When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss

When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss

by Jessica Wilbanks

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Overview

A memoir of the profound destabilization that comes from losing one's faith—and a young woman's journey to reconcile her lack of belief with her love for her deeply religious family.

Growing up in poverty in the rural backwoods of southern Maryland, the Pentecostal church was at the core of Jessica Wilbanks' family life. At sixteen, driven by a desire to discover the world, Jessica walked away from the church—trading her faith for freedom, and driving a wedge between her and her deeply religious family.

But fundamentalist faiths haunt their adherents long after belief fades—former believers frequently live in limbo, straddling two world views and trying to reconcile their past and present. Ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored the Yorùbá roots of the Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by the promises and power of the church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path.

When I Spoke in Tongues is a story of the painful and complicated process of losing one's faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it's a story of how a family splintered by dogmatic faith can eventually be knit together again through love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807092231
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,233,562
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jessica Wilbanks is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as creative nonfiction awards from Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Redivider, and Ruminate magazine. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism. Jessica received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Houston, where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son.

Table of Contents

PART I

CHAPTER 1
Ghost Language

CHAPTER 2
House-Hunting

CHAPTER 3
Upon This Rock

CHAPTER 4
Revival

CHAPTER 5
The Beach

CHAPTER 6
Ori and Joe

CHAPTER 7
Mushrooms

CHAPTER 8
Live Nativity

CHAPTER 9
Forgiven

PART II

CHAPTER 10
Left Behind

CHAPTER 11
Made in Nigeria

CHAPTER 12
The County

CHAPTER 13
Beloved, Feel Free

CHAPTER 14
Trigger of Africa

CHAPTER 15
The Virgin

CHAPTER 16
On the Far Side of the Fire

CHAPTER 17
The Edge of the Abyss

CHAPTER 18
Back Home

Acknowledgments
A Note on Sources

Customer Reviews