About Addie Zierman

Addie Zierman Official Author PhotoAddie Zierman is a writer, blogger and speaker.

She has an MFA from Hamline University and is the author of When We Were On Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over — which was named by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best books of 2013.

In addition to her book, Addie has been published in a variety of magazines and journals, including The Literary Bohemian, Rock & Sling, and Relief. Her work has also appeared in more mainline magazines, including Relevant online, MOPS magazines and on Christianity Today’s women’s blog Her.meneutics.

Addie has been speaking evangelical fluently since she was three years old. In her life, she has been a Bible study leader, prayer group founder, Sunday school teacher, worship band singer, and Awana Spark for Jesus. She still knows all the words to the song “Jesus Freak.”

She started this blog to hone her writing skills and to do the hard work of redefining her faith in a world that is significantly less black and white than she once believed it to be. She named it, originally, “How to Talk Evangelical,” but has since changed it to simply Addie Zierman.

Addie is a Diet Coke enthusiast with terrible taste in TV and an endless pile of Books-To-Read. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Andrew, and her two young sons (Dane and Liam).

Addie Zierman family

Photo by: Shane Long Photography

  • Matthew Ling

    Congrats on your accomplishments and I look forward to reading your blog. We love you guys and wish you all the best!



    • roshan

      I am reading your book when we were on fire. I am liking it so much

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  • http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com Marilyn Gardner

    I just want to say that you.are.good. really.good. I didn’t grow up in this country, but still learned to speak evangelical until every cliche I ever knew was challenged. I first read your post Shoot Christians Say – and loved it. I wrote this piece (and I promise this is not about self promotion as much as to say, thanks for inspiring) http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2012/03/30/captured-by-no-cliche/ after I read your piece. So thank you. for your heart. for your gracious spirit even as you critically think through this language called evangelical! I look forward to reading a lot more of you.

  • Jess

    Just getting into your blog and I’m really enjoying it! I just read your post Organic Christianity and when I saw “Andover” I thought “could it be.. Minnesota?!” I used to live in Anoka, now I’m in Rochester. Small world :) Thanks for writing!!

    • Addie Zierman

      How fun! Love finding other Minnesotans on here. :) Thanks so much for reading.

  • http://godseverydaygirl.com Shannon

    Just a passer by and thought I would say how wonderful and relaxing I found reading your posts. Organic Christianity brought me your way, certainly glad it did :)

    • Addie Zierman

      So glad you’re here. Thanks for the kind note!

  • Mark Allman

    Looking forward to reading your blog. The couple of post I have read so far were great.

  • http://bethbates.wordpress.com Beth

    I am so excited to find a Jesusy writer with an MFA. We’re rare. (Is there an official club? Let’s make one!)

    • Addie Zierman

      Ha! Thanks Beth. I know there are more of us. One who comes instantly to mind is Micha Boyett. She’s awesome.

    • http://www.quietanthem.com Renee Ronika Klug

      I’m a Jesusy writer who went to Biola AND has an MFA. I blog and teach creative writing at a university now. Can I join the club?

      Addie, I wish we could have been in classes together–not at Christian college (though that would have been fun), but in our MFA programs. I find you to be a kindred spirit; I think I would have found myself stronger in your presence.

      • Addie Zierman

        Absolutely! And I wish we could have too. I just remember feeling so lonely, like no one was where I was at. I wish I had known that that there were all of these people writing and grappling and working through their own struggle in such beautiful ways on the internet. So wonderful to find kindred people like you; so bittersweet to not get to go out for an actual drink or cup of coffee or sit next to each other (in real life) in a class. Anyway, thanks for this comment. It made me happy.

  • Brian Keller

    Good luck with the publication!

  • http://lovingfromtheinsideout.blogspot.com Connie

    Hi again. :) It was through a tweet from Preston Yancey that I discovered your blog. I will always be grateful–I love this concept! So needed. I haven’t read very many of the posts yet (but that will change!), but I already know I love it enough to add it to my favorite Christianity-related blogs roll on my own blog. (The blog linked to on my name is about issues of appearance and acceptance; my personal blog I’m referring to here is http://aroadlesstraveledblog.blogspot.com.)

    Before reading this page I’d already realized we have much in common–evangelical upbringing, living or having lived in the Twin Cities (I grew up there, now live in Ohio)–but now I see that also we’ve both been or are technical writers. I did that for about 12 years. Say…I come back to MN every year at Christmas time (at least), and if you’re open to it, I’d love to meet you sometime!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for this kind note Connie. So glad that you can relate! And yes, I love meeting people who connect with the blog. Keep me posted when you’re in town!

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  • Jess

    Hi Addie! It was so good to see you at church today! I don’t like that its so rush and go and barely enough time to say hi. I just got lost in your blog. Your posts resonate with some of my familiar mommy days:) Thanks for writing and hope to see you (and be able to really chat!) soon!

    Jess S.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Jess! (Yes, leaving church with little ones makes things crazy.) Thanks so much for the kind note and for reading! (I agree. Let’s catch up soon!)

  • Annie

    I’m not a religious person & never will be, but something about your faith, your love, your enthusiasm, is nothing short of inspiring. Keep at it girl.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      This comment made my day Annie. Thanks for reading and for the kind words.

  • Tim Smith

    Jesus Freak was my jam, yo! So much so that although I normally don’t, I feel compelled to dangle that participle two times, yo. I literally (and I actually mean literally, literally, not colloquially) made a cassette tape with Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay’s ‘Flood’ repeated over and over, both sides. “I saw a man with a tat on his big fat belly…”

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Love it!

  • Ingrid

    A friend of mine on Facebook shared your blog and I cannot wait to read your book. I didn’t marry young, but I can relate to your blog and what your book is about, even though I am 42 and have been married (for the second time) for 12 years with 2 kids. After having being divorced at 28, I learned a lot about myself and what God wants for us, by seeing a Christian counselor. I grew up in church, backslid in my twenties. I became closer to God during my divorce and more recently. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Ingrid!

  • http://www.bethgray.norwex.biz/ Beth Gray

    So excited to read your book. As a now ’40’ year old who lived much of what you are talking about… I ended up finding a new peace and language to my faith at ‘of all places’ Seminary! :) I have also enjoyed learning about the Stages of Faith with Fowler which has helped bring ‘language’ to the changes we face in our faith and then of course great concepts that come out of books like Nature and Human Soul by Bill Plotkin and others by Richard Rohr, etc who bring meaning to the ‘faith journey’ in a much more fluid language… so excited to read about the journey you experienced and continue to experience… connecting to God, to the community around you and to the environment you live in… blessings!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Beth! Yes, just starting to learn about the Stages of Faith. So interesting! Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.life-edited.com/ Amanda Williams

    I would never say a word about All The Yelling, mostly because I wouldn’t be able to hear it over All of Our Own Yelling.

    • Jennifer Sasse

      Ditto sister! :)

  • Doug Clark

    Thanks Addie for your blog on SYATP. I appreciate your perspective!

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Not only do I still know the words to Jesus Freak, I still listen to the album every now and again… :)

  • Philip Yancey

    Splendid column in Her-meneutics, Addie. You’re a wonderful writer. And I’m impressed with Convergent’s lineup!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Philip. Honored that you took the time to stop by!

  • Lindsay

    Just discovered your book and as a twenty year old going through her own christian burn-out, “it’s-not-so-black-and-white,” “faith crisis” of a time, reading your blog (and starting your memoir) has been a breath of fresh air. I needed to know that what I’m feeling is okay. It’s so scary. Thank you!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I’m so glad that this has found you at the right time. I hope it makes you feel a little less alone! Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://sharonrawlette.wordpress.com/ Sharon Rawlette

    Books like yours are so important. Congratulations on your publication and on all the great reviews!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Sharon.

  • Wendy

    I just devoured your book in two days of my Christmas vacation. I can’t stop thinking about it. We are similar in so many ways, as I’m sure you are hearing over and over from girls who grew up in the 80s in the evangelical arena. I feel freer knowing of your journey. Thanks for writing.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for reading the book and for these kind words Wendy. They mean so much to me!

  • Sarah

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever written on an author’s blog before. I devoured you book and I thank you for being brave and courageous enough to share your story with the world. It was a balm to my weary cynic Christian soul. I lived a few miles from you during your college days but our paths never crossed. :)

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Sarah. I’m so glad that the book resonated with you. Sad that our paths never crossed when we were neighbors!

  • http://KelseyMunger.com/ Kelsey Munger

    Addie, I just stumbled across your blog via Preston Yancey’s comment section. I’m looking forward to poking around more; enjoying your writing style. :)

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I love that you found your way here from Preston’s blog (and my moaning about the sad state of Book 2!). Thanks so much for checking out the blog and for the kind words. They mean a lot!

  • Teto123

    just a Question Mrs. Zierman, does your husband also share you fatih

  • Mary Swan-Bell

    I just finished your book–in a day–and it was amazing! I grew up in the Catholic church, which was crazy enough. My family and I go to a more progressive church now, but a lot of the Church People grew up in evangelical churches. Your unique perspective really allowed me to view them and myself in a different and more accepting way. I hope that more Church People will look at their faith, at God, and at others in a fresh new way. Just an aside, I had a boyfriend like “Chris” too and married a man who is more like your “Andrew.” I can tell you from the lofty heights of almost 41, it just keeps getting better. God bless you and your beautiful family!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      This makes me so happy Mary. Thanks for taking the time to tell me this! It made my morning!

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  • Natalie Khan

    I’ve just finished your memoir! I loved it! As a woman married at 21 and raised by the Baptist church, I related so much to your words! Thanks!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Natalie! Glad it was relatable (and funny enough to make you LOL. :))

  • Natalie Khan

    P.S., I laughed out loud at least a dozen times! Your writing is so illustrative!

  • Ryan

    Addie, you should give this a listen

  • April Thompson

    I just finished “when we were on fire” and I enjoyed this book sooo much. I felt like this could have been my story except I would never have been able to make it so interesting;) for me it wasn’t a missionary boy it was a “ministry” one. I married my youth pastor who was so much like Chris , but progressively got so much worse (which tends to happen when you ignore warning signs because you feel so determined that something is Gods best for you despite all evidence to the contrary), anyway we’re divorced now (after finding out he was cheating) and I am so glad for the patient love of Christ. I really related to Addie’s words near the end that she never really stopped believing and that is exactly what I tell people. But in the years I was married to my ex I felt likeGod had tricked me , like I had done all the things I was supposed to do, like marry a “ministry boy” and dedicate my life to ministry and serving others but somewhow I ended up in the emotionally and physically abusive relationship and it left such deep wounds- only the patient love of Christ and my friends is credited for me being able to be a part of “church people” at this point.

    P.s. I never went on a teen mania mission trip, I Almost almost did but I went with youth for Christ instead because teen mania scared me even at 17;)

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for the kind words about the book, April, and for sharing a bit of your story here. So glad that love brought you through in such an amazing way. All the grace.

  • Amber

    Your book has given a voice to my feelings. You have given words to my thoughts – something tangible to finally make sense of all I have thought, felt, understood all these years. I have been so confused, blinded, hurt and felt trapped in all of it not being able to understand why I feel the way I do, but you speak truth in a way that brings freedom to the soul. Thank you.

  • Amy Reed

    i just found your blog yesterday through the 15 signs you grew up fundamental. i, too, couldn’t go without diet coke, have two sons 5 and 8 (sadly no third since MDD has taken what’s left of me). i have been looking for something like this blog. thank you!

  • Kate Alexis

    Found your blog today. Feel very much love for you and I’ve only read your most recent post. I’m truly in stage 4 and I never knew how to identify/define it … until now. Can’t wait to read more! .