Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit Without Disconnecting Your Mind

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"Alan Jones’s journey of faith will be of real help to those who are teetering on the razor’s edge between faith and doubt, hope and despair. It will challenge many to give Christianity a second look and recover the living heart of the tradition."
–– Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions and Why Religion Matters

"Here is a book for all who suspect that God is greater than religion, who regard imagination as a spiritual path, and who could use a wise companion on the ...

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Overview

"Alan Jones’s journey of faith will be of real help to those who are teetering on the razor’s edge between faith and doubt, hope and despair. It will challenge many to give Christianity a second look and recover the living heart of the tradition."
–– Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions and Why Religion Matters

"Here is a book for all who suspect that God is greater than religion, who regard imagination as a spiritual path, and who could use a wise companion on the way."
–– The Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, author, teacher, and lecturer

In this provocative new book, the internationally renowned Dean of the Episcopal Grace Cathedral in San Francisco delivers a resonant and comforting message to anyone looking for spiritual solace in today’s troubled world.

Some intelligent people have been turned off by the idea of spirituality. A religion based on love and forgiveness, Christianity now seems, for some, unforgiving. Some who call themselves Christians seem divisive and rigid, saying that their way is the only way. In Reimagining Christianity, Alan Jones passionately argues that there is hope for Christianity, Christians, and spirituality–and for all of us on Earth.

Dr. Jones inspires you to think, to question, to dig deeper into the truths of existence as a way of deepening your spirituality rather than accepting rigid dogma. Drawing on his vast knowledge of history, religion, and the heart, Jones encourages you to open doors to those of all faiths and even to those who profess no faith at all. As you do so, you can better understand the powerful promise of Christianity.

In Reimagining Christianity, Alan Jones shows us how to get past tribalism while heeding the call to unity; how to appreciate the poetry, metaphor, and mystery of religion while avoiding strict literalism; how to fill the wound inside of us that religion may once have filled; how even non-Christians can be more Christlike than some who profess to be Christians; and how we can unlearn hate while learning to love and forgive.

Rich with moving anecdotes from the author’s life and work as well as eloquent excerpts from other literary and spiritual works, Reimagining Christianity will strike a chord with anyone who feels the need to reconnect the spirit without disconnecting the mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Jones (Seasons of Grace) is dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and belongs to the wave of Christian preachers and theologians who are attempting to reclaim a sincere faith while accommodating critical reasoning. He tries to show how advantageous it might be for each person, as well as for Christianity as a whole, to reject a foolish or nostalgic literalism about the Christian message in favor of a broad inclusivity of all people. In his own words, "There are no outsiders." For most collections. (from the Spiritual Reading column by Graham Christian) (Library Journal, January 15, 2005)

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)

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Jones (Seasons of Grace) is dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and belongs to the wave of Christian preachers and theologians who are attempting to reclaim a sincere faith while accommodating critical reasoning. He tries to show how advantageous it might be for each person, as well as for Christianity as a whole, to reject a foolish or nostalgic literalism about the Christian message in favor of a broad inclusivity of all people. In his own words, "There are no outsiders." For most collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471457077
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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 Award—nominated 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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Preface.

Prologue: Does Faith Have a Future?

1. Belonging and Believing: Getting Past Tribalism.

2. Literalism and Other Headaches.

3. The God-Shaped Space in Our Hearts.

4. Poles Apart: Skeptics and Believers Choose Sides.

5. Living with Anxiety, Rushing to Belief.

6. See How Those Christians Love One Another.

7. A Faith to Live By: Religion and Cultural Politics.

8. God Unbound: Mysteries at the Heart of Faith.

9. Missing Each Other and Missing Ourselves.

10. Recovering the Sacred: The Really Real.

11. Healing the Wounded Imagination.

12. Jesus the Broken Man.

13. Mary, the Pregnant Life.

14. Trinity Means Communion.

15. The Challenge of Christ: Christian Life and Practice.

16. Revising the Great Story.

17. Here Comes Everybody.

Epilogue: Spiritual Practice, Spiritual Presence.

Suggested Reading List.

Index.

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