Call for Papers: From Fear to Faith (Energion, 2013)

People who move out of deep-seated fundamentalism, of any stripe of Christianity, often have deep anguish. They more often meet a personal crisis of some sort which leads them to break with all that they were. Perhaps it is intellectual or even spiritual or perhaps they were met with a sudden choice of morality. They have hit a wall, or perhaps suffered the humpty-dumpty affect, and lay shattered waiting for the King to put them back together again. The black and white world  they formerly inhabited has been flooded and destroyed with doubt. How do they survive, or rather, do they survive? Some go the route back to fundamentalism, that is to say, to a militant atheism. As much as their world was defined by believing in a ‘literal’ interpretation of Scripture, their new world is defined by disbelieving in a ‘literal’ interpretation of Scripture. But, what about those who make it? What about those who continue to believe and more, grow in faith? Those who, even if all the pieces no longer fit like they are supposed to, get put back together again?

This book will be a collection of essays of personal stories from those who have otherwise changed their anchor in fear of fundamentalism. They are now seeking a path which entertains the notion of doubt. We are seeking stories of this crisis and how believers made it through. Specifically, most essays will involve some of these points:

  • Personal Christian history. Where did you come from? Did you choose to be apart of that group or were you raised in it?
  • The Crisis. Please avoid demonization. If you feel you must, change the names where appropriate. Please feel free to be as deeply personal as you feel you must to accurately tell the story.
  • What brought you through?
  • Lingering effects? How are you doing today? Was it a smooth transition? What might you do differently or suggest others do differently? If you are married, how did your spouse react?
  • Where did you land? Will you stay there?

You can include some discussion on theology.

  • What were your theological changes?
  • How did you arrive to those changes?

Specifically, we are looking for an essay, as well, that deals with the “slippery slope” argument. This essay can deal with the above mentioned issues, but should be devoted somewhat to debunking the slippery slope argument.

Other special essays include,

  • One from someone who didn’t make the transition well
  • One from a pastor who has engaged with those making the transition. What advice can he or she give?
  • One from the perspective of a Christian counselor

Abstracts should be between 200 and 300 words and include a short biography. There are no academic qualifications needed for the main group of essays. Final papers are expected to be between 3000 and 8000 words.

All abstracts should be received by 30 June. You will be notified no later than 5 July of your acceptance. We reserve the right to give tentative acceptance beforehand. All acceptances will be considered tentative until the final essay is accepted. The deadline for final paper submissions will be 30 September. The publisher will receive the completed work by 31 October.

You may email your abstracts to:

j w at t s (at ) united (dot ) edu

Or, leave a comment here and I will email you.

Post By Joel Watts (10,052 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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13 thoughts on Call for Papers: From Fear to Faith (Energion, 2013)

    • Generally, yes, but there can simply be a challenge. Submit the abstract and we’ll look at it.

  1. Hi Joel. I love the concept of this book. I’m just confirming that you want the short bio in the word count of the abstract?

  2. “What about those who continue to believe and more, grow in faith?”

    I think such people grow calmer and more mature. I’m not sure I’d say they “grow in faith.” Different Christians have different definitions of “growing in faith.”

    Also, I edited a book called, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists in which one third of the contributors remained Christians after leaving fundamentalistic views of Christianity behind. Their Christianity became one of a more moderate/liberal persuasion. Some prominent names are includes. So feel free to peruse those testimonies if you want some ideas, or if you wish to list those folks in an appendix.

    Have you heard of Philip Yancey’s book, Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/september3/6.66.html

    Yancey survived a fundamentalist boyhood and fundamentalist schooling. His book explains how he did so. By the way I heard him speak at Furman and spoke with him afterwards and we exchanged books. He wrote me a nice note about how much he enjoyed my book, Leaving the Fold. Though neither of us was moved by the other’s work to leave where we are each at right now.

    And check out . . .

    When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys by Darren J. N. Middleton

    Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans. Check out her blog as well.

    Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism) by Frank Schaeffer (son of the Evangelical apologist, Francis Schaeffer)

    My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood by Christine Rosen (as heard on a PBS interview)

    Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner. And check out his blog.

    Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Isaacs

    Florence Nightingale: The Making of a Radical Theologian by Val Webb

    Healing Eve: The Woman’s Journey from Religious Fundamentalism to Spiritual Freedom by Jimmy Laura Smull

    Stories of a Recovering Fundamentalist: Understanding and Responding to Christian Absolutism by James C. Alexander, Well written though self-published. Worth a peek inside!

    Finding Faith, Losing Faith: Stories of Conversion and Apostasy by Scot McKnight [Christian author]

    Outcasts and Heretics: Profiles in Independent Thought and Courage by Donald K. Sharpes

    Leaving Fundamentalism: Personal Stories (Life Writing), G. Elijah Dann (Editor),

    Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief & Unbelief​ by Ruth Tucker [Christian author]

    Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass [Harper One]

    Also saw this work that looked interesting: Godless for God’s Sake – Nontheism in Contemporary Quakerism by David Boulton Reminded me of Bonhoeffer’s “religionless Christianity” mentioned in his final letters.

    And here’s a list of books about getting people to return to the fold, especially children:

    Testimonies-XnKidsLosing/RegainingFaith
    Permalink: http://amzn.com/w/X2Y3A95366W5

    There’s lots of additional lists on the left hand side of the above page, just scroll down to “Testimonies,” and check them out.

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