The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

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Overview

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 ...

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The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

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Overview

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 Introduction

In 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 sacred
  • Reconnecting with compassion as the ground of true relationship
  • Celebrating the Light that is at the heart of all life
  • Reverencing the wisdom of other religious traditions
  • Rediscovering spiritual practice as the basis for transformation
  • Living the way of nonviolence among nations
  • Looking to the unconscious as the wellspring of new vision
  • Following love as the seed-force of new birth in our lives and world
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/26/2014
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 " 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 "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. (June)
From the Publisher

"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."

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594735424
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/6/2014
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 150
  • Sales rank: 73,476
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet 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 and A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth & the Human Soul. 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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1:
Reconnecting with the Earth 1
The Cathedral of Earth, Sea, and Sky
The Whole Universe Takes Part in the Dance
At the Heart of Matter Is the Heart of God
A Spirituality of Intimacy with the Natural World

Chapter 2:
Reconnecting with Compassion 15
A Revolution of the Spirit
The Courage to See
The Courage to Feel
The Courage to Act

Chapter 3:
Reconnecting with the Light 29
Turn But a Stone and an Angel Moves
The Light at the Center of Every Cell
Be Filled with Light and Shine
Letting Go to the Light

Chapter 4:
Reconnecting with the Journey 43
Journeying into Unknown Territory
Traveling as Pilgrims
Shedding Our Attachment to the Ego
Finding the Other Half of Our Soul

Chapter 5:
Reconnecting with Spiritual Practice 59
A Contemplative Orientation
Finding Our Diamond Essence
Plunging Deep into the Heart of the World
Nurturing the Seed-Force for Change

Chapter 6:
Reconnecting with Nonviolence 75
Response-Ability
Love-Force Not Brute-Force
Love Is the Strongest Yet Humblest Force
Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Chapter 7:
Reconnecting with the Unconscious 89
Opening to the Well of the Imagination
The Marriage of the Conscious and the Unconscious
The Promise of Union
Dreaming the Way Forward

Chapter 8:
Reconnecting with Love 105
God Is Love
Saying Yes to the Heart of the Other
Giving Up Our Imaginary Position as the Center
There Is No Distinction between Love and Justice

Epilogue 121
Notes 125
Suggestions for Further Reading 134
About the Author 135

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