- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Resource Publications (OR) (29 March 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1620323656
- ISBN-13: 978-1620323656
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots Paperback – Import, 29 Mar 2013
'''In Healing the Divide', Amos Smith's fresh perspective preserves the integrity of the Christian mystical epicenter from contamination from both the Christian hard right and the sometimes rudderless new age.''
--Cynthia Bourgeault, author of ''The Wisdom Jesus''
''This is a foundational work written in a style that will be respected by scholars--yet easily accessible to ordinary Christians and would-be seekers. The Jesus Paradox revealed in ''Healing the Divide'' is needed for the foundational reform and reformulation of the Christian message.''
--From the Afterword by Richard Rohr
''Read 'Healing the Divide' and eat the mystery. It's a check-up call to your identity and mission.''
--From the Foreword by Leonard Sweet, author of ''I Am a Follower''
''This is the most balanced treatment of Jesus I have ever seen. Maybe this book can alleviate the polarizing madness afflicting Western Christianity today.''
--Ken Barnes, UCC Pastor
''Amos Smith writes about the incarnation with great enthusiasm. His work is commendable!''
--William Meninger, Benedictine Monk and author of Julian of Norwich
''This is the clearest and most accessible treatment of Oriental Orthodox Christology I have seen by a Western author.''
--Abba Yohannes, Ethiopian Orthodox Monk
''This book is written by a Contemplative Mainline Protestant, foreworded by an Evangelical, with an afterword by a Progressive Catholic. And it's about Oriental Orthodox Mysticism! That's a new breed of ecumenism!''
--Sandra Casey-Martus, Episcopal Priest --Wipf and Stock Publishers
About the Author
Amos Smith (DMin, Chicago Theological Seminary) is a pastor in the United Church of Christ (UCC).
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I am not a Christian, and so I did not read this work as a call to arms, but there are many themes in it that powerfully resonate. The progressive, inclusive vision is most welcome. As a Jew by birth, Christianity has always been associated in the most reptilian part of my brain with persecution (strange how this state of affairs has manifested, since Christians should most profoundly understand the nature of persecution). Despite having long studied comparative religion, and with a deep love and respect for the mystical tradition embodied by people like St. John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Poirete and Thomas Merton, to name but a few, still that ancient-bred predisposition, reinforced by the actual dealings – and exclusivity - of many Christian institutions in response to the Other, has continued to generate fear. Many others (sensing that they have been deemed Others) feel as I do, and so the author's message of inclusiveness is extremely important.
The particular, Miaphysite mystical tradition that is presented in this book is new to me and quite compelling. As an outsider, I can see how the approach it represents could become a third way, a rallying banner that could heal the divide within the Christian body-politic between conservative and liberal.
And, as one who practices Zen meditation (which may take a number of forms), I see many parallels with the forms of silent prayer presented.
And I found resonance, in my practice with others, with the Quaker practice of speaking and listening from the heart, so deeply that one may on occasion be opened up, the scales falling from one’s eyes.
I also find the balance between inner and outer practice, between silent prayer and compassionate action in the world, to be laudatory.
To be honest here, at first I had some trouble with the author's take on fundamentalism. I thought it a bit harsh and over-stated, maybe even somewhat blaming. The more I read the book, though, the more I began to understand what it is that he dislikes and couldn't help but convey to the reader. I could say, the problem he sees is when form overtakes spiritual process, where rigid beliefs hinder rather than grow an intimate spiritual life. Seeking God is where one is able to find a living relationship with Him takes a letting go of the prior barriers. Fundamentalism can be part of any rigid religious stance that fails to embrace the Jesus Paradox and consequently, it will fail to change the heart. Past and present, spiritual life really is about Jesus. This is not the only area I would not see the same as Smith, but I can say that I truly appreciate his presentation of something so important and life-changing rich that we all would do well to pay attention to it. I enjoyed reading "Healing the Divide" and believe Smith is opening a door to help facilitate an awareness to real enlivening through Jesus which is offered freely to the church of Jesus Christ and to the world.