By The Waters of Babylon: A Collection of Doubter’s Devotions
by Crystal St. Marie Lewis
Over the past decade or so, I’ve had countless conversations with people about what it means to be a Christian in exile — or a nontraditional Christian whose spiritual needs cannot be met by the traditional church. I’ve listened, laughed and even cried with several people as they’ve accepted their own spiritual truths — truths which helped them to realize that they must walk away from certain elements of the faith. Many have left in response to doctrinal misgivings, while others have bid church farewell because they no longer felt connected to organized religion. A number of others were simply unable to find congregations in their neighborhood that fed their souls. In every case, the exiting Jesus-follower shared that they simply don’t feel at home on the pew anymore.
As these conversations have unfolded, and as my experiences of organized religion, doctrine and Christianity became increasingly aligned with the exiled, I have processed my own hurt, frustration, confusion, hopes, dreams, and other very delicate emotions in the only way that I’ve known how: through writing.
I had written more than 200 articles, personal diaries and sermons about the importance and usefulness of liberal Christian scholarship, leaving fundamentalism, and embracing a more open Christian message before fully comprehending the sheer volume of the content I’d produced. I realized that through several years of writing and interacting with my audience, I had transcended the experience of being alone and misunderstood. The number of thankful emails I’d received from readers, and the number of tearful embraces that I’d been rewarded with after my sermons, helped me to see that the world needs this encouragement. Christians in exile are not merely a throw-away tribe of disaffected former believers; rather, they’re people who still want to be affirmed and nurtured — they want to connect with a faith experience that is challenging, nourishing, meaningful and inspiring.
In my book titled By the Waters of Babylon: A Collection of Doubter’s Devotions, I’ve collected 25 of my most well-received sermons, articles and reflections with hopes of challenging and inspiring many more people, starting more conversations, and comforting more of God’s misunderstood wanderers. These 25 selections are about overcoming one’s sense of being wholly separated from the church in order to find union with faith, grace, and the God who is guiding us all. The group of writings in this book is collectively about leaving the masses in order to follow Jesus, and finding direction, light and spiritual affirmation every step of the way.
If you enjoy what you’re reading on this blog, please consider buying a copy of my book on Amazon, or ordering an autographed copy directly from me by sending a request via email. (I am also able to provide discounts on purchases of five books or more when you buy these books directly from me. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information about bulk orders. Every book in a group order will be autographed.)
Thank you for reading this blog, and for buying my book if you should choose to do so.