Recovering Communion in a Violent World

Recovering Communion in a Violent World

by Christopher Grundy
Recovering Communion in a Violent World

Recovering Communion in a Violent World

by Christopher Grundy


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The act of breaking and eating a body in Holy Communion forms us over time. What if that's not such a good thing? Recovering Communion in a Violent World provides an unblinking examination of the ritualized reenactment of the violence done to Jesus in Holy Communion, using insights from the fields of ritual studies and trauma theory. Then, drawing upon recent research in Christian origins, the book raises possibilities for sacramental meal practices that don't ignore the death of Jesus but respond to it differently. Rather than colluding with systems of violence, these alternative practices respond to violence in our world by continuing to collaborate with the persistence and resilience of God, as well as with the realm of God still coming near. The result is a groundbreaking exploration that is both unflinching in its critique and passionate in its argument for the place of renewed Christian meal practices. In an era when world religions have come under greater scrutiny as sources of violence, this book asks readers to look squarely at the reenactment of violence that has come to narrowly define Holy Communion for so long and to imagine that more radical, resistant sacramental meal practices are possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532660344
Publisher: Cascade Books
Publication date: 11/15/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 686,649
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

Christopher Grundy is ordained in the United Church of Christ and serves as Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship and Associate Dean for the Chapel at Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis. He is a coauthor of The Work of the People (2006).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“At the heart of Christian origins is a terrible act of violence, the crucifixion of Jesus. The death of Jesus meant many things to his followers, but the interpretation that took hold and perdured in story and ritual was the ancient myth of redemptive violence. This brave new book dares to ask: was that the right choice? In a world rife with violence, is there another way for followers of Jesus to bear witness to the meaning of his life and death that does not involve the breaking of bodies and the shedding of blood? In this remarkable book, Christopher Grundy offers a bold new vision for Christian ritual life that honors the past, but sets a new course for a future where remembered violence gives way to remembered community, resistance to oppression, and boundless hope.”

—Stephen J. Patterson, Willamette University, author of Beyond the Passion and The Lost Way

“How to celebrate Holy Communion without profiting from the violence done to Jesus? Christopher Grundy’s book brings together deep engagement with recent scholarship on the biblical and historical roots of eucharistic meals, with a profound pastoral and social concern. It will speak powerfully to readers who have stumbled over the misuse of the Eucharist as a symbol of violence, as well as those simply open to finding fresh and engaging possibilities in their celebration of Holy Communion.”

—Andrew McGowan, Yale Divinity School, author of Ancient Christian Worship

“In recent years, I have longed for intelligent discourse about what kind of God is being ‘performed’ by the Eucharist. I just finished Christopher Grundy’s Recovering Communion in a Violent World, and it is masterfully written, urgently needed, and theologically inspiring, and I believe it will be one of a handful of ‘go-to’ books on Eucharist and liturgy in general for decades to come.”

—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

“With this book, Christopher Grundy asks Christians to re-think and change the practices they use for Communion. As they are traditionally enacted, Grundy argues, they lead congregations to participate in a re-enactment of an execution, the death of Jesus. Instead, he proposes practices that affirm love, solidarity, and agency, the heart of Jesus’ witness. What at first seems shocking is, by the end of the book, exactly what is needed to contest what is seldom examined.”

—Janet Walton, Union Theological Seminary, author of Feminist Liturgy: A Matter of Justice

“An eye-opener of a book. Grundy exposes the latent violence and de-personalization that characterize the rite of Holy Communion as most of us know it. Then he points the way toward a retrieval of ancient Communion practices that can bring churches closer to participation in the beloved community. The book asks the reader to stop and think and re-imagine.”

—Tom F. Driver, Union Theological Seminary, author of Liberating Rites

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