Book Review: Faith and Other Flat Tires


Read all the way to the bottom to find out how to enter to win a copy of “Faith and Other Flat Tires.”

There’s PKs and there’s MKs.

Preachers’ kids and missionaries’ kids. And some like to throw in DKs too — deacons’ kids.

I was a PK. Andrea Palpant Dilley was an MK. I suppose that was one of the things that initially attracted me to Dilley’s book, “Faith and Other Flat Tires.”

While there was commonality in our growing-up experiences, what I wanted most to read about in Dilley’s book was her crisis of faith. She had questions and doubts and things she couldn’t make sense of.

“I walked out of the church sanctuary one morning and started into a two-year journey away from Christianity. My faith had a flat tire. … Years later, I returned to church with a changed faith. But I didn’t know that at the time. The day I left, I set out on a search having no idea where I would go in my wandering and or how I would find my way back home.”

I’ve not experienced a crisis of faith in the same way, but I’ve had questions and my beliefs have been challenged. I didn’t respond like Dilley who was open-minded and sought “truth.” I pridefully and stubbornly defended things that I had no basis for other than “that’s how I was taught.” That doesn’t mean what I was taught was wrong; it just means I had a pitiful reason for believing how I did. I lacked depth.

Dilley ripped the Jesus fish off her car, and when she did an interesting thing happened.

“The glue had left a light fish-shaped mark on the aluminum bumper. I did the best I could to remove it, but some of the residue remained.”

The removal of the Ichthus and the mark it left behind is symbolic for the rest of Dilley’s journey during which she couldn’t shake her Christian heritage and experiences. Instead of doing away with them totally she sought to make sense of what remained.

At some point in her story she had a literal flat tire, which also was quite symbolic to what was happening with her faith.

“[T]hat flat tire in  a very strange way foreshadowed the failure to come on my pilgrimage — the slough, the mire, the getting stuck on the side of the road trying to find a way home. And although failure was a first and necessary step to getting back on the road, at the time it just made me feel like a total wreck.”

Yeah, I’ve been there too, both with a literal flat tire experience that had symbolic meaning and in a place where I simultaneously appreciated the necessity of failure and yet felt miserable in the middle of my mess.

I kept reading and waiting for Dilley’s “aha” moment, the moment where it all came together for her and faith made sense again. With only 100 pages left in the book I thought, “It’s gotta happen soon.” But chapter after chapter and no “aha;” just more journey and more questions and then a slow draw back into “the church.”

I finally realized when there were only a few pages left: there is no “aha” moment. Yes, Dilley returned to church but not with all her questions answered. In fact, I think she came back with more questions than when she left. But the answer she found is that it’s not the answers that matter but the seeking. She also discovered it’s OK to question; not only OK but questioning is good and necessary.

“God is only looking for a seed of faith, a small simple thing.”

To enter to win your own copy of “Faith and Other Flat Tires” leave a comment telling about a flat tire moment of your own, either literally or a time when you just felt deflated. Enter before midnight Friday, June 29. This is my first giveaway so help me make it a good one by commenting! Thanks!

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Faith and Other Flat Tires

  1. I love reading your blog and your reviews. You have spurred me to read more varied things and you are one of my inspirations/helpers in my current flat tire moment.

    I have never been a highly spiritual person but in the last year I have had many things occur which have changed me drastically. I have been searching for the Lord in so many ways and find myself questioning everything and asking for God’s help. I am reading the bible daily and as this book finds, each day I find more questions and not always answers. This looks like an interesting read for me in my current chapter of life.

    Thankfully I have had few literal flat tires and hope that continues.

    Thanks Heather!

  2. Heather says:

    I also find the more I journey the more questions I have. I have had flat tires and entire engine overhauls, sadly it often makes your faith never run the same again.

  3. Marla Jones says:

    H, I enjoyed your review and appreciate the fact that sometimes we don’t get the ah-ha moment we yearn for. The closure. I have experienced flat tires, slow leaks and complete blow-outs throughout my life, however, God has always provided the spare tire I needed to continue on with life’s travel.

  4. Reda Ellis says:

    I, too, enjoy reading your insightful blogs. I have never walked away from my faith. But because of various flat tires and blow outs in my life, I have questioned God’s plans. I have even become angry with Him at times. I knew I shouldn’t be angry with Him, but it seemed He was silent through the flat tires and blow outs. Prayers weren’t answered the way I thought they should be. It wasn’t until the blow out was repaired that I began to see my problem and His hand at work. During my blow out,s His promises have been most comforting. We are not alone if our times of flat tires or blow outs, whether it is caused by walking away, slipping, or are thrown into a flat tire or blow out situation. God is always faithful and His ways are right. Even when we don’t understand why He allows some things to happen.

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