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Integral Christianity: The Spirit's Call to Evolve Paperback – August 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Integral Christianity is an absolutely superb application of Integral Theory in all its dimensions to Christianity itself, resulting in a truly Integral Christianity.  This book is highly recommended for not only individuals of any major religion, but also for agnostics and atheists looking to make sense of ultimate issues and absolute realities.  The answers to many of your questions can be found here!" (Ken Wilber, The Integral Vision)

"Clarifying, honest, courageous, and genuinely helpful. All sincere believers and seekers should welcome this book." (Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, founder of the center for Action and Contemplation, author of Things Hidden)

"Paul Smith gives us a fine book on integral Christianity. It speaks directly to Christians as well as other religious persons everywhere. Highly recommended." (Allan Combs, author of Consciousness Explained Better and Radiance of Being)

"So far as I am aware, this is the first attempt to systematically apply Wilber's integral paradigm to Christian faith and practice. It works not only because he understands Wilber very well, but because he knows Christianity like the back of his's triply credible because of the joy and luminosity of his being that shines through on every page." (Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, author of The Wisdom Jesus)

Book Description

This book presents a model of Christianity that incorporates the insights of a Jesus-centered theology of biblical interpretation and integral philosophy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Paragon House; 1 edition (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557788006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557788009
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a life-long follower of Jesus Christ, a teacher, author, and retired pastor of Broadway Church in Kansas City, serving there for forty-nine years. During that time the church experienced significant on-going change, becoming nationally recognized as a pioneer in small groups, contemporary worship, team leadership, justice issues, progressive theology, church renewal, and spiritual formation. After years of attempted expulsion, the church was finally dismissed from the Southern Baptist Convention in 2007 for performing gay unions. I created a workshop on spiritual gifts which is used around the world and translated into Spanish, German, and Portuguese. I delivered the 1988 Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Series at William Jewell College and was given the GLAAD Leadership Award in 1995. I have taught extensively on spirituality in many churches, schools, and groups around the country including St. Paul Methodist School of Theology, Unity Ministerial School, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Writing for numerous publications including Tikkun, with numerous reviews of my life and books and interviews on radio, television, and the internet, I am a regular writer for the Integral Life website. I currently present workshops around the country on Integral Christianity while working on my next book. I'd be interested in hearing from you at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Tom on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In a universe " constructed as to know itself..." what does it matter that the sun and stars no longer turn around the earth when the purpose of creation is unfolding within the evolution of consciousness. Integral Christianity is not a small theology existing within the cracks of the modern world view. It has the power and vision to once again fill the public square, to reintegrate the individual, culture, and the known world. It joins the inner space of mystics, the experience of God, and the frontiers of science. A new consciousness makes possible a new world. It portends the next great age of Christian renewal.

This is a book about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. A Christian book written by a Christian man, Paul Smith, a Minister of 40 plus years. It is also a deeply informed book about spiritual experience, the mystical traditions, spirit and evolution, a descended and transcended God, and above all else, human identity. It is prophetically engaged with the timeless past and the endless future, and the still evolving Christian Church. It is optimistic and promising. And there is something here to offend most everyone.

This is not so much a theological work as it is a description of the Christian church in its many different forms. The point of view is from the coming Integral Church. The work is almost entirely free of theological and scholarly cant. It is meant to be accessible. Still, it is not a simple work; it demands much of the reader. Smith is not participating in the usual conversation between competing versions of Christianity, the now so familiar contest between fundamentalism and the more modern versions of the faith; rather, he is trying to move forward a largely new conversation.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By David M Carter on April 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Giving a book three stars can either mean you thought the whole thing was just OK, or that you have gone and got yourself into an intense love-hate relationship with it. As you may guess from the length of this review, I find myself in the latter situation.

"Integral Christianity" is an important book, not least because it's the highest-profile attempt so far to frame the world's numerically largest religion within today's best known full-spectrum philosophy of consciousness, Ken Wilber's integral theory. The author has nearly half a century of experience as pastor of the same church in Kansas City, so as you might expect, the emphasis is practical and experiential rather than academic. How well has he succeeded in proposing something that is both truly integral and authentically Christian?

The task Smith has set himself is not an easy one, because despite Wilber's model being the theoretical framework used in Centering Prayer, one of the two leading contemporary Western expressions of the Christian contemplative tradition, Wilber himself is a Buddhist, and draws much more on Eastern religion in his work. His book "Integral Spirituality", for example, only mentions Christianity in passing; a surprising silence, one might think, given that both Wilber himself and most of his readers live in cultures where Christianity is very much the dominant faith. One is entitled to wonder, then, whether an integral Christianity is even possible, and Smith's book is a valuable attempt to find out.

And there's certainly lots to like about it. It's engagingly and clearly written, the author comes across as a genuine and very likeable person, and for those coming from a Christian background it's mostly a good introduction to Wilber's system.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Don on February 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, that Spirit will guide you into all truth. I think Jesus had this book in mind when those words were spoken, these were the first words that came to my awareness when I set down to write this review. If you think they are too strong in referencing a book, I encourage you to read Integral Christianity, then you will see where I am coming from.

For the last several years, I have sensed the Spirit giving me thoughts that have been beyond my previous biblical interpretations and understandings. As those now differ with many of my long-term soul mates, Integral Christianity has given an acceptance to me. I trust it would be the same for anyone who has "opened the box" in their seeking and may feel "alone". But, the book is not just about having a right theology. It also offers helpful suggestions to having direct spiritual experiences with God! In so doing it helps me to see who I really am in the very center of my being.

Also, I am so impressed with the emphasis within the book to see with loving acceptance, the validity of all those who are on different paths. One may be in what is considered to be a very fundamental church or in the most far-out community there is. But all are to be seen as part of the same body with each having its own valuable contribution.

Wow, a book that is focused on following Jesus while it gives acceptance as it encourages seeking, learning, growing, experiencing. Along with living in inclusiveness, now this is SOME book.

Don, a seeker
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