"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Conversion Stories

It has become rather common for people, especially in North America, to find themselves--to use Stanley Hauerwas' phrase--"ecclesially homeless." Those who are in that position do not often remain so for long, but instead seek out a new ecclesial home, and not a few of those find their home in Orthodoxy or Catholicism, as I have noted before in reviewing Amy Slagle's excellent book, and in my interview with Mickey Mattox and A.G. Roeber, one of whom became Catholic, the other Orthodox. A recent addition to this genre of "convert" stories was recently published: Robert Plummer et al, eds., Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism (Zondervan, 2012), 256pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Research indicates that on average, Americans change their religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Today, a number of evangelical Christians are converting to Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism. Longtime Evangelicals often fail to understand the attraction of these non-Evangelical Christian traditions. Journeys of Faith examines the movement between these traditions from various angles. Four prominent converts to Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Evangelicalism and Anglicanism describe their new faith traditions and their spiritual journeys into them. Response chapters offer respectful critiques. Contributors include Wilbur Ellsworth (Eastern Orthodoxy), with a response by Craig Blaising; Francis J. Beckwith (Roman Catholicism), with Gregg Allison responding; Chris Castaldo (Evangelicalism) and Brad S. Gregory's Catholic response; and Lyle W. Dorsett (Anglicanism), with a response by Robert A. Peterson. This book will provide readers with first-hand accounts of thoughtful Christians changing religious affiliation or remaining true to the traditions they have always known. Pastors, counselors and students of theology will gain a wealth of insight into current faith migration within the church today.
The first section contains three essays on becoming Orthodox--a pattern followed in subsequent sections on those who become Protestant and Catholic.

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