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I have thought a lot about why these personal, journalistic essays are so compelling. They aren’t written by a dispassionate voice trying to understand the American political and cultural divide. These essays work because they are so personal - Lenz’s marriage ended because her husband voted for Trump. She’s a mid-Westerner who still lives in the heartland. She’s wrestling with the dissolution of her marriage through the larger lens of how faith and politics interact during this intense time in America.
“Everything is political. Our wounds and our worship. We want our faith to transcend the political, but we can only do that when we exist in sameness. When barriers collapse, our wounds are revealed, and wounds are political because they involve pain.”— From Andrea
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.