Quotes for Breakfast: Recovering Christians

Quote of the day is from The Emerging Christian Way (2006), a compilation of progressive Christian theologians and authors.  I found one that screamed HX to me.

Recovering Christians outnumber practicing Christians in the world today.

Matthew Fox, "A Postdenominational Priest in a Postdenominational Era" found in The Emerging Christian Way, 114.
There walk among us persons whom the form of Christianity they have received is broken, unable to support the reality in which they find themselves.   The old images and orthodox theologies don't speak to them.  Detractors may say "there's more Christians today than ever before" but are they practicing?  And by practice, I don't mean going through the motions and actions, but actually integrating discipleship to Christ into their daily life and putting their whole trust in his grace?

It is to these people who attend Church every sunday, who do good works for the poor, but find their intellectual and spiritual appropriation of the Good News to be stunted and unwieldy that HX is good for. We talk about different off-kilter ways of seeing the Good News that may be helpful. 

Why not invite a friend, one of those recovering Christians, to read us today?


johnmeunier August 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM  

I'm curious what you think of that word "recovering" in Fox's quote. I gather he is trying to play off of ideas about alcohl and drug recovery.

There are lots of other words that have been used historically - fall away, apostate, back sliding. Fox's word choice is an interesting contract to these, which suggest moving away from Christianity is a bad thing. Reovery suggests a positive movement away from a dangerous and life destroying habit.

Rev. Jeremy Smith August 23, 2008 at 12:31 PM  

John, thanks for the comment! "Recovering" is certainly a comment that seems to be negative to the present Church, and to be clear, I think Fox means it as a negative.

Fox is using it in a specific application that I drew out of context. He is talking in the compilation book about Anti-Semitism and Imperialism.
- Fox writes that in the history and Gospels prior to 312ce, the anti-semitism is like a wounded child saying to its parent "I don't love you anymore." (referencing Rosemary Radford Ruether's work Faith and Fratricide)
- After 312ce, the Imperialism of the Constantinian Church (and extended to today's moral-empire building of the Christian Right) has wounded more people than it has healed.

So Fox means that those who have been wounded by the church by its history now outnumber those who are happily inside the church. Just to be clear.

Rev. Jeremy Smith August 23, 2008 at 2:33 PM  

Hello Cynthia and welcome! HX = Hacking Christianity. I usually link it to make it clear; thanks for reminding me to facilitate visitors better!

carolynsinger August 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM  

Let's not forget the wounded Christians who have not abandoned the church! They often drift from church to church, sitting silently in pews, and then slinking out after service. Sometimes they are involved in our committees and projects, taking out their pain on their fellow church members or their pastors. Christians don't realize yet that abuse they experience in their church families requires just as much theraputic attention as that experienced within blood families.

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