The book is soon to print… but I wanted to share the endorsements, all of which make me immensely humble.
From Fear to Faith is a memoir of a spiritual and intellectual journey from fear and shame to a renewed embrace of Scripture and the God behind it. Watts and Milam have collected compelling stories from a number of fellow travelers who model this journey. They give voice to a growing phenomenon in conservative Christian culture of disenchantment with conventional and apologetically driven answers to difficult and pressing questions posed by Scripture, modern culture, and the intersection of the two. The stories in this volume will be an encouragement to those struggling with their own transition from familiar yet dissonant surroundings to unexplored but inviting spiritual and intellectual territory. The broader vision of the volume is a call to build cultures of trust, where Christians can feel that they will be honored and valued for taking the risk to ask honest questions rather than being dismissed, marginalized, or ostracized. Too many are growing dissatisfied with the status quo, and are looking for language to move on. This volume will help them on their way.
– Peter Enns, Ph.D, Biblical Studies, Eastern University
This book offers many variant forms of the story of discovering the force of the Gospel that lies behind the illusions and distortions of fundamentalism. The authors witness to an emancipation when the old, phony “protections” are abandoned. Coming to such an awareness cannot be hurried or coerced, but it is an urgent enterprise. As one author concludes, “I needed to grow up.”
– Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
Many strange things are said and done in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Many of them are alien to the Christian gospel, even though they are done in the gospel’s name. Many of them are toxic, destructive both of persons and societies. They march under the banner of Christian fundamentalism.
This interesting and important book is the chronicle of spiritual journeys that persons have taken from the prisons of fundamentalism to the world of catholic (small c), ecumenical churches. For these persons, it has been a journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.
The persons whose stories this book tells, are now living in what they believe to be mature communities of faith, where they are growing spiritually and finding the vocations to which they believe God is calling them. Several of them have been called to the formal ministries of their churches and have been ordained. Others have found joy and peace living out their discipleship as lay persons. This important book is their story.
– William Boyd Grove, Bishop (retired), The United Methodist Church
Every once in a while, you are gifted with a growing realization that the book you are reading has needed to be written for a very long time. From Fear to Faith is a book like that. In the vulnerable, sometimes excruciating details of a journey into post-fundamentalist faith, we the readers are invited to feel the depth, integrity, and passions given to some of us whose paths began in places we could never have imagined, if they hadn’t been willing to offer them for us, without judgment, blame, or condemnation. Whether beginning in inherited, sectarian beliefs or an avowed atheism of humane reaction, these authors demonstrate the depth of their own inner work so that all who are willing can hold the fears together, in peace. Authors and readers alike may see the way to move through fear into faith with clarity and compassion, toward a better world for us all. We have needed this book for a very long time.
– Lisa M. Hess, PhD, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Contextual Ministries, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH
These essays revive the ancient tradition of testimony – but in a surprising and compelling direction. The authors recount their journeys from intellectually and spiritually restrictive expressions of Christianity to a vibrant and satisfying faith. Readers will grieve the authors’ painful moments and celebrate their joy. The stories testify that we need not fear doubt, for doubt often opens the path to joy and fulfillment.
– Greg Carey, PhD, Professor of New Testament Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA