Summary from Goodreads:
In the wake of the 2016 election, Lyz Lenz watched as her country and her marriage were torn apart by the competing forces of faith and politics. A mother of two, a Christian, and a lifelong resident of middle America, Lenz was bewildered by the pain and loss around her–the empty churches and the broken hearts. What was happening to faith in the heartland?
From drugstores in Sydney, Iowa, to skeet shooting in rural Illinois, to the mega churches of Minneapolis, Lenz set out to discover the changing forces of faith and tradition in God’s country. Part journalism, part memoir, God Land is a journey into the heart of a deeply divided America. Lenz visits places of worship across the heartland and speaks to the everyday people who often struggle to keep their churches afloat and to cope in a land of instability. Through a thoughtful interrogation of the effects of faith and religion on our lives, our relationships, and our country, God Land investigates whether our divides can ever be bridged and if America can ever come together.
I picked up God Land because I was interested in Lenz’s reporting/research on religion and faith in the Midwest (I am 100% a city kid from Cedar Rapids, IA, where she now lives). And she does a great job in tying to get inside that mythos of “midwesterners are the salt of the earth and the ‘real’ backbone of the US” and the cognitive dissonance of faith and politics. She also ties much of it to her search for a faith community that did not make her feel small or unwelcome. I think she also did a fantastic job of presenting all her subjects fairly and with depth and avoided othering or making any of them the boogeyman which is hard when being “politically neutral” is impossible. (I had a chuckle in the chapter where she attends the ELCA pastor conference and I was like “those are my people! *High five*” I am a very lapsed Lutheran 😂)
Dear FTC: I bought my copy because I was definitely not fancy enough to get a review copy.