"An unusual take on contemporary Christianity grounded in a remarkable life story and told with exceptional prose."
— Kirkus Reviews
"In this captivating memoir, Patricia Pearce guides us on a journey from her Peace Corps days with indigenous people in Ecuador to moments of enlightenment when, as a Christian minister, she questions the church's vision of Christ. By exploring the teachings of Jesus, she discovers that the world we have created is a reflection of our own consciousness. She inspires us to rise to new levels of consciousness and manifest a sustainable and spiritually fulfilling future for ourselves and our progeny."
—John Perkins, New York Times best-selling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
"Beyond Jesus invites us to join Patricia Pearce on an exhilarating journey of the spiritual transformations that have undergirded her radical work for justice-love in the world. Along the way, as her mystical consciousness deepens, Pearce sees that-with devastating consequences-Christianity has mistakenly produced a theology, and a Jesus at its center, on the basis of a dualistic worldview rather than helping us realize our oneness with Jesus and each other in a universal Spirit of Love. This book spills over with integrity, wisdom, and joy! It's a splendid resource of hope and encouragement for these troubled times."
—The Rev. Carter Heyward, PhD, Professor Emerita of Theology, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
"Staying humbly within her own experience, Pearce has addressed a larger story that is unfolding from the edge of Christianity. The countless Christians' journey 'beyond Jesus' is now a much larger, culture-wide odyssey, and needs the close attention Pearce brings to it in order to understand its significance."
—The Rev. Dr. Hal Taussig, National Co-Chair, Christianity Seminar, Westar Institute, and editor of A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts
"Halfway through the introduction, I was in tears. Pearce's sharing of how her individual journey meshed with the universal seeking for God and the commitment to act for justice in ways that honor the God-spark dignity of all life forms of our planet moved me into and beyond the words of her life story. Beyond words, into tears-and joy."
—Rabbi Arthur Waskow, author of Godwrestling-Round 2 and director of The Shalom Center
"A riveting account of a courageous spiritual journey. Sharing many of the most intimate moments of her life, Pearce introduces the reader to her new, bold conclusions about Jesus, his teachings, and his purpose. After reading it, you may find a new hope for our planet."
—Mary Morrissey, author of Building Your Field of Dreams
"This memoir is an astounding story of faith shattered and restored in a profoundly visionary life story. It integrates the social, economic, and racial crises of our day with a personal witness to what spiritual transformation might look like. It is a book that will be of great interest to persons of all faiths and no faith, to men and women who struggle with personal and collective suffering and are seeking an approach that uplifts and challenges them."
—Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and author of God Loves the Stranger
"This is the very personal journey of an earnest Western seeker out to rescue what Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and others have called the 'Jesus of history,' the God-conscious human being who survived his early and brutal execution by the Roman state. A useful guide for any of us today who are looking for a life, as she says, 'freed from the ego and its illusions.'"
—Michael Nagler, PhD, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and author of The Search for a Nonviolent Future
"Detonated by the early death of a close friend and colleague, Patricia Pearce's whole worldview blew wide open. The familiar certainties of religious sensibility collapsed, one by one. What emerged from the wreckage is a potent new understanding of Reality and a powerful and eloquent call to hear Jesus anew."
—Penny Gill, Mary Lyon Professor of Humanities, Mount Holyoke College and author of What in the World Is Going On? Wisdom Teachings for Our Time
"Patricia Pearce's spiritual odyssey illuminates the wisdom and light that shine within us all. She asserts that this power, the greatest power, is the incredible, immense force of love in the universe that connects all beings to one another in the amazing web of Life. Thank you, Patricia Pearce, for walking this path and sharing it with the rest of us."
—Kathryn "Kitsi" Watterson, author of I Hear My People Singing: Voices of African American Princeton, Not by the Sword, and Women in Prison: Inside the Concrete Womb
A memoir offers the experiences of a progressive minister and her radical ideas to reshape Christianity.
Pearce's (No One in I Land, 2015) latest work is not just a retelling of her life, but also an exploration of the origins of the concepts that have molded her efforts as a pastor and humanitarian. As a child attending a Presbyterian church in Denver, the author showed remarkable conviction from an early age. But it was after studying abroad in Germany and then working with the Peace Corps in Ecuador that she began to truly see the world—and herself— differently. Upon her return, Pearce became uneasy with a typical middle-class lifestyle, noticed incredible pride within contemporary churches, and felt a strong call to become engaged politically. These thoughts eventually led her to a seminary in San Francisco, where she met her lifelong friend Tricia and opened her eyes to sexism and imperialism. The author then moved to Philadelphia and became the pastor of Tabernacle United Church, where she discovered a strong, like-minded community. But over the years, she grew more experimental and courageous in both her actions and thoughts; eventually she even served prison time for nonviolent civil disobedience and began to examine the ideas of Eastern and Wiccan religions to totally redesign her view of Jesus. "When we focus our spiritual journey on Jesus himself…we fail to see what he was showing us about ourown nature," the author writes, deftly elaborating her thesis that the Christian church's fixation on Jesus actually works against his most important teachings. It's a progressive stance and an idea that could be difficult for more traditional readers to embrace, especially with her tendency to throw in New Age-style lingo about "Ultimate Reality" and "the quantum void." But the narration of her life and reflections moves with swift efficiency, and her passionate voice helps sell even the strangest of notions: Her eloquent passages on life in South America and her own experiences with sexism are particularly moving and convincing. By the time she reaches her most unconventional arguments, it will be hard for readers not to agree.
An unusual take on contemporary Christianity grounded in a remarkable life story and told with exceptional prose.