A lifelong Christian and seeker, Robert Benson has shared the prayers, rituals, conversations, and practices of many different denominations. His broad range of ecumenical experiences have led to moments of great joy and deep fellowship, but they have also opened his eyes to the misunderstanding and the intolerance that constantly threaten to dismember the whole Body of Christ. The Body Broken is an honest and moving meditation on the Gospel imperative to love one another as brothers and sisters, even as we choose to live and express our faith in differing ways.
Benson writes longingly about the things of the faith that bind us together and gracefully about the things that keep us apart. He recounts his own journey from Nazarene to Methodist to Episcopalian and introduces us to the people and the differing expressions of faith he encountered along the way. We meet ordinary folk, including Benson's family and childhood friends, as well as legendary religious thinkers as Henri Nouwen. Some of the stories--particularly the ones about his own brother's suicide--are heartbreakingly painful; others bring to light the joy and grace of Christian love as found in acts of common worship and compassion. Although Benson acknowledges that there are--and always will be--very real differences in the ways that Christians seek to live out their faith, he reminds us of the essential beliefs that we share about God and our common dependency on God's mysterious mercy and grace, even as we look for God as through a glass darkly.
In poetic prose that is reminiscent of the writing of Frederick Buechner and Annie Dillard, Benson illuminates, with wit and wisdom and humility and passion, one of the most difficult challenges that face the Church. The Body Broken is a powerful, important examination of the intolerance and divisiveness that have become an all too familiar part of the Church and a gentle, poignant call for a Christian community that embraces a spirit of love and unity even as it honors our differences.
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|Title of Religion eBook: The Body Broken|
|Release Date: 09-16-2003|
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The Body Broken
LOOKING AT THE MYSTERY
You are no longer aliens in a foreign land,
but fellow citizens with God's people,
members of God's own household.
You are being built with all the rest
into a spiritual dwelling for God.
O God, creator and preserver of all,
we pray especially for thy holy Church:
that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit,
that all who profess themselves Christians
may be led into the way of truth,
and hold the faith in unity of spirit,
in the bonds of peace, and in righteousness of life.
And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
-The Book of Common Prayer
One of our neighbors is, by her own description, an old widow woman. Miss Dessie is in her seventies, and she lives next door and she works nights as a maintenance worker in the pediatric ward of one of the hospitals in the city. One of us-my wife, my son, my daughter, or myself-will see her most every day, and we try to be a good enough neighbor to her so she will continue to say what she has said about us a time or two: that "The Lord done sent y'all to me." Which is the sort of thing that she says after we do something like deliver her spare key when she locks herself out, or water her monkey grass when we are watering ours, or mow her lawn when we have our mower out. It is not much for us to do, I admit, but she likes it when we do those things. We are becoming more and more convinced that God sent Miss Dessie to us, if the truth be told.
Because she has to be at the hospital in time for the graveyard shift, she leaves her ho