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 communitynot 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)
Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit Without Disconnecting Your Mindby Alan Jones
"From his pulpit at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Alan Jones has influenced for good an entire continent of struggling Christians. In this provoking and helpful new book, he extends his voice to those both within and beyond the Church. A thinking Christian in a thoughtless world is what he is and what he aims to make us. This is a very good
"From his pulpit at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Alan Jones has influenced for good an entire continent of struggling Christians. In this provoking and helpful new book, he extends his voice to those both within and beyond the Church. A thinking Christian in a thoughtless world is what he is and what he aims to make us. This is a very good start."
The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes
The Memorial Church, Harvard University, and author of The Good Book
"It used to be that Christian institutions and systems of dogma sustained the spiritual life of Christians. Increasingly, spirituality itself is what sustains everything else. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply."
Brian D. McLaren, pastor (crcc.org) and author of A New Kind of Christian
"This is a bracing breath of spiritual fresh air, an intelligent, witty, and passionate reclaiming of the goal of religious practice-the conversion of the heart to kindness and peace as the common faith in which we can all be believers."
Sylvia Boorstein, author of Pay Attention, for Goodness' Sake and It's Easier Than You Think
"Alan Jones is the best guide I know to lead us on the thorny but promising path that could lead to the renewal of Christianity."
Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly
"Compulsively readable, Alan Jones's book is a brave and brilliant attempt to res-cue Christianity from the clutches of the cruel reactionaries into which much of it has fallen. Generous-hearted Christians of all persuasions will cheer him on."
The Most Rev. Richard Holloway, retired as primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Bishop of Edinburgh
"Alan Jones combines the power of the mystical, the honesty of the skeptical, and the eagerness of the romantic. His vision of faith and ministry for the time to come will be a gift for many readers."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia
"A daring call to renew our relation to Christianity-and ourselves-through fac-ing the great questions of the heart that today permeate the life of every serious seeker and the life of our whole endangered world."
Jacob Needleman, author of The American Soul and Lost Christianity
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Meet the Author
Alan Jones, Ph.D., is an Episcopal priest and the Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California. He lectures all over the world as well as on the Webby Awardnominated gracecathedral.org. Dr. Jones’s books include Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude, winner of the prestigious 2004 Nautilus Award in the spirituality category.
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