Out of the Ashes

Constructive Theology
For Those Burned Out on Christianity

by Kenneth W. Arthur

Out of the Ashes Cover

We should not let the failings of the church keep us from seeking deeper meaning in our journey through this life, whether it be Christianity or some other path of spiritual discovery. For those interested or grounded in Christianity, it's important to know that there is not just one Christian perspective. This book seeks to help readers open themselves to some of the alternatives to the fundamentalist and often oppressive Christianity that is too often assumed to represent all followers of Christ. We don't need to just accept what a sensationalist media or our traditional patriarchal institutions dictate to us. There is room for new learning and new understandings. We don't need to reject everything that has been handed down to us either. In the end we may find much wisdom in what we've been taught or rediscover important teachings that have been tossed to the sidelines of our faith. -- from the Preface


Praise for Out of the Ashes:

The phoenix is a bird that rises out of its ashes to a new life. The congregation Ken serves is Phoenix Community Church, United Church of Christ, a gathering of people who too often have suffered in other churches and now claim a new life together. Ken grew up in a more fundamentalist congregation to find the freedom offered by a new and more liberating expression of the Christian faith, from the hierarchy of kingdom to the collegiality of kin-dom. Ken's background in computer science shows through in the thoroughness of his exploration and exhortation. His journey led him to Master's degrees in computer science and in theology prior to earning his M.Div. His life has truly been a pilgrimage, a search for meaning and purpose that includes belief and behavior as well as belonging. As he describes his text, it is "for those burned out on traditional Christianity." Each chapter concludes with discussion questions that invite the reader to join in the search and make the book a perfect resource for group conversation. We are all in search of a genuine faith and we have all been burned at some time. There is a phoenix in each of us, waiting to arise!

Dr. David Moffett-Moore
Pastor, Portage United Church of Christ
Author of Creation in Contemporary Experrience

In Out of the Ashes, Kenneth Arthur challenges his Christian readers to be open to questions about the Christian faith and how that faith has traditionally conceptualized God as "the given God" and the "Santa-for-adults God" and invites us to imagine love as the Divine Presence that pulls us to wholeness and one-ness with the Divine. Arthur does not ground his understanding of the Divine Presence in speculative theology, however; but in the incarnation of Jesus, which continues in the incarnation of the body of Christ. Moreover, Arthur is not simply dealing in theoretical concepts; he successfully intersperses his theological argument with real ministry experiences, particularly in the way the church he serves as pastor has implemented these ideas. The book is theologically rich, ministerially practical, and is a unique contribution to the continuing discussion regarding progressive Christianity. Individuals and groups interested in the progressive Christian movement should read this book.

C. Drew Smith
Author of Reframing a Relevant Faith

Bishop John Spong opened the door that invites people alienated from the church to take a fresh look at how Christianity can, again, become a vital part of human experience. Ken Arthur has walked through that door - even blown it wide open - and provides a reinvigorating restatement of the Christian experience that is both compelling and winsome. He offers fresh insights for now tired and unfulfilling notions of faith, not by redefining them, but reframing the biblical story in such a way that new understandings freely emerge. But it's not only for seekers: If you are presently on this path, your spirit will be strengthened and your horizons of the possible widened.

Rev. Steven Kindle
Author of If Your Child is Gay, I'm Right and You're Wrong: Why We Disagree about the Bible and What to Do about It

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Rev. Kenneth W. Arthur is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and has been pastor of Phoenix Community Church UCC since February of 2010. Ken has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Kalamazoo College, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies and a Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. Leisure-time hobbies include reading (especially science fiction and fantasy), writing, golf, and following Detroit Tigers baseball.