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I am a new member and thought some of you may be interested in the book "Integral Christianity" by Paul R. Smith. These paragraphs are excerpts of my posting from the Introduce Yourself forum:

 

Over the years I've continued to read both Buddhist and Christian books - reading a few of Ken Wilber's books; most of the books by Marcus Borg, A.H. Almaas, Michael Morwood, Cynthia Bourgeault, Tom Harpur, Jim Marion; and some of Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, John Dominic Crossan, Robin Meyers, Bart Ehrman, John Cobb, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, Robert Mesle, Acharya S/D.M. Murdock, Eckhart Tolle, Barrie Wilson, Diarmuid O'Murchu, Thomas Merton, Denis Genpo Merzel, Elaine Pagels, John Shelby Spong, Brock and Parker, and many others.

 

I am an avid book reader, but I keep running out of shelf space! I order all my books online as the prices are significantly less. I use Amazon.ca (Canada), Chapters.ca (Canada) and The BookDepository.com (UK), but before buying anything I check reviews on Amazon.com (USA). One of the nice things about Amazon is that further related books based on one's initial search appear and I believe that may be where I first noticed the book "Integral Christianity" by Paul R. Smith and checked out it's reviews.

 

When I read Paul Smith's book "Integral Christianity" I finally found a place to hang my hat. For those of you that may be interested here is a copy of the book review I left with the online book sellers I noted above:

 

"Integral Christianity by Paul R. Smith is by far the best book I have ever read for someone who has become disenchanted with the supernatural aspects of religion and the doctrine of atonement still advocated by most mainline churches, but still believes in God and the example of Jesus.

 

Integral Christianity advocates an adult faith. I like the fact that rather than spending significant text outlining all the negative aspects of mainline churches, Smith's book is upbeat and positive and written in easy straight forward language.

 

For those of you who have spent much time and effort searching other religions hoping to find a heartfelt alternative, Integral Christianity can give you that while retaining your Christian historical and cultural heritage."

Edited by Monty
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Welcome Monty,

 

I am glad that you have joined us.

 

I 'liked' the Beams and Struts people so I see their posts on my wall and have read a couple articles regarding things integral. I have my moments when I am infatuated with all the structures and levels and the 'Myers-Briggs' like attempts to describe our varieties. Integral thinking seems to have the same trap as any outline of human development: it is hard not to see the steps or levels as value-ladened. Even Fowler's stages of faith development. It is hard not to judge concrete thinkers and it is a weakness of PCs.. I think integral thinking tries to honor all stages as do other systems.

 

An article by a woman who considered that she was at an integral level - I have a problem with that. Can you be integral if you claim it? wouldn't being at that level be like grace: it's gone when you grasp it! - back to her article. She, an unbeliever, was asked unexpectedly to take a role in a Christian drama in church. She talked about how she honored and inhabited the role. If her use of integral thinking helped her do that well, then good.

 

I couldn't find a useful positive link to things Integral and Christian. If you have one please share. So much of this stuff tends not to be open source :(

 

http://www.beamsandstruts.com/

 

Dutch

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Hi Dutch,

 

The Beams and Struts people are new to me so I've bookmarked them for future reference. I remember during my working career doing the Myers-Briggs tests but was hung up on whether I considered my self introverted or extroverted. After the test our boss had us split into introvert and extrovert groups for some discussion and I sat with the introverts. Our boss (very extrovered) indicated I should move into the extrovert area as I was definitely not introverted. So like everything one is a mix and hard borders are a falicy.

 

I found Smith's book very enjoyable to read because in my eyes it gave meaning to the progression of religion from narrow to wide.

 

"Can you be integral if you claim it? wouldn't being at that level be like grace: it's gone when you grasp it!" At this stage in my thinking I would agree that claiming to be at the integral level may prove that you're not. On the other hand, if one feels at home with Wilber's philosophy and Smith's use of it for Chrsitianity, it's a level one can see religion moving towards and in that sense calling themselves "Integral" is fine. In the same sense a local church is called Grace United, but it's doubtful if all it's members are in a state of grace.

 

BTW - I find not only do my fingers not use the keyboard for spelling as well as they had, but my brain doesn't spell as well either. Is there a spell checker in the reply window? I can't find it.

 

EDIT1: Other than Smith's book I haven't found much else on Integral Christianity either. I found one web site but I didn't find it quite in the same vein. As a new label "integral" would mean different things to different groups.

 

EDIT2: Smith indicated in his book that "Integral Consciousness" by Steve McIntosh was a great adjunct read. I have the book, but haven't read it yet. At the moment I'm almost finished Spong's "Why Christianity Must Cahnge or Die" with "A New Christianity for a New World" queued up next. (I know - long overdue to be read LOL)

Edited by Monty
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Monty,

I use a spell checker that is integral to my Google chrome browser that works in my reply window. One can also paste from a utility or word processor that has its own spellchecker. I think Internet explorer also has an add on spellchecker that will work in our reply window but i don;t remember for sure as i don't use IE.

 

Joseph

 

PS . Yes IE does have an add on spell checker but it is not automatic and has to be invoked on the toolbar to start and stop it. Just tried it.

Edited by JosephM
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"Can you be integral if you claim it? wouldn't being at that level be like grace: it's gone when you grasp it!" At this stage in my thinking I would agree that claiming to be at the integral level may prove that you're not. On the other hand, if one feels at home with Wilber's philosophy and Smith's use of it for Chrsitianity, it's a level one can see religion moving towards and in that sense calling themselves "Integral" is fine. In the same sense a local church is called Grace United, but it's doubtful if all it's members are in a state of grace.

 

After thinking on this a bit more I think a person would know if they were "integral" or not, but I find it unlikely that someone at the integral level would make a statement to that effect.

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