My rating: 5 of 5 stars
We know them as the unchurched … the "nones" and "dones” who have deconstructed their faith to exclude the institutional church and it is an accelerating trend. This book is all about ministering to those “lost sheep” without first requiring them to come “home.” It is something which I have thought about a lot now that I am in my third year of formation to be ordained as a deacon … so when I found this book on the table at the Museum of Family Prayer while on retreat in Easton MA, I was initially intrigued.
Like St Paul, Fr Hays (a retired priest) organized the book into letters to cohorts struggling with specific issues of faith and deals with them in an amazingly loving and non-judgmental way … first by very deliberately referring to them as “Exodus Christians.” In other words, they are in the wilderness where the Spirit of God works to polish their faith and beliefs. In fact, I was completely surprised on how I personally connected to each letter (probably not too surprising given his passing reference to his mother’s conversion from the Disciple of Christ … which is also the tradition where I was raised).
Letter to Beverly, Whose Son Is a Gay Exodus Christian: “As a parent you are a living image, a sacrament of God’s paternal loving care."
Letter to the Faithful of Lake Street House, Who Gather in Friendship, Reflection on Scripture, and Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper: “One of the dangers of small household communities is that they can easily become gatherings of the like-minded instead of those, who as Paul said, ’take on the mind of Christ,’"
Letter to Joseph, Tempted to Become as Exodus Christian: “Each time you enter church, you unconsciously bring with you the deep rich experiences of intimacy from your morning’s meditation prayer, and this power of your prayer engird radiates out from you far beyond where you can imagine."
1. Letters to Individual Exodus Christians
2. Letters to the Christian Churches of the Exodus
3. Letters to Christians Questioning Their Faith Attendance *
4. Letters to the Appointed Members of the Priesthood of the Baptized
5. The Apostolic Exodus Letters
6. A Closing Letter
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