Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems ❰Epub❯ ➝ Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems Author Rhoda Janzen – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk What does it mean to give church a try when you haven t really tried since you were twelve At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her What Church Make Me Look PDF/EPUB or does it mean to give church a Church Make PDF ☆ try when you haven t really tried since you were twelve At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love Rhoda doesn t Does This PDF or slide back into the dignified simplicity of the Mennonite church Instead she finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals, who really know how to get down with sparkler pom poms Amid the hand waving and hallelujahs Rhoda finds a faith richly practical for life just in time for some impressive lady problems, an unexpected romance, and a quirky new family Does This Church Make Me Look Fatis for people This Church Make PDF Î who have a problem with organized religion, but can t quite dismiss the notion of God, and for those who secretly sing hymns in their cars, but prefer a nice mimosa brunch to church This is the story of what it means to find joy in love, comfort in prayer, and incredibly, surprisingly faith in a big hearted God.


10 thoughts on “Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    A pet hate of mine is misnamed books By the time the book starts the author has been going out with the roughneck so called Mr Right for four months That is hardly meets.I can t stand the author I couldn t stand her in her last book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress A Memoir of Going Home although I gave it 4 stars because it was such a brilliantly nasty destruction of her out of the closet ex husband disguised as her recovering from said marriage and a bad car accident It was highly am A pet hate of mine is misnamed books By the time the book starts the author has been going out with the roughneck so called Mr Right for four months That is hardly meets.I can t stand the author I couldn t stand her in her last book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress A Memoir of Going Home although I gave it 4 stars because it was such a brilliantly nasty destruction of her out of the closet ex husband disguised as her recovering from said marriage and a bad car accident It was highly amusing.In this book she has chosen as her eternal paramour a bald, tattooed, gun loving failing a gun, he ll stomp a creature s head in gleefully totally uneducated character whose previous life including prison for a variety of crimes His saving grace is that he is a born again Christian member of a charismatic, speaking in tongues absolutely Fundamentalist church He doesn t believe in questioning or interpreting the bible and so as far as he is concerned hell is a place you burn, for millions of years, if you ve been naughty or whatever Hunting, crushing chipmunks heads in and shooting to kill intruders rather than injuring them as the author requests are not sins in his world Is this what Americans call Redneck So why is she with him Hormones of course Although he doesn t believe in sex before marriage He did though, for quite a while so she knows what he s like in bed So her hormones are in a continual state of anticipation and that always helps Because of this attraction she spends the three quarters of the book I ve read justifying how wonderful their relationship is How fantastic it is to be with someone who just believes and doesn t bother using intelligence or critical thinking to analyse anything, just accepts This man can do no wrong He s perfect in every way except that his sense of home decoration is too yahoo for her, and pink flamingoes and pebbledash wallpaper really have to go he doesn t see why but this is a step too far for her Don t let your friends or readers see what a total yahoo your guy is, go on about his native intelligence , his kindness, his empathy, how good he is at physical activies, his anyvirtuebutintellectual Been there Done that Married the sex god and got friendship elsewhere view spoiler We re divorced now of course hide spoiler You secretly know you re playing in the sandpit and you want to head off all knowledge and criticism of that by defending your relationship.The other thing that is annoying me is her very mendacious idea of tithing She has this firm belief and quotes scripture that for everything she gives God will make sure she gets at least the amount she gave, if notShe starts tithing worried that she won t be able to make ends meet But yes, it s true God gives money back to people who give money to his church So it s a good business investment 10% every month and the odd thousand orwill appear in your mailbox as and when you need it All fall down and start praising in tongues now OMG I m so cynical Beat me, beat me hard with a feather duster and cuss me in tongues until I see the error of my ways.Rhoda Janzen has a PhD, is a professional poet and ought to be a good writer To me, although she describes situations succinctly her books totally lack emotion I ought to feel something when she is stricken with cancer surely And when she goes through all the awful treatments and is denied even sex for God and chemotherapy from Mr Right But I don t The emotion is just not there and that s probably why I don t like her There aren t many authors I would turn down for having a fancy lunch with, but she s one She d talk non stop and it would be about herself.The book is annoying me so much It is down to second lowest reading position bathroom , the only place it has to sink to after this is glove compartment I hope to finish it before it descends to that level.Update I did finish it The book wasn t that bad, the author though


  2. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    I don t think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing at her upbringing, at her family, at herself Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that s just what you do, but still, I laughed too.In this book, as she chronicles her journ I don t think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing at her upbringing, at her family, at herself Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that s just what you do, but still, I laughed too.In this book, as she chronicles her journey toward becoming a Pentecostal, marrying her opposite, and being diagnosed with cancer, she seems to cease to see the humor in anything Instead, it reads like a religious testimony, and uncomfortably so There is even an entire chapter on the blessing of tithing No, really Prepare for sermons I stared feeling wary about the book about halfway through.Don t believe the title This isn t a light or funny read And she never really explains if her lady problems are solved and that was the only part I connected to in the entire book I feel for her, as it is clear her life has not been easy, but the tone of this is not humorous in the least


  3. Clif Hostetler Clif Hostetler says:

    A spiritual journey from Mennonite preacher s daughter to humanist scholar with PhD to Pentecostal with a bit of skepticism An unlikely journey but nevertheless that s what this book is about The switch to Pentecostalism coincided with a new romantic relationship and a bout with cancer The author admits her spiritual transformation was sufficiently bizarre to cause her friends to ask, Has the cancer affected your frontal lobe The cancer probably did concentrate her mind while she pon A spiritual journey from Mennonite preacher s daughter to humanist scholar with PhD to Pentecostal with a bit of skepticism An unlikely journey but nevertheless that s what this book is about The switch to Pentecostalism coincided with a new romantic relationship and a bout with cancer The author admits her spiritual transformation was sufficiently bizarre to cause her friends to ask, Has the cancer affected your frontal lobe The cancer probably did concentrate her mind while she pondered her mortality But it didn t hinder her ability to write creatively about her experiences in an upbeat humorous style while scattering little vignettes of spiritual insight Like most people when they first approach God, all I wanted was help I was hoping that God would swoop in and do the work for me He didn t do that But he did show me how to do the work myself I had spent a lifetime blaming other people for my own stuff The sheer force of this revelation took my breath away It changed everything All of a sudden I saw that holding a grudge was a way to avoid confronting my own stuff And so for the last two years the idea of prayer had been slowly gathering heft At the time of my diagnosis I saw faith in God not as belief in a real external entity but as a useful cause and effect strategy for managing heartbreak, anxiety and blame Comments such as the above show surprising maturity I m surprised because the author didn t have this kind of sober self evaluation in her first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress The author s writing style is entertaining to read, even when she s describing the most mundane subjects I m convinced she could maintain the reader s interest even when describing paint drying.We may be witnessing the development of a new subgenre of Mennonite memoir First there was Rhoda Janzen s first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress which made it to 1 on the NY Times bestseller list Then came Rhonda Langley s reply in the form of her book, Mennonite in Blue Jeans a Lenten Journey which didn t make it to the NY Times list, but waspopular with most Mennonites because the author had remained within the Mennonite community Now Rhoda Janzen s second book the subject of this review is published telling of her current situation I ve just learned that Rhonda Langley has also published a second memoir, titled The Year of 42, that also updates happenings in the life of her and her family Link to Rhonda s blogWhat s coming next I ve been following Shirley Showalter s blog for several years She s former president of Goshen College She has written her memoir, handed it into the publisher and it s scheduled to be published in September, 2013 I m looking forward to reading it


  4. Renita M Renita M says:

    I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and chuckled my way through it, with some familiarity, although Janzen s Mennonite experience does not mirror my own To wit, she was actually raised Mennonite Brethren, a separate denomination most modern American Mennos don t grow up speaking German I was not forced to eat beets growing up That said, my grandmother was raised Russian MB I picked this book up expecting similar musings, sped through it in an evening, and came away quite surprised.Janz I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and chuckled my way through it, with some familiarity, although Janzen s Mennonite experience does not mirror my own To wit, she was actually raised Mennonite Brethren, a separate denomination most modern American Mennos don t grow up speaking German I was not forced to eat beets growing up That said, my grandmother was raised Russian MB I picked this book up expecting similar musings, sped through it in an evening, and came away quite surprised.Janzen mentions her breast cancer almost as an afterthought She becomes Pentecostal practically without blinking an eye Or at least, that s how these things read I expect that there was a lotstruggle in reality, but it doesn t come through All the heartache of the first book is gone or am I mis remembering It seems to be an edited voice, cultivated to appear funnier and breezier andmiraculous, less thoughtful.And it s a lotreligion focused than MIALBD oddly enough , to the point where it feels a bit preachy at points Solve your money problems Cure cancer It s all so easy I finished the book not quite sure of what I had just read and I m still not It was enjoyable, but it didn t quite feel honest


  5. Sharon Sharon says:

    I did not care for this book As a poet, Janzen s use of language is very skilful, but her ability to tell a story is sketchy she does a lot of digressing into anecdotes that were not relevant to the story or particularly amusing Her way of explaining her faith is very strange she starts the book out converted, while she ended her previous memoir as an agnostic So there s no conversion story here There s LOTS that comes across as condescending and or racist, with the strong sense that admit I did not care for this book As a poet, Janzen s use of language is very skilful, but her ability to tell a story is sketchy she does a lot of digressing into anecdotes that were not relevant to the story or particularly amusing Her way of explaining her faith is very strange she starts the book out converted, while she ended her previous memoir as an agnostic So there s no conversion story here There s LOTS that comes across as condescending and or racist, with the strong sense that admitting her life is a mess gives her the right to say whatever she wants about anyone else In sum, I really disliked the narrator, found the narrative to be poorly structured and the humor unfunny, and felt that the spiritual parts of the story were very much couched in the rhetorical language of the church and so not particularly informative for me Did not enjoy or learn much from this book


  6. Miriam Downey Miriam Downey says:

    You can find my full review here Memoirist Rhoda Janzen says, What a relief it is that we don t have to be good at religion in order to seek God We don t even have to have a strong sense of belief All we need is the desire to believe In her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat, Janzen displays her desire to believe with marvelously funny stories about a topic that shouldn t be funny, i.e seriously dangerous breast cancer Janzen is an En You can find my full review here Memoirist Rhoda Janzen says, What a relief it is that we don t have to be good at religion in order to seek God We don t even have to have a strong sense of belief All we need is the desire to believe In her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat, Janzen displays her desire to believe with marvelously funny stories about a topic that shouldn t be funny, i.e seriously dangerous breast cancer Janzen is an English professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, about an hour from where I live PhD educated at UCLA, she is an academic who abandoned her Mennonite faith as a teenager Her first spiritual memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress tells the story of the horrendous time in her life when she returned to her Mennonite roots to heal following a divorce and a lot of broken bones from a car accident The desire to believe came back to her then and continued after she returned to her academic life.By this time, she is open to returning to religion, or in her words, with the desire for faith She meets a manly man, who is a born again Pentecostal, and starts attending church with him Although they are as opposite as can be his son says that they might be from different planets , they find they are perfect for each other As fate would have it, shortly after she meets Mitch, she receives a diagnosis of breast cancer a massive tumor in her breast Fearing the worst, she offers to let Mitch off the hook, but he tells her that he is the right man for this challenge, and so they face the surgery, the radiation, and the chemo together The chapter that details how she finds out about the cancer raises goose bumps, both spiritually and factually Yet, the way in which she handles the diagnosis is nothing short of amazing In her inner being, she seems to know that everything will be all right, and so, as the book evolves, Rhoda marries Mitch, the cancer goes into a complete remission, and Rhoda becomes a part of Mitch s faith community.I could relate to Janzen s cancer journey on many levels I will never forget when my husband, who had been fighting lymphatic cancer for 6 years, came home from a doctor s visit He had not told me he was going, so when he came home I was fixing dinner in the kitchen I was mixing meat loaf as I recall, and he walked in, gave me a peck on the cheek, and told me he had been to the doctor The doctor says it s really bad this time, he said, and I kept making the meatloaf Rhoda received her diagnosis over the telephone while she was counseling a student She finished the session with the student and then went off to teach a two hour class Sometimes doing common things helps soften the blow.Janzen really doesn t linger on the cancer Most of Does This Church is a love story and a narrative concerning the nature of faith and its reappearance in her life It is the story of affirming the present, seizing upon the opportunities that life offers, and restoring the rightful place of faith in God in life Although her spiritual journey is different from mine, I grew as I read about her journey and about the gracious God that guides her Besides all that, like Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, this book is laugh out loud funny When life becomes absurd, you can either bemoan the hand you have been dealt, or you can laugh at the irony of it all Personally, I love Janzen s humor, her outlook on life, and the affirming way her husband, friends and family love and support her quirky take on it all


  7. Jen Jen says:

    Quick read, with a snarky tone I enjoyed it, except for very close to the end WARNING ANIMAL CRUELTY TRIGGER The husband basically curb stomped a chipmunk the cat had brought into the house The poor chipmunk was dazed from being the cat s toy, the husband had just entered the house, and he quickly covered it with his sweatshirt and STOMPED ON IT S HEAD with his huge work boots on SERIOUSLY DUDE You were RIGHT BY the FRONT DOOR Grab it with your hoodie and TOSS IT OUT THE DOOR And Quick read, with a snarky tone I enjoyed it, except for very close to the end WARNING ANIMAL CRUELTY TRIGGER The husband basically curb stomped a chipmunk the cat had brought into the house The poor chipmunk was dazed from being the cat s toy, the husband had just entered the house, and he quickly covered it with his sweatshirt and STOMPED ON IT S HEAD with his huge work boots on SERIOUSLY DUDE You were RIGHT BY the FRONT DOOR Grab it with your hoodie and TOSS IT OUT THE DOOR And you call yourself a Christian Where does it say in the Bible that if a small rodent is introduced into your home, rather than humanely get it out, you just say, Eff it Those things are a pain to get out once they get in and re enact STOMP in your house What about being responsible stewards of God s creation So yeah, that right there just dropped two stars off of this book Also, I completely HATE that title It perpetuates the antiquated thought that women need to worry about looking fat and it also implies that God actually cares about what we look like at church I m sure as long as we are dressing with respect and are truly there for Him, God doesn t care if we look fat It was an interesting book, but I really don t dig the whole joy blase attitude towards killing Granted, the author wasn t cool with it, but she didn t see it, he just told her about it and she s still with him, without any care or concern about his violent tendencies I guess she is a stronger woman than me, but that would just worry the heck out of me The writing wasn t bad, her life was interesting enough, or she wrote about it in an interesting enough way, that I enjoyed the read I did like it, but did that scene really need to be in there At least she s being honest And other than that, her husband did seem like a pretty decent guy and he was trying to be a good Christian, so I am sure that counts for something No human is perfect and I m not saying that I am and that he should be too All of us are works in progress I m sure I do did things that would make him use all caps and exclamation points too 3 solid stars


  8. Petra Grayson Petra Grayson says:

    I had such high hopes for this book When I saw that Ms Janzen was writing another book, I put it onto my wish list as soon as it was listed onI really enjoyed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress Even for the high Kindle book price, I decided to splurge on this book I didn t realize when I bought it that it was Ms Janzen s journey back to religion I started reading and from the first bit I got the impression the book was about her journey through cancer There were lots of tangents, I had such high hopes for this book When I saw that Ms Janzen was writing another book, I put it onto my wish list as soon as it was listed onI really enjoyed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress Even for the high Kindle book price, I decided to splurge on this book I didn t realize when I bought it that it was Ms Janzen s journey back to religion I started reading and from the first bit I got the impression the book was about her journey through cancer There were lots of tangents, but as you get further through the book the story about cancer sort of drops out and it s only about religion Specifically, her experience meeting and marrying a Pentecostal and her conversion too It felt like there were so many loose ends in the book I liked her writing style and stories but at the end of each story, she d switch over to talk about something else and I was left wondering if there was a conclusion I don t know that I d say the book was actually preachy, but there was a lot of Bible talk It felt like lots of time was taken explaining the point of things like tithing or spiritual gifts but the language used was for someone who already agrees with the underlying narrative that God s Authority is right because it s God I was disturbed by how easily Ms Janzen was able to push aside issues that she says she feels very strongly about such as lack of female leadership in churches I also felt let down about her monologue on the joys of a Christian Marriage It really felt like she was saying marriages fall apart because the people in them are not Christian enough to seek God in their marriage like it s just random chance if non Christian people have a good marriage because the only truly great ones are Christian marriages Overall, I was left feeling rather down after reading this book From her perspective, I m sure this is a happy story but from my perspective it was a story of an independent woman who got a cancer diagnosis then turned into a woman who set aside everything she believed in to throw herself into her boyfriend husband s church and all the beliefs it entailed Let me be clear that I m not saying this impression is what her life is now, it s just what I was left feeling after reading this book I ll keep an eye on this author because I do like her writing style and I enjoy her stories I ll probably even read Mennonite In A Little Black Dress again sometime But I don t think I ll pick up this book again


  9. Hannah Notess Hannah Notess says:

    So, here s the thing about Pentecostals They fascinate and confuse me Because we believe basically the same stuff, but we go about it differently For instance, it never occurs to me to rebuke stuff when I m praying But I love hanging out with them, because they are always looking to see and hear God in their everyday lives And they do And so those encounters make me think, Well, why not Rhoda Janzen has become a Pentecostal, and so her outlook and approach to life has changed quite a bit So, here s the thing about Pentecostals They fascinate and confuse me Because we believe basically the same stuff, but we go about it differently For instance, it never occurs to me to rebuke stuff when I m praying But I love hanging out with them, because they are always looking to see and hear God in their everyday lives And they do And so those encounters make me think, Well, why not Rhoda Janzen has become a Pentecostal, and so her outlook and approach to life has changed quite a bit from her first book to her second In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, she s a skeptical indifferent semi believer In this book, she s gone to I decided to tithe, and voila, there was a check in the mail This might give some readers whiplash.For me, my reaction waslike the reaction I have to my Pentecostal friends Well, why not And this book reminded me a lot of Anne Lamott s essay collections self deprecating humor, entertaining anecdotes, and spiritual lessons to be learned view spoiler The one thing that really baffled me, though, was how she treats the disappearance of the tumor in her breast In one paragraph she s like within a week the 3 inch tumor was 90 percent gone, even though it hadn t responded to treatment before Janzen is a Pentecostal now how could she NOT attribute that healing to the work of God And to the prayers of the many people who prayed for her Instead, she just glides right past it to the next thing I puzzled over that little paragraph for a long time Maybe she just didn t feel ready to write about it hide spoiler So maybe not quite as funny as her first book, but still definitely worth reading


  10. Amy Amy says:

    Unexpectedly funny and relevant, though a little too random at times A lot of these stories didn t fit within the broader chapter, or she takes pages to introduce her main topic when a quick intro paragraph would have put everything in context Points for exceeding my expectations, though


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10 thoughts on “Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    A pet hate of mine is misnamed books By the time the book starts the author has been going out with the roughneck so called Mr Right for four months That is hardly meets.I can t stand the author I couldn t stand her in her last book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress A Memoir of Going Home although I gave it 4 stars because it was such a brilliantly nasty destruction of her out of the closet ex husband disguised as her recovering from said marriage and a bad car accident It was highly am A pet hate of mine is misnamed books By the time the book starts the author has been going out with the roughneck so called Mr Right for four months That is hardly meets.I can t stand the author I couldn t stand her in her last book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress A Memoir of Going Home although I gave it 4 stars because it was such a brilliantly nasty destruction of her out of the closet ex husband disguised as her recovering from said marriage and a bad car accident It was highly amusing.In this book she has chosen as her eternal paramour a bald, tattooed, gun loving failing a gun, he ll stomp a creature s head in gleefully totally uneducated character whose previous life including prison for a variety of crimes His saving grace is that he is a born again Christian member of a charismatic, speaking in tongues absolutely Fundamentalist church He doesn t believe in questioning or interpreting the bible and so as far as he is concerned hell is a place you burn, for millions of years, if you ve been naughty or whatever Hunting, crushing chipmunks heads in and shooting to kill intruders rather than injuring them as the author requests are not sins in his world Is this what Americans call Redneck So why is she with him Hormones of course Although he doesn t believe in sex before marriage He did though, for quite a while so she knows what he s like in bed So her hormones are in a continual state of anticipation and that always helps Because of this attraction she spends the three quarters of the book I ve read justifying how wonderful their relationship is How fantastic it is to be with someone who just believes and doesn t bother using intelligence or critical thinking to analyse anything, just accepts This man can do no wrong He s perfect in every way except that his sense of home decoration is too yahoo for her, and pink flamingoes and pebbledash wallpaper really have to go he doesn t see why but this is a step too far for her Don t let your friends or readers see what a total yahoo your guy is, go on about his native intelligence , his kindness, his empathy, how good he is at physical activies, his anyvirtuebutintellectual Been there Done that Married the sex god and got friendship elsewhere view spoiler We re divorced now of course hide spoiler You secretly know you re playing in the sandpit and you want to head off all knowledge and criticism of that by defending your relationship.The other thing that is annoying me is her very mendacious idea of tithing She has this firm belief and quotes scripture that for everything she gives God will make sure she gets at least the amount she gave, if notShe starts tithing worried that she won t be able to make ends meet But yes, it s true God gives money back to people who give money to his church So it s a good business investment 10% every month and the odd thousand orwill appear in your mailbox as and when you need it All fall down and start praising in tongues now OMG I m so cynical Beat me, beat me hard with a feather duster and cuss me in tongues until I see the error of my ways.Rhoda Janzen has a PhD, is a professional poet and ought to be a good writer To me, although she describes situations succinctly her books totally lack emotion I ought to feel something when she is stricken with cancer surely And when she goes through all the awful treatments and is denied even sex for God and chemotherapy from Mr Right But I don t The emotion is just not there and that s probably why I don t like her There aren t many authors I would turn down for having a fancy lunch with, but she s one She d talk non stop and it would be about herself.The book is annoying me so much It is down to second lowest reading position bathroom , the only place it has to sink to after this is glove compartment I hope to finish it before it descends to that level.Update I did finish it The book wasn t that bad, the author though

  2. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    I don t think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing at her upbringing, at her family, at herself Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that s just what you do, but still, I laughed too.In this book, as she chronicles her journ I don t think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing at her upbringing, at her family, at herself Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that s just what you do, but still, I laughed too.In this book, as she chronicles her journey toward becoming a Pentecostal, marrying her opposite, and being diagnosed with cancer, she seems to cease to see the humor in anything Instead, it reads like a religious testimony, and uncomfortably so There is even an entire chapter on the blessing of tithing No, really Prepare for sermons I stared feeling wary about the book about halfway through.Don t believe the title This isn t a light or funny read And she never really explains if her lady problems are solved and that was the only part I connected to in the entire book I feel for her, as it is clear her life has not been easy, but the tone of this is not humorous in the least

  3. Clif Hostetler Clif Hostetler says:

    A spiritual journey from Mennonite preacher s daughter to humanist scholar with PhD to Pentecostal with a bit of skepticism An unlikely journey but nevertheless that s what this book is about The switch to Pentecostalism coincided with a new romantic relationship and a bout with cancer The author admits her spiritual transformation was sufficiently bizarre to cause her friends to ask, Has the cancer affected your frontal lobe The cancer probably did concentrate her mind while she pon A spiritual journey from Mennonite preacher s daughter to humanist scholar with PhD to Pentecostal with a bit of skepticism An unlikely journey but nevertheless that s what this book is about The switch to Pentecostalism coincided with a new romantic relationship and a bout with cancer The author admits her spiritual transformation was sufficiently bizarre to cause her friends to ask, Has the cancer affected your frontal lobe The cancer probably did concentrate her mind while she pondered her mortality But it didn t hinder her ability to write creatively about her experiences in an upbeat humorous style while scattering little vignettes of spiritual insight Like most people when they first approach God, all I wanted was help I was hoping that God would swoop in and do the work for me He didn t do that But he did show me how to do the work myself I had spent a lifetime blaming other people for my own stuff The sheer force of this revelation took my breath away It changed everything All of a sudden I saw that holding a grudge was a way to avoid confronting my own stuff And so for the last two years the idea of prayer had been slowly gathering heft At the time of my diagnosis I saw faith in God not as belief in a real external entity but as a useful cause and effect strategy for managing heartbreak, anxiety and blame Comments such as the above show surprising maturity I m surprised because the author didn t have this kind of sober self evaluation in her first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress The author s writing style is entertaining to read, even when she s describing the most mundane subjects I m convinced she could maintain the reader s interest even when describing paint drying.We may be witnessing the development of a new subgenre of Mennonite memoir First there was Rhoda Janzen s first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress which made it to 1 on the NY Times bestseller list Then came Rhonda Langley s reply in the form of her book, Mennonite in Blue Jeans a Lenten Journey which didn t make it to the NY Times list, but waspopular with most Mennonites because the author had remained within the Mennonite community Now Rhoda Janzen s second book the subject of this review is published telling of her current situation I ve just learned that Rhonda Langley has also published a second memoir, titled The Year of 42, that also updates happenings in the life of her and her family Link to Rhonda s blogWhat s coming next I ve been following Shirley Showalter s blog for several years She s former president of Goshen College She has written her memoir, handed it into the publisher and it s scheduled to be published in September, 2013 I m looking forward to reading it

  4. Renita M Renita M says:

    I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and chuckled my way through it, with some familiarity, although Janzen s Mennonite experience does not mirror my own To wit, she was actually raised Mennonite Brethren, a separate denomination most modern American Mennos don t grow up speaking German I was not forced to eat beets growing up That said, my grandmother was raised Russian MB I picked this book up expecting similar musings, sped through it in an evening, and came away quite surprised.Janz I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and chuckled my way through it, with some familiarity, although Janzen s Mennonite experience does not mirror my own To wit, she was actually raised Mennonite Brethren, a separate denomination most modern American Mennos don t grow up speaking German I was not forced to eat beets growing up That said, my grandmother was raised Russian MB I picked this book up expecting similar musings, sped through it in an evening, and came away quite surprised.Janzen mentions her breast cancer almost as an afterthought She becomes Pentecostal practically without blinking an eye Or at least, that s how these things read I expect that there was a lotstruggle in reality, but it doesn t come through All the heartache of the first book is gone or am I mis remembering It seems to be an edited voice, cultivated to appear funnier and breezier andmiraculous, less thoughtful.And it s a lotreligion focused than MIALBD oddly enough , to the point where it feels a bit preachy at points Solve your money problems Cure cancer It s all so easy I finished the book not quite sure of what I had just read and I m still not It was enjoyable, but it didn t quite feel honest

  5. Sharon Sharon says:

    I did not care for this book As a poet, Janzen s use of language is very skilful, but her ability to tell a story is sketchy she does a lot of digressing into anecdotes that were not relevant to the story or particularly amusing Her way of explaining her faith is very strange she starts the book out converted, while she ended her previous memoir as an agnostic So there s no conversion story here There s LOTS that comes across as condescending and or racist, with the strong sense that admit I did not care for this book As a poet, Janzen s use of language is very skilful, but her ability to tell a story is sketchy she does a lot of digressing into anecdotes that were not relevant to the story or particularly amusing Her way of explaining her faith is very strange she starts the book out converted, while she ended her previous memoir as an agnostic So there s no conversion story here There s LOTS that comes across as condescending and or racist, with the strong sense that admitting her life is a mess gives her the right to say whatever she wants about anyone else In sum, I really disliked the narrator, found the narrative to be poorly structured and the humor unfunny, and felt that the spiritual parts of the story were very much couched in the rhetorical language of the church and so not particularly informative for me Did not enjoy or learn much from this book

  6. Miriam Downey Miriam Downey says:

    You can find my full review here Memoirist Rhoda Janzen says, What a relief it is that we don t have to be good at religion in order to seek God We don t even have to have a strong sense of belief All we need is the desire to believe In her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat, Janzen displays her desire to believe with marvelously funny stories about a topic that shouldn t be funny, i.e seriously dangerous breast cancer Janzen is an En You can find my full review here Memoirist Rhoda Janzen says, What a relief it is that we don t have to be good at religion in order to seek God We don t even have to have a strong sense of belief All we need is the desire to believe In her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat, Janzen displays her desire to believe with marvelously funny stories about a topic that shouldn t be funny, i.e seriously dangerous breast cancer Janzen is an English professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, about an hour from where I live PhD educated at UCLA, she is an academic who abandoned her Mennonite faith as a teenager Her first spiritual memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress tells the story of the horrendous time in her life when she returned to her Mennonite roots to heal following a divorce and a lot of broken bones from a car accident The desire to believe came back to her then and continued after she returned to her academic life.By this time, she is open to returning to religion, or in her words, with the desire for faith She meets a manly man, who is a born again Pentecostal, and starts attending church with him Although they are as opposite as can be his son says that they might be from different planets , they find they are perfect for each other As fate would have it, shortly after she meets Mitch, she receives a diagnosis of breast cancer a massive tumor in her breast Fearing the worst, she offers to let Mitch off the hook, but he tells her that he is the right man for this challenge, and so they face the surgery, the radiation, and the chemo together The chapter that details how she finds out about the cancer raises goose bumps, both spiritually and factually Yet, the way in which she handles the diagnosis is nothing short of amazing In her inner being, she seems to know that everything will be all right, and so, as the book evolves, Rhoda marries Mitch, the cancer goes into a complete remission, and Rhoda becomes a part of Mitch s faith community.I could relate to Janzen s cancer journey on many levels I will never forget when my husband, who had been fighting lymphatic cancer for 6 years, came home from a doctor s visit He had not told me he was going, so when he came home I was fixing dinner in the kitchen I was mixing meat loaf as I recall, and he walked in, gave me a peck on the cheek, and told me he had been to the doctor The doctor says it s really bad this time, he said, and I kept making the meatloaf Rhoda received her diagnosis over the telephone while she was counseling a student She finished the session with the student and then went off to teach a two hour class Sometimes doing common things helps soften the blow.Janzen really doesn t linger on the cancer Most of Does This Church is a love story and a narrative concerning the nature of faith and its reappearance in her life It is the story of affirming the present, seizing upon the opportunities that life offers, and restoring the rightful place of faith in God in life Although her spiritual journey is different from mine, I grew as I read about her journey and about the gracious God that guides her Besides all that, like Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, this book is laugh out loud funny When life becomes absurd, you can either bemoan the hand you have been dealt, or you can laugh at the irony of it all Personally, I love Janzen s humor, her outlook on life, and the affirming way her husband, friends and family love and support her quirky take on it all

  7. Jen Jen says:

    Quick read, with a snarky tone I enjoyed it, except for very close to the end WARNING ANIMAL CRUELTY TRIGGER The husband basically curb stomped a chipmunk the cat had brought into the house The poor chipmunk was dazed from being the cat s toy, the husband had just entered the house, and he quickly covered it with his sweatshirt and STOMPED ON IT S HEAD with his huge work boots on SERIOUSLY DUDE You were RIGHT BY the FRONT DOOR Grab it with your hoodie and TOSS IT OUT THE DOOR And Quick read, with a snarky tone I enjoyed it, except for very close to the end WARNING ANIMAL CRUELTY TRIGGER The husband basically curb stomped a chipmunk the cat had brought into the house The poor chipmunk was dazed from being the cat s toy, the husband had just entered the house, and he quickly covered it with his sweatshirt and STOMPED ON IT S HEAD with his huge work boots on SERIOUSLY DUDE You were RIGHT BY the FRONT DOOR Grab it with your hoodie and TOSS IT OUT THE DOOR And you call yourself a Christian Where does it say in the Bible that if a small rodent is introduced into your home, rather than humanely get it out, you just say, Eff it Those things are a pain to get out once they get in and re enact STOMP in your house What about being responsible stewards of God s creation So yeah, that right there just dropped two stars off of this book Also, I completely HATE that title It perpetuates the antiquated thought that women need to worry about looking fat and it also implies that God actually cares about what we look like at church I m sure as long as we are dressing with respect and are truly there for Him, God doesn t care if we look fat It was an interesting book, but I really don t dig the whole joy blase attitude towards killing Granted, the author wasn t cool with it, but she didn t see it, he just told her about it and she s still with him, without any care or concern about his violent tendencies I guess she is a stronger woman than me, but that would just worry the heck out of me The writing wasn t bad, her life was interesting enough, or she wrote about it in an interesting enough way, that I enjoyed the read I did like it, but did that scene really need to be in there At least she s being honest And other than that, her husband did seem like a pretty decent guy and he was trying to be a good Christian, so I am sure that counts for something No human is perfect and I m not saying that I am and that he should be too All of us are works in progress I m sure I do did things that would make him use all caps and exclamation points too 3 solid stars

  8. Petra Grayson Petra Grayson says:

    I had such high hopes for this book When I saw that Ms Janzen was writing another book, I put it onto my wish list as soon as it was listed onI really enjoyed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress Even for the high Kindle book price, I decided to splurge on this book I didn t realize when I bought it that it was Ms Janzen s journey back to religion I started reading and from the first bit I got the impression the book was about her journey through cancer There were lots of tangents, I had such high hopes for this book When I saw that Ms Janzen was writing another book, I put it onto my wish list as soon as it was listed onI really enjoyed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress Even for the high Kindle book price, I decided to splurge on this book I didn t realize when I bought it that it was Ms Janzen s journey back to religion I started reading and from the first bit I got the impression the book was about her journey through cancer There were lots of tangents, but as you get further through the book the story about cancer sort of drops out and it s only about religion Specifically, her experience meeting and marrying a Pentecostal and her conversion too It felt like there were so many loose ends in the book I liked her writing style and stories but at the end of each story, she d switch over to talk about something else and I was left wondering if there was a conclusion I don t know that I d say the book was actually preachy, but there was a lot of Bible talk It felt like lots of time was taken explaining the point of things like tithing or spiritual gifts but the language used was for someone who already agrees with the underlying narrative that God s Authority is right because it s God I was disturbed by how easily Ms Janzen was able to push aside issues that she says she feels very strongly about such as lack of female leadership in churches I also felt let down about her monologue on the joys of a Christian Marriage It really felt like she was saying marriages fall apart because the people in them are not Christian enough to seek God in their marriage like it s just random chance if non Christian people have a good marriage because the only truly great ones are Christian marriages Overall, I was left feeling rather down after reading this book From her perspective, I m sure this is a happy story but from my perspective it was a story of an independent woman who got a cancer diagnosis then turned into a woman who set aside everything she believed in to throw herself into her boyfriend husband s church and all the beliefs it entailed Let me be clear that I m not saying this impression is what her life is now, it s just what I was left feeling after reading this book I ll keep an eye on this author because I do like her writing style and I enjoy her stories I ll probably even read Mennonite In A Little Black Dress again sometime But I don t think I ll pick up this book again

  9. Hannah Notess Hannah Notess says:

    So, here s the thing about Pentecostals They fascinate and confuse me Because we believe basically the same stuff, but we go about it differently For instance, it never occurs to me to rebuke stuff when I m praying But I love hanging out with them, because they are always looking to see and hear God in their everyday lives And they do And so those encounters make me think, Well, why not Rhoda Janzen has become a Pentecostal, and so her outlook and approach to life has changed quite a bit So, here s the thing about Pentecostals They fascinate and confuse me Because we believe basically the same stuff, but we go about it differently For instance, it never occurs to me to rebuke stuff when I m praying But I love hanging out with them, because they are always looking to see and hear God in their everyday lives And they do And so those encounters make me think, Well, why not Rhoda Janzen has become a Pentecostal, and so her outlook and approach to life has changed quite a bit from her first book to her second In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, she s a skeptical indifferent semi believer In this book, she s gone to I decided to tithe, and voila, there was a check in the mail This might give some readers whiplash.For me, my reaction waslike the reaction I have to my Pentecostal friends Well, why not And this book reminded me a lot of Anne Lamott s essay collections self deprecating humor, entertaining anecdotes, and spiritual lessons to be learned view spoiler The one thing that really baffled me, though, was how she treats the disappearance of the tumor in her breast In one paragraph she s like within a week the 3 inch tumor was 90 percent gone, even though it hadn t responded to treatment before Janzen is a Pentecostal now how could she NOT attribute that healing to the work of God And to the prayers of the many people who prayed for her Instead, she just glides right past it to the next thing I puzzled over that little paragraph for a long time Maybe she just didn t feel ready to write about it hide spoiler So maybe not quite as funny as her first book, but still definitely worth reading

  10. Amy Amy says:

    Unexpectedly funny and relevant, though a little too random at times A lot of these stories didn t fit within the broader chapter, or she takes pages to introduce her main topic when a quick intro paragraph would have put everything in context Points for exceeding my expectations, though

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