an opti-mystic friend of Jesus in a post-conventional world
Pete Rollins has a new website up and running, courtesy the way-cool-I-hope-to-work-with-them-sometime folks at Paraclete Press.
I’m looking forward to The Fidelity of Betrayal, Pete!
Gareth, when are you gonna get a redesigned site?🙂
Paraclete Press is an arm of the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod. I was a religious brother there for seven years. My father was a pastor at the Community.
During that time, I saw a great deal of emotional and physical abuse. I finally left, having been convinced by my experience that what began well had turned into a destructive, authoritative cult. Since then, I’ve stayed in close touch with other ex-members and the allegations of abuse seem to have become even worse.
The Community has a wonderful public face. They have a world-class choir (Gloriae Dei Cantores), a fine band (Spirit of America) and, of course, Paraclete Press.
I wrote to Peter about my concerns and was greatly heartened that he took them seriously. As someone who finds the Emerging Church movement very exciting, I would hate to see leaders in the movement be deceived.
I do business with Paraclete Press as a retailer. I know several authors who write for them and several of their employees. I really don’t know that much about the Community of Jesus, just like I don’t know that much about the owners of most of the other publishers I do business with. I do know that most if not all faith communities experience brokenness and sin (hey, I’m a Roman Catholic, remember!), so it does not surprise me that some people have had bad experiences with that community. Obviously, to the extent that this community is dysfunctional, I hope and pray that accountability, repentance and reconciliation will win out over continued abuse and misconduct.
Hal Helms seems to be suggesting that we shouldn’t do business with Paraclete because of its ties to the Community of Jesus. While I respect Mr. Helm’s opinion, I also know that the line separating “cult” from “messy imperfect community trying to do the best it can and sometimes failing spectacularly” is very blurry indeed. Like Peter Rollins, I’m willing to take Helm’s allegations seriously, while also choosing to reserve judgment until I had more comprehensive information, both pro and con, on which to base my opinion. After all, if I stopped doing business with every publisher which had controversial owners, I’d probably have a pretty empty bookstore.
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