Living among the Breakage
Contextual Theology-Making and Ex-Muslim Christians
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"Miller has provided us with frontline research in an emerging sector of World Christianity--the indigenous theology of Christians from a Muslim background. World Christianity, Muslim-Christian relations, conversion studies, or missiology--if any of these are your area of interest, this book is for you. If the mission of God in our world or, perhaps, 'frontier theology' is your concern, Living among the Breakage is for you. In these pages, Miller engages the theology of the globally emerging churches of Christians from a Muslim background (CMB). He approaches the task from several creative angles: field work amongst Iranian diaspora congregations; analysis of CMB books, poetry, and testimonial literature; and the case study of a semi-covert CMB congregation in the Arabophone Middle East. What Miller has done here is compelling in its creative simplicity. Living among the Breakage is a work of contextualization, but a 'contextualization from within': this is a disciplined effort at eliciting, ordering, and analyzing the distinctive (if thoroughly informal and implicit) theology of the growing, sometimes overlooked, CMB churches around the world. Though this is a systematic and analytic piece of research, Miller remains highly attuned to the practical, earthy, and conflicted experience of former Muslims in transition between Church and Mosque, with a foot yet in each world--the 'old' and the 'new.' Living among the Breakage is an original work with an exciting sympathy and sensitive realism towards its subjects--people and communities under pressure, struggling to adapt to new realities, contexts, and identities; believers who for all their experience of liminality are making dynamic contributions to the living texture of tomorrow's global Church."
--Brent Neely, author; coeditor, with Peter Riddell, of Islam and the Last Day: Christian Perspectives on Islamic Eschatology (2014)
"Duane Miller's new work, Living among the Breakage, is a must-read for those interested in religious conversion. Miller moves beyond questions of why and how conversion takes place to engage the critical question of how converts and their communities become makers of theology. Bringing into conversation the indigenization theories of Shoki Coe, Robert Schreiter's models of 'God knowledge' and Steven Lukes' understanding of power, Miller creates a rich analytical framework for understanding the forces shaping the impetus, possibility, and results of conversion. Placing this within an understanding of how modernity is shaping the possibilities experienced by Muslims who convert to Christianity makes Miller's work an excellent textbook for students seeking to understand the transformations taking place in religious communities around the world. His chapters describing his fieldwork among different groups of Muslim converts to Christian then become models for the kind of analysis he describes. Miller's work greatly enriches our understanding of conversion generally--Muslim conversion to Christianity specifically--and our ability to grasp the changing religious landscape of the contemporary world."
--Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education, Director of the Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
"On discipleship and the theology of ex-Muslims Dr. Duane has provided a road map for the Northern Church and the Global South (Majority World), as they agonize over the tension of Muslims, ex-Muslims, their theology, and how to disciple them. If there's one book about the world of Islam and ex-Muslims that is to be read, it is Living among the Breakage. It's a gold mine!"
--Tony Weedor, Desk Director, Africa, Advancing Native Missions
"In Living among the Breakage, Miller offers his readers an insightful exploration into the dynamics of Muslim conversion to Christianity and a rare look into the processes and products of contextual theologizing produced by some of the newest members in the global body of Christ. This is a must-read for those interested in world Christianity, Christian-Muslim relations, and the ongoing translation of the gospel into a myriad of cultural and religious contexts.
--J. Scott Bridger, author of Christian Exegesis of the Qur'ān (Pickwick, 2015); Associate Professor of Global Studies & World Religions, Criswell College
"How do you discern theology-in-the-making, especially among Christian believers from a Muslim background? Miller suggests that the activity together of such a Christian group may yield some insight. He looks at a specific instance of church planting, but sadly concludes that the theology-making there is going nowhere because of a static state of patronage that is being perpetuated among the leadership. Elsewhere Miller looks at conversion and persecution narratives deriving from Christian believers from a Muslim background, discerning within them what he calls 'liberation' and 'wisdom' theologies. Such narratives are widespread. Within a specific, Iranian-originated fellowship, Miller finds an intentional emphasis on 'Persian-ness' with a corresponding hostility to what is perceived as Arabo-Islamic contaminations. Out of his research Miller finds some common theological themes: dissatisfaction with the theory of penal substitution (maybe deriving from an Islamic perspective on the responsibility/accountability of the individual to God); messiness around matters of 'church' (including the importance of baptism, the lack of welcome/family feel in immature churches, and the paucity of strong leadership); and the re-formation of identity in experiences of rapid cultural change, minority status as 'Christian,' persecution, etc.). Overall, Miller iterates a suggestion that theology-making among Christian believers from a Muslim background needs to find focus in an understanding/emphasis on God's power (the essential face of a 'Monad' god) as finding envelopment within and best expression through God's love (the essence of 'Trinity'). Miller's search is for precious expressions of Christian hope among the breakage of often poor, struggling communities of believers. It is amazing what he does find there!"
--Right Reverend Dr. Bill Musk