In The Songs of the Mothers Joe Morris Doss gives us a deeply personal reading of Early Church history even as he cautions us about such readings, too many of which pursue not knowledge per se, but precedents for--and therefore justifications of--one theological predisposition or another. There are many such contemporary misapplications of our Christian heritage. Two of the most conspicuous have managed to polarize much of Christendom into a false duality between the upholders of "kingdom" (individualist salvation) and defenders of "creation" (social justice and action). In this tragic divide, Doss insinuates the mitigating wisdom of the "Song of Mary" and the "Song of Hannah," two voices from the Early Church that urge us ever toward reconciliation, as perhaps only the voices of mothers can. Doss, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, sees ample evidence that the church is heeding maternal voices more and more (and the patriarchal voices of hierarchy, dogma, and factionalism less and less). The success of ecumenism is one indication, but there are many others, enough in fact, to convince the author that we may be entering a major era of transformation of our faith. Doss urges us to cleave to the reminders from our past that we belong to one another and to God; that we are fully empowered by baptism to serve as ministers of God and as inheritors of all God's creation, earthly and heavenly. Listen rightly--the author believes--and we usher in a joyous Christian reformation; listen wrongly and we risk a Christian deformation.
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