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Jesus Brand Spirituality: He Wants His Religion Back Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 27, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 27, 2008
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This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Wilson is senior pastor of a Vineyard Church in Michigan. Active in national evangelical environmental initiatives, his church is noted for serving the poor and exploring contemplative prayer disciplines, serving as online host to The Divine Hours. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849920531
  • ASIN: B002YNS37S
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,081,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Wilson was born and raised in Detroit, is the father of six, grandfather of another six, and is married to Rev. Julia Huttar Bailey. Ken received a B.S.N. from the University of Michigan; before entering the pastorate, he worked in community mental health.

Ken is the author of several books, including Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer (Thomas Nelson 2010); and most recently A Letter To My Congregation: An Evangelical Pastor's Path to Embracing Those Who are Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Into the Company of Jesus (ReadTheSpirit, 2014).

Ken was the founding pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, served for seven years on the national board of Vineyard USA, and is now on the national advisory board for Blue Ocean Faith. Ken is active in national evangelical environmental initiatives and efforts to open a new dialog between people of faith and science. He is a BioLogos grant recipient.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Conservative or liberal, nondenominational or mainline, I think most of us have a sense that the church in North America is in a bit of an identity crisis. And it this point, the jury's still out as to how it will emerge from this time of transition.

Everyone has there opinion as to what the church needs to be and do. In the end, my prayer is that it is books like this one that shape the conversation. For one thing, even as it remains deeply committed to the path of Christ, there's a real spirit of generosity to Wilson's work. He has engaged other Christian traditions, not in attempt to prove where they're wrong, but to learn. And he's learned much.

And, like any good pastor, he demonstrates an ability to present his learning in a way that's accessible and compelling for others. The book in fact enters into heavy duty theological territory. But you hardly know it because of how engagingly and incisively Wilson navigates through it.
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Format: Hardcover
It seems like just 15 or so years ago, the term "Christian Spirituality" would have been met with some raised eyebrows and perhaps an incredulous stare or two. That Wilson uses three often culturally confusing words in his title: Jesus, Spirituality, & Religion--- is a hint toward the kind of unpacking and clarifying that he does in the pages between the covers of this refreshing and helpful book. Refreshing, because it feels like a breath of fresh air to read a book that takes the corruption of the Jesus brand to task, yet offers gracious understanding for the messiness that it has been these past 2000 or so years since Jesus launched a movement. He says that "Jesus is a presence distinct from the religion that represents him. We are drawn to him (or not) for reasons that deny easy explanation. But being drawn to Jesus doesn't necessarily mean buying the package of faith as defined by those with the biggest bullhorn..."
Wilson writes from the perspective of a self professed non-recovering Jesus Freak from the late 1960's which makes me think that when Ken Wilson says that "Jesus brand spirituality" is the path a pilgrim might take that is earthy, mystical, and curious---I believe him. The believability of his storied life and the storied life of "brand Jesus" as they mingle together with the cultural shifts of the past 30 or so years is refreshing too. In short, it is refreshing to hear a baby boomer admit the difficulties of the American church while at the same time not willing to draw a fresh new bath of water and get a new baby, if I may stretch the metaphor a bit.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an original presentation of the Jesus path by a pastor who does his own thinking, often in pictures and near poetry:

"the world is a mystical playground where life seemed to blossom wherever [Jesus] went" . . . "something as deep as the ocean seems to be awakened within us" . . . "heaven is what happens when all our connections here on earth light up with love" . . . "open your eyes and your heart toward the wonder that the world is an expression of" . . . "what is the fire in the equation by which the universe came into being?"

But it's not all pictures and poetry. There is solid content for deep thinking, as in his exploration of how we know what we know, and his probing the different biblical views of the atonement, especially the substitutionary one.

Orthodox in belief, Wilson arrives at his conclusions in his own original and thoughtful ways. He reclaims and continues his own fresh journey begun in the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and 70s, distinguishing it from more dogmatic approaches to the right and left. He is a centrist who, similar to Richard Foster in Streams of Living Water, maps current Christianity in several great traditions and sees the Spirit moving separated believers toward the center where all the treasures blend and wonderful things happen. Jesus is the great treasure buried in the messy field of religion. We are not to worry about the destiny of people of other faiths who will never hear of Jesus. We have heard, and our task as pilgrim believers is to take one step closer to knowing him.

Writing with an evangelist's heart, Wilson deplores mean-spiritedness in religion and anything else that puts people off from moving toward Jesus. "We should bristle less and listen more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two important caveats, that may draw you in or cause you to skip this review: The Wilson is a self-professed "Jesus freak" and I am an atheist. That being said, I was still curious because of the refreshing messages that Wilson's church, Vineyard, had on their website. I have spiritual people in my life and in my family, and I am always happy to direct them toward something that I find to be intelligent as well as appealing to their religious sensibilities. This is such a book.

Not the entire book, but passages and the last few chapters were dense with raised questions and suggestions for approaches to those questions; mainly that we each need to find our own answers, while knowing that we will never be 100% right, and realizing that we are, in fact, part of communities in which we are invested (social capital).

A few interesting passages then my own experience.

"The closer you get to knowing..., the less you feel that you actually know." Wilson - spends a few pages on this, making notable philosophical observations on this apparently clear statement. If you believe it, you will agree, and if you don't, you may be convinced.

"God is love, properly understood." Wilson - he explains this in a lot of detail, and in a thoughtful way.

" 'The one who fears is not made perfect in love.' " 1 John 4:16 - Wilson makes a few possible interpretations, then warns of the dangers in assuming that our interpretation is the correct one, when there is no way to say so definitively.

No, I was not converted, nor had a spiritual experience; but I found myself applying his questions to my own beliefs, and noting that for some important ones that I should put more thought into why I think certain things.
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