I Love the Church, I Hate the Church: Paradox or Contradiction?

Is it possible to both love and hate the church at one and the same time?

Bob LaRochelle has had a lot of experience with different churches. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was ordained a Permanent Deacon in that church. After a period of intense soul-searching, he left the Catholic Church and embarked on a career in ordained Protestant ministry, serving congregations in both the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Through most of the same time, he also worked in the field of education, first as a teacher, and, for most of his career, as a counselor.

Balancing personal experience with historical and theological background and reflection, I Love the Church, I Hate the Church combines factual information, theological analysis, and deep-seated personal feelings, all inviting the reader to take a look at the church, perhaps in ways that she or he never has before!


“Prophetic and yet loving. Appreciative and yet challenging. Written with a pastor’s heart and an academic mind, this text invites pastors and congregational leaders to ponder how they can be more faithful to the gospel in our time. In a time of apparent decline, this text provides images of hope for a vital church of the future. A great book for group study as well as personal reflection. I commend it for church-leadership teams and councils.” –Bruce Epperly, author of Walking with Francis of Assisi: From Privilege to Activism

“LaRochelle delivers a personal Jacob-wrestling-with-the-angel story. . . . This honest confessional by one who has served as a pastor in multiple congregations of various denominations is a candid look at what the local church can become if its priorities are rooted in a sense of mission and discipleship.” –James Hazelwood, author of Everyday Spirituality: Discover a Life of Hope, Meaning and Peace

“LaRochelle points to both the excesses and shortcomings of the hierarchical, rule-based structure of the church while also pointing to the fact that much of humanitarian assistance comes from faith-based organizations. He . . . challenges the church to become more relevant and directly address the current challenges facing its congregants.” –Curtis Brand, author of Butterfly Moon

“LaRochelle offers us a refreshingly honest glimpse into his lifelong relationship with the church and the internal conflict that helped to shape his journey. . . . This book is a perfect conversation starter as the reader explores their own personal relationship with God, religion, and the church.” –Eric R. Hutchinson, Music Director, Grace Lutheran Church, ELCA

“In reading this book, I found myself reenergized as a Christian. It answered deep-rooted questions about the purpose of the church and what could be as opposed to its current realities. In many ways, I view this book as a call to action. . . . What are our priorities? What should they be? This book is timely and has the opportunity to serve as a catalyst for both personal and institutional change.” –Daniel P. Sullivan III, Connecticut School Administrator
About the Author
Robert R. LaRochelle holds a DMin degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is an ordained clergyperson in the United Church of Christ and also served as an ordained Roman Catholic deacon for nine years. In addition to his work serving several churches as pastor, he had a career in education as both a teacher and counselor which spanned over forty years. In addition to his doctoral degree, he holds degrees from the College of the Holy Cross, Central Connecticut, and Boston College.

Review & Commentary