My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Review: Letters to Exodus Christians

Letters to Exodus Christians Letters to Exodus Christians by Edward Hays
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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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.