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I justed wanted to pass along a brief list of some books that I have found very thought provoking. Most have been recommended by those of you here. Thank you. Your positive comments led me to read some very good stuff.

 

In no particular order...

 

Reading the Bible Again for First Time, Marcus Borg: This was my first reading by a PC author. His presentation of precritical naivete/critical thinking/postcritical naivete made me think hard about what I accepted and believed. It was this book that caused me to realize that I was a PC. Maybe not his best or most well-known work, but definitely a Borg classic.

 

Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell: Wow...this book was not what I initially expected it to be. His writing and presentation style really pull the reader into his thoughts. It was a fast read and I was dissapointed when it was done.

 

Why Christianity Must Change or Die, John Shelby Spong: What can I say. Most everyone here knows this classic. A must read for any PC.

 

Ethics for the New Millennium, Dalai Lama: I bought this book 7 years ago and have read it 4 times. Every time I read it, I find more words to live by. Highly recommended.

 

Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh: Beautiful. I love his heart-felt comparisons between the Buddhism he promotes and his understanding of Christianity. Some of his interpretations are based on Fundamentalist concepts, but overall, I enjoyed his points of view.

 

Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, Andrew Harvey: Currently reading this one. So far (first 100 pages or so) seems to be pretty good. Harvey's writing style and thought process is very intense. There are few 'easy thoughts' in this one.

 

I have a list of numerous other books that have been recommended on this Forum. I will get to all of them eventually.

 

Alan

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Reading the Bible Again for First Time, Marcus Borg: This was my first reading by a PC author. His presentation of precritical naivete/critical thinking/postcritical naivete made me think hard about what I accepted and believed. It was this book that caused me to realize that I was a PC. Maybe not his best or most well-known work, but definitely a Borg classic.

 

This was also my first read from a PC author! Except I came from the opposite end of the spectrum (I wasn't a Christian and was rather hostile to Christianity at the time), and this book showed me that there was more to Christianity than fire-and-brimstone and literalism.

 

Why Christianity Must Change or Die, John Shelby Spong: What can I say. Most everyone here knows this classic. A must read for any PC.

 

Agreed, I don't agree with Spong on everything but it's definitely a must-read for Progressive Christians.

 

Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh: Beautiful. I love his heart-felt comparisons between the Buddhism he promotes and his understanding of Christianity. Some of his interpretations are based on Fundamentalist concepts, but overall, I enjoyed his points of view.

 

I was going to name this book if you hadn't. I loved it...it's very thought-provoking, and beautifully written.

 

I would add the God We Never Knew and the Heart of Christianity, both by Borg, to this list.

 

I'm trying to think of more but at the moment I'm drawing a blank...it would help if I had my full collection of books with me, but I could only bring a dozen or so to college with me, unfortunately :lol:

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McKenna:

 

Thanks for the additions. Those are also on my list to read eventually.

 

I, too, was having a hard time trying to remember the books I've read. My computer access is at my office, so I had a difficult time remembering titles. I'm sure I've left out a few but I will post an addendum if I come up with more.

 

Alan

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I haven't read any of the books mentioned and usually average no more than one book a year but I have read and would recommend "A New earth, Awakening to your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle.

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM

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I've just finished reading Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" which was interesting - and Joseph I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the New Earth.

The book was good, but actually living the 'now' is quite a challenge with the constant distractions and internal noise we all encounter. A good book though and Tolle draws on various traditions to explain his points.

 

I'd also add to this list:

"The Power of Myth" - Joseph Campbell.

It's a great introduction to mythology (not fairytales!) and the common stories and meanings of various peoples throughout the world. Fascinating read.

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Hello,

 

Borg was my introduction to progressive Christianity. I like Spong also, but only in bits and pieces.

I've read Tolle's first book and felt it had an important contribution to make to all spiritual paths.

And I agree - staying in the present moment, is very difficult!

Would also recommend Jim Burklo's books,--his earlier one, Open Christianity, and the one that just came out, Birdlike and Barnless. A lot of it is from his blog "Musings" which is affiliated with this website.

 

Another interesting book, The Gospels of Mary, edited by Marvin Meyer.

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I've just finished reading Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" which was interesting - and Joseph I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the New Earth.

The book was good, but actually living the 'now' is quite a challenge with the constant distractions and internal noise we all encounter. A good book though and Tolle draws on various traditions to explain his points.

 

(snip)

 

Personally, I purposely don't read much as it seems to me that a person can read all their life and be filled with concepts and knowledge 'about' and miss the whole point. However, It seems to me that "A New Earth" is a real masterpiece. Simple and concise, I found it contains all that is necessary without any further reading to accomplish that which those on a spiritual quest look for. It not only answers many questions in simple terms but provides the necessary instruction that if followed with commitment is the end of all searching. It seems to me that "to awake" to who you are in God is the fundamental purpose of the foundation of all religions. This book to me seems to put into words best a practical guide to awaking that is IMO as good as it gets.

 

Joseph

 

PS It is only "quite a challenge" to him/her who is not yet ready or not yet willing to die. Otherwise it is as easy and natural as falling off a log backwards and knowing you will be caught.

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Guest wayfarer2k
Simple and concise, I found it contains all that is necessary without any further reading to accomplish that which those on a spiritual quest look for. It not only answers many questions in simple terms but provides the necessary instruction that if followed with commitment is the end of all searching.

 

Only speaking for myself, but I don't believe in "magic bullet" spirituality.

 

While I've read alot of books that have helped me along the way (and I readily admit that I haven't read any of Tolle), I've found the best books always leave me hungry for more. When any book (or even any person) claims that it has *arrived*, that it contains ALL that is necessary or that is the end of ALL searching, I find such claims to be rather presumptuous and prideful. To me, to be human is to always seek to be more than we are. I've never reached a point where I've felt "At last, NOW I know everything I need to know and I am NOW everything I am meant to be."

 

Maybe I am just not as spiritual as others on this board who have arrived. But I don't experience dying to self as a one-time event or a one-time falling off a log after which I am consider myself to be *done*. I'm still in the oven baking. :lol:

 

Now, I don't wallow around in guilt because I am not yet finished or because I'm not all I think I should be. That is no way to live, in spite of most churches' penchants for keeping us under that kind of control. But I don't want to go to the other extreme either and portray myself as a "finished product."

 

Christianity, across the spectrum from right to left, is filled with "How To..." books for spirituality. Most of these contain some sort of "5 Easy Steps..." or "Rethinking Your World..." approach. I'm sure there is value in alot of these books. They can surely help us along our journey, depending on our needs at the time. But I am very wary of any book's claim to be the "key" to instant spirituality. To me, spirituality is a journey, not the result of a formula or an incantation. Real life tells me there are no "magic bullets". If spirituality were easy or instantaneous, we and our world would already look like the manifested kingdom of God. I don't see that to be the case or the truth. So we ain't done yet, folks! ;)

 

Just my 2c.

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Only speaking for myself, but I don't believe in "magic bullet" spirituality.

 

While I've read alot of books that have helped me along the way (and I readily admit that I haven't read any of Tolle), I've found the best books always leave me hungry for more. When any book (or even any person) claims that it has *arrived*, that it contains ALL that is necessary or that is the end of ALL searching, I find such claims to be rather presumptuous and prideful. To me, to be human is to always seek to be more than we are. I've never reached a point where I've felt "At last, NOW I know everything I need to know and I am NOW everything I am meant to be."

 

(snip)

 

If the best books only leave you hungry for more perhaps you are seeking knowledge and concepts about rather than God. When one is truely fed, why does he yet remain hungry?

 

If you drank the water Jesus had to offer, you would thirst no more. eh?

 

Just something to consider.

 

Love

Joseph

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When one is truely fed, why does he yet remain hungry?

 

Of course, we're talking in metaphors here. I can be truly fed and feel full today, Joseph, but the meal I eat today does not keep me full for tomorrow. While I certainly don't want to get into a war of words, especially over what Jesus said, he did say to pray for daily bread, not for a once-and-for-all feast. ;)

 

If you drank the water Jesus had to offer, you would thirst no more. eh?

 

In a sense, yes. Again, (and I'm speaking only for myself) while I find Jesus and his teachings "satisfying" to give my life meaning and direction i.e. he is the fountain of living water in my life, I do find that I need to come back to him again and again for refreshment. Maybe I leak. :lol:

 

Perhaps reading Tolle is the "magic bullet" for spirituality. I don't know for sure because I have never read him. But I am skeptical because every Christian author out there claims to have the inside track or the fast track to spirituality. Most, IMO, are only interested in either selling books or creating a loyal base of followers who consider them to be a guru. No matter who the author is, if they had spirituality all tied up, it seems they would never need to publish another book. ;)

 

Anyway, I'm not down on Christian authors or theologians. I'm just wary of the ones who believe they have arrived while everyone else is either carnal or unenlightened. Jesus was able to teach and live truth in such a way that he was not condescending. I think we need more spiritual mentors who are humble and say, "Let me help you up" rather than "Come up hither."

 

Just something more to consider.

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Perhaps reading Tolle is the "magic bullet" for spirituality. I don't know for sure because I have never read him. But I am skeptical because every Christian author out there claims to have the inside track or the fast track to spirituality. Most, IMO, are only interested in either selling books or creating a loyal base of followers who consider them to be a guru. No matter who the author is, if they had spirituality all tied up, it seems they would never need to publish another book.

 

Hi Wayfarer2k,

 

Actually to set the record straight, Tolle makes no such claims so there is no need to be suspicious or skeptical. I merely have personally expressed my opinion by such statements as; "it seems to me" and IMO so that it would not appear as anything else other than one man's view (mine).

 

Anyway, I'm not down on Christian authors or theologians. I'm just wary of the ones who believe they have arrived while everyone else is either carnal or unenlightened. Jesus was able to teach and live truth in such a way that he was not condescending. I think we need more spiritual mentors who are humble and say, "Let me help you up" rather than "Come up hither."
Obviously my post triggered something in you ( the magic bullet story in your mind) which I personally think his book will in that area be of benefit to you. Perhaps you are prejudging him by my personal comments of praise for the book. There are probably many wonderful books. Its just that personally I find this book complete.

 

Maybe I am just not as spiritual as others on this board who have arrived. But I don't experience dying to self as a one-time event or a one-time falling off a log after which I am consider myself to be *done*. I'm still in the oven baking.

 

It seems to me there is no where to go and no where to arrive. You have everything you need already and are equal both to the least and seemingly greatest of your peers. Nothing said was meant to make you feel inferior. You are done already, you just are not aware of it and will continue baking until you are. :lol:

Also never said falling off a log was a one time event, your mind inserted that when you weren't watching.

 

If spirituality were easy or instantaneous, we and our world would already look like the manifested kingdom of God. I don't see that to be the case or the truth. So we ain't done yet, folks!

 

Perhaps you speak of your reality. Perhaps the kingdom is unobservable with the eyes. Perhaps the kingdom is within you as Jesus said. Perhaps, many of us are working too hard and making difficult that which Jesus said "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Well. sorry to digress since this is a book review area but much of what i am saying can be found in the book in other words.

 

Just something to consider

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM

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I merely have personally expressed my opinion by such statements as; "it seems to me" and IMO so that it would not appear as anything else other than one man's view (mine). Its just that personally I find this book complete.

 

Point well taken. This thread is about books that we personally consider to be good. I have alot of them myself. I'm just no longer a "sola scriptura" kinda guy, whether from the bible or any other author(s). So, yes, I guess that is a sensitive trigger. Thanks for reigning me in.

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To get back to flatliners question concerning the book and liking to hear my thoughts about "A new Earth" .

 

Flatliner, The book is basically about how to disentangle your sense of beingness from all the mental labels, thoughts and forms that we have lost our self in by attaching words to things and then believing that we know what it is by the label. It is about removing these entanglements to get below the surface appearance and discovering the connectedness of all things which has been hidden by mental labels and thoughts. It is about returning thinking as a tool rather than being used by it. It is about finding your essence. It is about being released from the self made prison of our mind. Its about getting past language and uncovering who you are and your inner purpose which brings about the outer new earth.

 

 

The book contains practical things we can do to facilitate the process in a simple and concise way. To some it may appear as utter nonsense and the thought might surface, "I don't get it". But to one on a serious quest who is willing to apply its precepts, not for mans knowledge but for ones source, it is in my opinion priceless. I had published two books myself and was in the process of writing a third when I read this book. I decided that this book said in different words what I wanted to say and could see no way to improve on it. I felt there are enough books in the world and this one is truly a gift that is able to accomplish its purpose without leaving one hungry for more book data. To many that 'get it' (understand it) I believe it will be the end of all seeking.

 

IMO, one can read countless books and assemble a mass of concepts, theories, answers and facts that in the end only serve to confuse. This books purpose is not to make a theologian, philosopher, or teacher out of one by adding to mans knowledge and answer all his questions but rather to untangle those things so that Truth and being surfaces of its own accord.

 

Joseph

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When any book (or even any person) claims that it has *arrived*, that it contains ALL that is necessary or that is the end of ALL searching, I find such claims to be rather presumptuous and prideful.

 

I'm feeling this way about the book "Son of Man" that I'm currently reading (see my list above). The author is making some very bold statements about his method of finding Christ or, as he says, becoming 'Christed'. He essentially is prescribing a method of becoming like Christ via his direct communication with Christ.

 

I'm having a hard time digesting some of his thoughts, but will finish the book anyway. There have been some interesting points of view and I hope he will provide a few more.

 

Alan

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To get back to flatliners question concerning the book and liking to hear my thoughts about "A new Earth".

Flatliner, The book is basically about how to disentangle your sense of beingness from all the mental labels, thoughts and forms that we have lost our self in by attaching words to things and then believing that we know what it is by the label. It is about removing these entanglements to get below the surface appearance and discovering the connectedness of all things which has been hidden by mental labels and thoughts. It is about returning thinking as a tool rather than being used by it. It is about finding your essence. It is about being released from the self made prison of our mind. Its about getting past language and uncovering who you are and your inner purpose which brings about the outer new earth.

Thanks for getting back to us with your thoughts Joseph. From your account it sounds very much like Tolle expands further on The Power of Now, building on the 'signpost' ideas, and observing the thinker. I had hoped the New Earth had some further insight and didn't just cash in on a good thing (ooh, sometimes I'm a big cynical about 'sequels' - sorry!!)

 

The book contains practical things we can do to facilitate the process in a simple and concise way. To some it may appear as utter nonsense and the thought might surface, "I don't get it".

I read the Power of Now and had to persevere. I got about a third of the way through it before it started to make sense to me. I almost need to go back now and read that first third again!! Thanks again Joseph, it sounds good - I'll add it to my wishlist

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Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, Andrew Harvey: Currently reading this one. So far (first 100 pages or so) seems to be pretty good. Harvey's writing style and thought process is very intense. There are few 'easy thoughts' in this one.

 

I have finished Harvey's book and just wanted to offer these comments:

 

The first section of the book focuses on Harvey's interpretation of the historical/radical Jesus. The author did a great job of presenting some alternative interpretations of Christ's parables and actions. I enjoyed this section immensely and thought what a great way to start the book.

 

The second section focused on the Mystical Christ, and in particular, Harvey's interpretation of his own mystical Christ experience. This section was difficult to follow and I'm sure I missed many of his key points. However, he did offer up some interesting points of view regarding his internal Path to become one with Christ.

 

He then follows up with a section on Christ and the Sacred Feminine. Very interesting...but I feel he tried to pack way too much information in this section without wrapping up all his points and arguments into a unifying theme.

 

The final section presents actual practices and meditations that can be used in a daily practice of connecting with Christ. This section could easily be a stand alone hand book and I may end up purchasing the book with the exclusive intent of trying some these methods.

 

Overall, Son of Man was interesting reading. I appreciate Harvey's insights and recommend this book to those that are interested in a unique approach to the Mystical Christ.

 

Alan

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Is anyone reading Kathleen Norris’ latest book, Acedia & Me? I’ve enjoyed her spiritual books for years. This one is a disturbing contrast to her earlier ones, in that it explores the concept of acedia through her own life and in historic examples.

 

Norris lost her husband after a long disease, and her father at the same time, and was prone to depression as an isolated poet/ writer much of her life. She also spent time at a monastery, and refers to acedia as the monks’ chief “occupational hazard.” Often she notes the necessity of manual work and prayer, as the antidote. Some of her insights along the journey:

 

A crucial distinction between depression and acedia is that the former implies a certain level of anguish over one’s condition, while in the latter it remains a matter of indifference.

 

Evagrius Ponticus, 4th c. Christian monk: “When we meet with the demon of acedia, it is time with tears to divide our soul in two. One part is to encourage; the other is to be encouraged.”

 

Bonhoffer wrote, “We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts…How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?”

 

Martin Luther exhorted a friend to fight like hell against melancholy: “You must be resolute, bid yourself defiance, and say to yourself wrathfully, No matter how unwilling you are to live, you are going to live and like it! This is what God wants….”

 

Kierkegaard wrote in Either/Or, “If I were to wish for something, I would wish not for wealth or power but for the passion of possibility, for the eye, eternally young and ardent, that sees possibility everywhere.”

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