Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind
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The dean of San Francisco’s Episcopal cathedral opens his new book with a gauntlet-throwing epigraph from James Baldwin: "[W]hoever wishes to become a truly moral being... must first divorce himself from all the prohibitions, crimes [and] hypocrisies of the Christian Church." So begins one of our day’s great statements of liberal Protestantism. For Jones, religion is a love affair, a great story, an experience to be shared with community--not a creed to nitpick and defend. Jones invites spiritual seekers to "reimagine" Christianity. Who was Jesus? A "broken and ruined man" who asks us to live as though each day were our last and to "possess nothing." And what about Mary? How are we to make sense of her perpetual virginity? Jones muses, "Mary is a book we can read.... Don’t get caught in the sticky mess of doctrinal controversy. Just look." The Trinity, he says, is not fuzzy math, but a radical statement about community. Jones is not only innovative but erudite. He draws on novels by Nick Hornby and John Updike; he laces his text with musings on Emily Dickinson and John Wayne. Indeed, with his literary flair, his emphasis on community and practice and his sharp-edged liberalism, Jones reads like a cross between Lawrence Kushner and John A.T. Robinson. This book is a winner, both charitable and bold. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004)
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