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The Rebirthing of God

Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

By John Philip Newell

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Format: Paperback, 160 pages
Published In: United States, 01 June 2014
Dare to imagine a new birth from deep within Christianity, a fresh stirring of the Spirit."The walls of Western Christianity are collapsing. In many parts of the West that collapse can only be described as seismic.... There are three main responses or reactions to this collapse. The first is to deny that it is happening. The second is to frantically try to shore up the foundations of the old thing. The third, which I invite us into, is to ask what is trying to be born that requires a radical reorientation of our vision. What is the new thing that is trying to emerge from deep within us and from deep within the collective soul of Christianity?"--from the IntroductionIn the midst of dramatic changes in Western Christianity, internationally respected spiritual leader, peacemaker and scholar John Philip Newell offers the hope of a fresh stirring of the Spirit among us. He invites us to be part of a new holy birth of sacred living. Speaking directly to the heart of Christians--those within the well-defined bounds of Christian practice and those on the disenchanted edges--as well as to the faithful and seekers of other traditions, he explores eight major features of a new birthing of Christianity: Coming back into relationship with the Earth as sacredReconnecting with compassion as the ground of true relationshipCelebrating the Light that is at the heart of all lifeReverencing the wisdom of other religious traditionsRediscovering spiritual practice as the basis for transformationLiving the way of nonviolence among nationsLooking to the unconscious as the wellspring of new visionFollowing love as the seed-force of new birth in our lives and world

About the Author

John Philip Newell, internationally acclaimed teacher, retreat leader and speaker, is the widely read author of several books, including Listening for the Heartbeat of God, Praying with the Earth; A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth & the Human Soul and Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings (SkyLight Paths). Formerly warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is now companion theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and the co-founder of Heartbeat: A Journey Towards Earth's Wellbeing.

Reviews

"Occasionally I read a book that leads me to think, 'I wish I had written that.' This is one of those books."--Marcus Borg, author, The Heart of Christianity and Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, among other books"Draw[s] from fresh, deep springs of faith ... placing before us the challenge of our day: Will we allow God to be born anew in us, in the earth, in the cosmos? Will we embody the ever-new life of the Source from which we come?"--Mary C. Earle, author, Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Writings--Annotated and Explained"Wow.... This book will move you ... with fresh insight into the rebirth of everything. What a writer, what a book!"--Rob Bell, author, Love Wins and What We Talk about When We Talk about God"From page one to the conclusion, John Philip Newell engages our imagination and as we read we are born anew. His writing is a blessing!"--Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former executive director, U.S. World Council of Churches; author, Living into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This"Reconnecting is the word! The deep connection is already there and given, but this little book of wisdom will help you to find the essential message again--and in fresh, intelligent ways."--Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico"Courageous.... A refreshing cup of cool, clear water for our spirits that enlivens us for the journey beyond the stumbling blocks of unquestioned doctrine toward a reconnection with the earth and the human capacity for awareness, compassion and spiritual practices that restore awe and hope for our enacted faith."--Thomas V. Wolfe, president, Iliff School of Theology "Occasionally I read a book that leads me to think, 'I wish I had written that.' This is one of those books." Marcus Borg, author, The Heart of Christianity and Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, among other books "Draw[s] from fresh, deep springs of faith ... placing before us the challenge of our day: Will we allow God to be born anew in us, in the earth, in the cosmos? Will we embody the ever-new life of the Source from which we come?" Mary C. Earle, author, Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Writings Annotated and Explained Wow.... This book will move you ... with fresh insight into the rebirth of everything. What a writer, what a book! Rob Bell, author, Love Wins and What We Talk about When We Talk about God From page one to the conclusion, John Philip Newell engages our imagination and as we read we are born anew. His writing is a blessing! Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former executive director, U.S. World Council of Churches; author, Living into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This Reconnecting is the word! The deep connection is already there and given, but this little book of wisdom will help you to find the essential message again and in fresh, intelligent ways. Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico Courageous.... A refreshing cup of cool, clear water for our spirits that enlivens us for the journey beyond the stumbling blocks of unquestioned doctrine toward a reconnection with the earth and the human capacity for awareness, compassion and spiritual practices that restore awe and hope for our enacted faith. Thomas V. Wolfe, president, Iliff School of Theology" Iwant to catch you up on a book that came out a year ago but that I've just had a chance to read The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings, by John Philip Newell. It's excellent and, beyond that, it's not quite what you might expect or at least what I expected. But before I get into details, I want to disclose that Philip is a friend whom I've gotten to know throughGhost Ranch, the national Presbyterian education and retreat center in northern New Mexico, where both of us teach regularly -- he more often than I. He and his wife Ali are both pastors in the Church of Scotland and are simply terrific people. I turn toPhilip's workwhenever I want to know or learn something about Celtic spirituality.... The subtitle might lead you to believe that Philip is going to offer yet another recipe for saving declining Christian denominations in the U.S. or Europe or elsewhere in the world. Well, yes and no. This is not a book full of cogent advice about what kind of new evangelism might work with the religiously unaffiliated (now about 23 percent of adult Americans). And it's not a volume full of programmatic ideas for how to turn moribund Protestant churches into thriving centers of activity, as they had been in the post-World War II years. It's deeper and broader and, in the end, more important than all that. It's about what those of us who are Christian must do to rediscover the deepest, most transformative truths at the heart of faith found within the Christian household, as he likes to call it. It's about taking a deep breath and reconnecting with what Christianity wants to say about our home, the Earth, about the vital place of compassion, about what it might mean to be back in touch with the light of God and the light within us, about how to travel the road of faith as pilgrims, about what effective spiritual practices look like, about what nonviolence might teach us about our connection to the Prince of Peace, about how we can mine the deep wells of our imagination and even our unconscious and about what in the world it would look like if we took the idea of divine and human love seriously. Whew. Philip draws heavily on his experience as the former warden of theIona Communityin Scotland, which means bringing to our attention many of the lessons of Celtic spirituality, which understands that the world was not simply made by God but also is madeofGod and which, therefore, is attuned to those "thin places" where the human and the divine nearly touch. I have made a list of 25 pages of this 135-page book from which I want to quote, but I will limit myself to just a few to give you a taste of his inviting imagery and his persuasive insights. Christianity today, he says, "is like a great giant who has fallen into the stupor of deep sleep. Its mighty energies for good often lie dormant. When it does stir, as if half remembering the enormity of its strengths, it too often stumbles into irrelevancies and half-truths that are more like a nightmare than a real awakening. Perhaps it is truer to say that Christianity as we have known it is not simply slumbering, it is dying and will be no more. But whether it is a deep slumber, from which we need to awaken, or a death, from which we need the radicalness of resurrection, there is a desperate yearning among us for new beginnings." To think about what Christianity might be for the rest of the 21st Century and beyond, he writes, it's important to understand the radical nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and to think about what that might mean for the church, of which he is the head: "The story is not about resuscitation. It is about resurrection. It is not about reviving the old form. It is about something new, something we could never have imagined, emerging from death." As Christianity finds its new way in a religiously pluralistic nation, such as the U.S., and a world full of vibrant and often ancient religious ideas and traditions, what might it have to give to the world? Philip writes this: "What is it that a grown-up Christianity has to freely offer the world? There is so much treasure in our household that we could generously distribute. We hold within our Scripture an awareness of earth's sacredness that could more deeply serve today's environmental movements. We have inherited from Jesus a vision of nonviolence that could profoundly redirect our nations from conflict to peace. We have been taught practices of compassion for those who are poor and hungry and sick that could play a foundational role in the well-being of any society. There is no shortage of treasure in our household." Some of what Philip writes will challenge traditional Christianity and those Christians who identify themselves as conservative or evangelical. But even they can find insight and direction here that can give new life to those branches of the faith, if they are willing to listen deeply. --Bill Tammeus"On Faith" (12/24/2015)" "In this insightful and illuminating work, Newell (Listening for the Heartbeat of God) explores chapter by chapter themes of connecting (with the earth, compassion, light, journey, spiritual practice, nonviolence, unconscious, love) in order to reclaim Christianity's understanding of being 'born anew' and of resurrection. Drawing from his experience with the Iona community in Scotland, as well as other spiritual sites, such as Taize in France, Newell offers illustrations from his ministry, family life, and dreams to '[allow] ourselves to dream the Christian story onward.' He gleans wisdom from a diverse group of spiritual practitioners from Columba and Julian of Norwich to Thomas Berry and Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as from numerous faith traditions, contending that 'bringing our heart into union with the heart of the other is the basis of true freedom.' Asserting that '[c]ompassionate action is sustained by the courage to feel, Newell s work carries practical implications, as he argues that clergy need as much training in spiritual practices such as contemplative prayer, as in beliefs. This accessible and thought-provoking book has much to offer pilgrims on all stages of the spiritual journey.""

EAN: 9781683364191
ISBN: 1683364198
Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
Dimensions: 22.91 x 15.19 x 0.91 centimetres (0.17 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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