all she did and still love him gives me solace and safety, and increases my own stumbling faith.

Sept 24 Mike Todd
let me make this very clear: you should read this book. actually, let me clarify that statement. if you like happy endings, if you don't like to question God, if you think praying harder will solve all life's difficulties, if you don't like unresolved pain, and if you think "the church" can do no wrong then you should not read this book. renee writes with honesty and raw beauty about her experience, and this is a story we all need to know if we are to have any hope of being salt and light (i hesitate to use the word "relevance", but it's probably applicable). i have been reading renee's blog for some time, but my respect for her has reached new levels after reading stumbling.

Sept 27 Chris Erdman
In reading your book, I’m struck by many things. One of them is the way the language of Christian faith was used destructively in your life. The opening page of your book is a raw and terrifying witness to this.

Sept 28 Lilly Lewin
Sept 29 Bob Carlton
Sept 30 Renee

wanna join in? email bob and find out how.


stumbling toward faith is now in its second printing!

total books in print: 5,000!


this weekend i was at the national youth workers convention in anaheim, and i had the privilege of watching people pick up my book, look at it, and decide whether or not to buy it.

i know many people probably never get the opportunity to do such stealth observation, and i feel so lucky to have had the chance to do so.

there were a couple people holding it in line, and i ran up to them and said, "i'm renee! that's my book!"

it was an amazing experience, and i really had a wonderful time.


i'm now accepting paypal for signed, autographed copies (and the bookmark), but i don't accept credit cards, just bank accounts and/or paypal accounts. email me for paypal info, or send $14.99 to renee at ianua dot org and make sure to include your mailing address and the name you want the book enscribed to. thanks!


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