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Religious Refugees: (De)Constructing Toward Spiritual and Emotional Healing by [Mark Gregory Karris]
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Religious Refugees: (De)Constructing Toward Spiritual and Emotional Healing Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mark Karris's Religious Refugees is a compelling guidebook for religious refugees seeking the wisdom and tools to move beyond unhealthy views of God and walk this sacred path toward spiritual and emotional maturity." - Pete Enns, Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and the author of How the Bible Actually Works, The Sin of Certainty, and The Bible Tells Me So.

"With refreshing honestly, unconventional insight and tender grace, Mark helps struggling and former Christians discern a path forward to a more wholistic, fulfilling, and compelling kind of faith in Christ.  How I wish I'd had a guide like Religious Refugees when I went through my painful faith crisis as a young person!  If you or someone you care about is facing a faith crisis, this is the book you're looking for!" - Dr. Greg Boyd, Senior Pastor, Woodland Hills Church (Maplewood Minnesota), author of Inspired Imperfection: How The Bible's Problems Enhance Its Divine Authority (Fortress).

"What I love about Religious Refugees is the balanced approached Mark Karris takes toward spiritual recovery by respecting both domains of theology and psychology. Well-studied in each field, Karris professionally and compassionately helps readers make peace with their faith without losing their minds or sacrificing dignity. Whether you're nurturing your own religious journey or guiding someone who is, this book is a must-read!" - Jennifer Knapp, singer/songwriter, author of Facing the Music

"Austrian theologian Frederick von Hugel (1852-1925) compared the church as an organization to the bark on a tree. Bark is dead wood, but it protects the dynamic life surging within the tree from disease, dehydration, death. Mark Karris has gifted all of us with a valuable resource on how to deal with the crusty bark while tapping into the sap and living off the fruit of the tree." - Leonard Sweet, best-selling author ("Rings of Fire") and distinguished professor at Drew University, Tabor College, George Fox University, and Evangelical Seminary

"If you're in the middle of what Mark Karris calls the D/R Process (deconstruction and reconstruction of your faith), you absolutely need Mark's new book. With the wisdom of a philosopher, the skill of a counselor, the tenderness of a gentle parent, and the accessibility of an old friend, Mark meets you where you are, walks with you, and points to a beautiful way forward, what he (and Mother Teresa) call "the simple path." This is a powerfully helpful book and needed now more than ever!" - Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

"In my work as a spiritual director and friend to people experiencing a painful faith deconstruction, I am always grateful for material that helps give language and hope for the messy and beautiful road to greater freedom in our faith. Mark Karris is right--the numbers are legion--and so many are seeking tools and guides to not just survive but thrive. Religious Refugees will help readers not only find themselves in the story but also offers what so many are seeking--tangible and accessible ways forward." - Kathy Escobar, co-pastor of The Refuge, and author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World and Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

"Mark Karris writes with authority about a subject every person with "Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome" needs-- the deconstruction and reconstruction of faith. Both personally and professionally informed, this book is sure to be a resource for individuals struggling with matters of spiritual health and healing." - Rebecca Riley Moyer, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: One Woman's Desperate, Funny, and Healing Journey to Explore 30 Religions by Her 30th Birthday

"A person could read five different books on the deconstruction and reconstruction process of leaving religion, or they could read, Religious Refugees: (De)Constructing Toward Spiritual and Emotional Healing by Mark Karris. I consider this book an invaluable and comprehensive resource for any person who is in the process of deconstruction and reconstruction." - Jim Palmer, author of Notes from (Over) the Edge, and Inner Anarchy

"The oft-misused term "deconstruction" has become popular among religious refugees to the point of overplay. It's like a second conversion we may not even choose. It's more like a disorientation we undergo--for some liberating and others traumatic (literally). And there's not really a travel guide through the wilderness that follows. Until now. Mark Karris has traversed the D/R journey and in this book, traces an exceptional way forward that combines cutting-edge psychological research, sound theology, and wise practical lessons from his own life experience. Honestly, he had me at "self-compassion is the key." From that point, I knew I could trust him. I will be recommending Karris' incredible work broadly." - Brad Jersak (PhD), author of A More Christlike Way

"Mark Karris has written a wise and powerful book. For all of us who grew up in the church and struggled to save it (and ourselves) from self-inflicted death by a thousand doctrinal cuts, this book washes over the reader like a balm in Gilead.  Take, read, study--and then talk about it in community. Something new is coming.  Mark Karris has seen it, and he wants us to see it to. As a charter member of heretics united, whose name is legion, I say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, well done." - Rev. Robin R. Meyers,  PhD, is retired senior minister of Mayflower UCC in Oklahoma City, Distinguished Professor of Social Justice Emeritus from Oklahoma City University, and author of Saving God from Religion: A Minister's Search for Faith in a Skeptical Age

"If you are interested in truly understanding what is going on with Christianity in America today so that you can build something new for yourself or others, then Religious Refugees is for you. With an eye toward productive, reconstructive actions from the beginning, Mark Karris deftly lays out what is so unsatisfying about modern, institutional religious expressions and how they can be re-imagined and rebuilt." - Josh Packard, co-author of Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith

"If you feel that you are standing on the ground of yesterday's temple feeling forlorn and covered by ash, Mark Karris has written this book for you. In Religious Refugees, Mark provides a map and invaluable practices to aid your journey across the vast religious wasteland to a new and healthy spiritual horizon. This book is as timely as it is useful" - Alexander John Shaia, author of Radical Transformation: The Four-Gospel Journey of Heart and Mind

"This is the book is the best book on the topic of deconstructing and reconstructing one's faith I have ever read! This excellent book will shed light on your path." - J. D. Myers, RedeemingGod.com, author of Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

"A beautiful manifesto of hope for this generation of deconstructed disciples. Thorough, encouraging, and cutting edge, Religious Refugees is precisely what the present generation of ex-vangelical, divinely-inspired dissidents needs. Karris not only offers a helping of solidarity in this incredible work, but also offers hope and a way forward. Get it, read it, and get it into the hands of every faithful questioner you know. I think it is a prophetic masterpiece!" -Jeff Turner, author of The Atheistic Theist: Why There is No God and You Should Follow Him

"Religious Refugees should be required reading for all spiritual directors, therapists, pastors, indeed all who are walking with others in the deeper journey." -Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, spiritual director, teacher, and author of Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God, Together

"Many of us have seen our original foundation for faith in God crumble in the face of reason, experience, science, or personal crises. Mark Karris knows what that's like personally. He also knows reconstruction and transformation is possible after faith has been deconstructed. Using personal experience, scripture, neuroscience, and common sense, Karris blazes a life and God-affirming path for those seeking an authentic life of love." -Thomas Jay Oord, author of The Uncontrolling Love of God and God Can't: How to Believe in God and Love After Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils

"Mark Karris' Religious Refugees does an unbelievable job in bringing the dechurched into a profound understanding and love for the God that Jesus reveals. Mark courageously clears away the religious brush so we can get at the core of Jesus' words and ultimately the heart of God. What a compassionate guide describing the journey to know God more fully and love God more deeply." - James P. Danaher, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Nyack College, and author of Jesus' Copernican Revolution: The Revelation of Divine Mercy

" Karris offers a wise and practical way forward through a compelling integration of psychology and spiritual formation that will undoubtedly instill hope for religious refugees on the journey of reconstruction. Some of the stories in this book will be challenging to hear and some will certainly give you the knowledge you aren't alone. I highly recommend this book!" - Stephanie Williams O'Brien, author of Stay Curious - How Questions and Doubts Can Save Your Faith 

"When leaving authoritarian Christianity, you need three things: a book of sacred depth and compassionate wisdom that describes something close to your experience, a spiritual director who listens without judgment, and a therapist trained in trauma relief. Religious Refugees will be that book for many of you who are "done" with repressive Christianity and the one you will want to take with you to spiritual direction and therapy!" - Rev. Teresa Blythe, Founder of the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction and author of Spiritual Direction 101: The Basics of Spiritual Guidance

"Anyone who has been through spiritual Deconstruction already knows how painful it can be. Thankfully, Mark Karris has written a book that not only explains WHY it hurts, but helps to guide us out of the darkness and into the light of spiritual Reconstruction. We need more books like this one, and more compassionate guides like Mark, to show us the way forward." - Keith Giles, author of Jesus Undefeated

"Many today are on a necessary spiritual journey of deconstruction that leads to the inevitable question: What now? Karris responds to that essential question with wisdom, compassion and vision as he invites those on the journey to keep going, find healing, discover wholeness and move toward the reconstruction of a fresh spirituality worth living." - Michael Hidalgo, Lead Pastor of Denver Community Church, author of Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts and Choices About an Unchanging God

"There is an incredible scarcity of resources for people who are leaving the church, seriously questioning their beliefs, and trying to figure out how to live in the real world. It's for this reason I welcome such helpful books as Mark Karris', "Religious Refugees", into the slowly growing collection of supplies available to this rapidly increasing demographic." - David Hayward, Naked Pastor, Cartoonist, Author, Coach

"The Church is a place of great beauty and healing.  It can also be a place that traumatizes, excludes, and abuses. Mark Karris recognizes the tragic beauty of the church and seeks to bring God's healing touch to those whose faith has been deconstructed and are looking for a credible and healthy way to follow Jesus, a pathway of theological, spiritual, and relational reconstruction. I am grateful for Mark Karris' gentle, yet firm and direct, approach to the church and acceptance and affirmation of those who are seeking new visions of Christianity. Thank you, Mark, for this inspirational and healing text!" - Bruce Epperly, author, or co-author, of over forty books, including The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-filled World

"Mark has written an engaging and helpful book detailing the many stages and frustrations of deconstructing your Christian beliefs amidst disillusionment and offers tentative ways of reconstructing your beliefs by questioning your assumptions about the nature of God and specific Christian doctrines. A welcome contribution." - Paul Matthew Harrison, author of Deconversions: My Journey Through Evangelical Christianity

"This book is incredibly helpful for those who have been hurt or have become alienated from the church. For those who no longer find comfort practicing their faith in traditionally conservative types of churches and find it difficult associating with others in the church due to rejection, this book is extremely valuable. The strong point of the book is helping the dechurched experience the profound reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness of God as revealed through, in, and by Christ. This book is liberating for all Christians, including those who might find some types of deconstruction too radically dismantling of orthodoxy."  - Fr. Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, spiritual director, and author of Spiritual Direction: A Guide for Sharing the Father's Love

In Religious Refugees, Mark Karris, relying on his experience as an ordained minister and licensed therapist, leads us on a journey to understand why people are leaving the church, what deconstruction looks like, and the internal wars that accompany such a journey. Then, with tender care, he helps us establish a "way forward." My only regret about this book is that I didn't have it sooner. Get yours today! - Karl Forehand, podcaster, speaker, and author of Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father's Heart

"As a pastor in a community filled with "religious refugees," I deeply appreciate and see the immense value in the wisdom that Mark Karris has been able to provide in this new book. Karris journeys alongside of the reader as a compassionate guide, seeking to offer the insights and realizations that were birthed from his own experiences of deconstruction and reconstruction. Mark helps you make sense of the grief, confusion, and anger involved in deconstruction and then masterfully integrates theology, psychology, and personal experience to aid others in charting a new path ahead. If you're burnt-out and tired of religion, this book will provide some much-needed replenishment for your soul." - Danny Prada, pastor of Heartway Church

"If you've recently become aware that the God who loves you moves in a more redemptive and mysterious way than your church once told you and you are scared out of your mind for what that means for your journey ahead, then with the utmost care, wisdom, and competence, Mark wrote this book for you. I am excited at how many lives this crucial book will touch!" - Meggie Lee Calvin, bestselling author of I Am My Own Sanctuary: How A Recovering Holy-Roller Found Healing and Power

"Mark Karris' Divine Echoes was great. Religious Refugees is just as good. Scratch that; it may be better! I can't exactly put my finger on why, but I think it's simply because of just how needed a book like this is. With so many people struggling with their faith, deconstructing things to the point where they can't find a semblance of what they once knew because of all the theological rubble, in comes Karris with perhaps the timeliest book I've read in the last five years." - Matthew J. Distefano, author, blogger, podcaster, and musician

"Mark has given us a very vulnerable, authentic and raw description of his deconstruction journey. He also shares his personal reconstruction process as a potential model for others willing to do the hard work of healing their wounding "splinters." In citing diverse research about those leaving church and their stories of trauma, he provides a valuable compendium of information that documents the dimensions of this phenomena. Mark's story will be a light in the 'dark nights' for others on their faith journey. The dechurched need to know they are not alone; they are not failures; they are not without the love of God guiding them on the journey and Mark gifts them with that assurance." - Paul D. Fitzgerald, DMin, Founder of HeartConnexion Seminars and Spiritual Director

"This book promises to be an incredible comfort and resource for those traversing the daunting journey from deconstruction to reconstruction. Mark's competencies in theology and counseling, along with his personal journey, provide a powerful combination in this book. In reading, you will find profound insight, as well as incredible concrete steps to walk this deconstructive/reconstructive path. Well done, Mark! - Ben DeLong, author of There's a God in My Closet: Encountering the Love Who Embraces Our Skeletons

The deconstruction/reconstruction is painful. It's lonely. And there are no pat answers to the questions that haunt us. But there is, thanks to Mark Karris, at least a life-affirming guide-book to give us hope. The authentic spiritual journey that begins with resentment and bitterness, can end in extraordinary grace, fierce compassion, and transformational forgiveness. - Dr. Roger Bretherton, Associate Professor, University of Lincoln (UK), Chair of the British Association of Christians in Psychology

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