Why Can't Church Be More Like an AA Meeting?: And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery
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Why Can't Church Be More Like an AA Meeting?: And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery  -     By: Stephen R. Haynes

Why Can't Church Be More Like an AA Meeting?: And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2021 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW878854

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Product Description

Do Christians need recovery? Or is recovery something needed by the church itself?

Addiction--whether to a substance or to a behavior is a problem within faith communities, just like it is everywhere else. But because churches are rarely experienced as safe places for dealing with addiction, co-addiction, or the legacy of family dysfunction, Christians tend to seek recovery from these conditions in Twelve-Step fellowships. Once they become accustomed to the ethos of vulnerability, acceptance, and healing that these fellowships provide, however, they are often left feeling that the church has failed them, with many asking: why can't church be more like an AA meeting?

Inspired by his own quest to find in church the sort of mutual support and healing he discovered in Twelve-Step fellowships, Stephen Haynes explores the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and its relationship to American Christianity. He shows that, while AA eventually separated from the Christian parachurch movement out of which it emerged, it retained aspects of Christian experience that the church itself has largely lost: comfort with brokenness and vulnerability, an emphasis on honesty and transparency, and suspicion toward claims to piety and respectability. Haynes encourages Christians to reclaim these distinctive elements of the Twelve-Step movement in the process of "recovering church." He argues that this process must begin with he calls "Step 0," which, as he knows from personal experience, can be the hardest step: the admission that, despite appearances, we are not fine.

Product Information

Title: Why Can't Church Be More Like an AA Meeting?: And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery
By: Stephen R. Haynes
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2021
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
Weight: 12 ounces
ISBN: 0802878857
ISBN-13: 9780802878854
Stock No: WW878854

Author Bio


Stephen R. Haynes is professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, adjunct professor of recovery ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, and theologian-in-residence at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. A contributor to The Christian Century and HuffPost, he is the author of several books, including The Battle for Bonhoeffer: Debating Discipleship in the Age of Trump and The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation.

Editorial Reviews

"If you’ve attended a Twelve-Step recovery meeting, you’ve likely come to a simple conclusion: If church were more like this, no one would ever leave. In this book, Stephen Haynes highlights the hallmarks of programs like AA—the nonjudgmental curiosity, unmitigated acceptance, and unfailing support of the members—and casts a new vision for the church, one that sees brokenness as the first step in a miraculous healing journey. This book is a must for every pastor, priest, deacon, or lay leader. Do not pick it up lightly."
— Seth Haines
author of The Book of Waking Up: Experiencing the Divine Love That Reorders a Life

"Stephen Haynes’s book is both an introduction to Twelve-Step culture and to the influence that Twelve-Step wisdom has had on Christian communities, including recovery programs, recovery ministries, self-help groups, and even recovery churches. For those Christians who are curious or suspicious about the Twelve-Step model, this book offers a balanced introduction to Twelve-Step recovery, including the Christian influence behind Alcoholics Anonymous and the many ways contemporary Christian groups have critiqued, adapted, or embraced Twelve-Step recovery. Haynes also reviews theologies of addiction, providing a primer for students to develop their own theologies of addiction and recovery. Informed and thoughtful, Haynes views the whole landscape of Twelve-Step and Christian recovery but also challenges Christians to consider how we might reclaim the humility, honesty, and mutual caring that rests at the center of the Twelve-Step culture."
— Sonia E. Waters
associate professor of pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary
author of Addiction and Pastoral Care

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