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Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ Paperback – June 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A former clergyman in the Church of England, Reverend Mark Townsend now leads his own inclusive and ecumenical ministry that nourishes a strong appreciation for the diversity of faith beyond Christianity, and which strives to honor the divine in all people, regardless of their faith, culture, sexuality or background.

A priest of the Open Episcopal Church and member of the Progressive Christian Alliance, in addition to being a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the author has been featured on the BBC and several other news programs throughout Britain. He is the author of The Gospel of Falling Down, and Jesus Outside the Box (O Books). He lives in Hereford, England.

Find out more at: http://www.marktownsendministry.co.uk.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (June 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738721913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738721910
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Andrew on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Be warned. This book is trouble. Not least because the author, Reverend Mark Townsend, has a nasty habit of being reasonable when provoked.

When Christian authors address a modern Pagan readership, they are supposed to state that we are well-meaning people in search of the Sacred. Those of a more fundamentalist stripe may go so far as to concede, amusingly, that we don't consciously engage in devil-worship. By the end of their essay, however, they will have told us that we are worshiping the Creation rather than the Creator. They will have suggested that Wicca in particular can be a gateway to other, more sinister forms of occultism.

Most of all, they will have stated clearly that Jesus is the ONLY way (John 14:6).

Thus, the author goes away content in the knowledge that they have fulfilled their `Great Commission' to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to unbelievers, and Pagans go away expressing their distaste for those who proselytise. Prejudices are reinforced, and everyone stays happy.

That is the way it is supposed to work.

Christian authors are not supposed to confess their outright attraction to earth-based spiritualities. They are certainly NOT supposed to use words like `Churchianity' to describe the shortcomings of their faith.

And it gets worse. Reverend Mark Townsend has collected essays by Pagan authors, leaders and interfaith representatives, inviting them to give their opinions of Jesus. People like Emma Restall-Orr, Maxine Sanders, Joyce Higginbotham, Janet Farrar, and Raven Grimassi.

The hide of the man!

In Townsend's words:

"...
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Mcclellan on May 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mark Townsend's new book, "Jesus Through Pagan Eyes" begins with a bit of a departure for this master storyteller. In Part One, Mark undertakes to introduce the reader to a Jesus seldom found in the institutional church; one bereft of the theological baggage heaped upon him by centuries of churchianity. Mark skillfully and convincingly weaves oft-forgotten wisdom from early church leaders with modern Historical Jesus scholarship and concepts from the Pagan and Druidic traditions into a beautiful tapestry of both the person of Jesus and the Christ- consciousness that he exhibited. This is a Jesus simultaneously stripped down to a beautiful soul-friend and elevated to an incarnation of love and grace that we can all aspire to emulate. Freed from the ideological shackles of the tradition-laden church is found a Jesus that we should all find. In Parts Two and Three Mark gives way to respected Pagan leaders and invites them to share their own insights and feelings about Jesus in the form of essays and interviews. Whereas Part One was a scholarly yet accessible examination of theological or Christological concepts interspersed with personal reflections; parts two and three are deeply personal and compelling portraits of a Jesus seldom found inside the institutional church. While some of these reflections will be seen as controversial, as will the whole book; the beauty found herein is undeniable. This is a truly remarkable work, as it combines both the cerebral approach and the emotional. As a lifelong Christian and a pastor to boot; I found much wisdom and beauty in this book; and was introduced to aspects of Jesus that had never been exposed to, but found myself asking "Why did I never see this before"?
Revd. Roger McClellan, Co-Founder and Moderator of The Progressive Christian Alliance
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WitchWhisperer on July 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading (devouring!) Mark Townsend's book "Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ". And, I want more, please.

I am a Witch...and a Christian. It happens. It has taken me years to realize that there are folks out there who "get it"...who have more than just one way of seeing Jesus...who believe and accept "alternative" paths to the Divine...who try to understand. Mark's book made me feel at home, somehow.

Scholars, Christians, Pagans, and those who whisper and float and sift themselves back and forth through the veil can all read and learn and enjoy the beautiful way that Mark has succeeded in educating and entertaining us. His connection with some of the greatest and most respected teachers and elders of the Pagan world led to many revealing and brilliant interviews...and elicited insights and deeply personal stories that were inspirational and thought-provoking.

I believe that anyone who reads this book will appreciate Mark's warmth, charm, and accepting nature...they shine through on every page, with every interview, and are reflected in the respect and honesty accorded him by those whose remarkable relationships with (or without) Jesus he has captured in between the covers of this work.

Yes...more, please!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By StarGazingAwe on June 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before reading this book I had many questions that couldn't be answered by sheer logic, faith, or any one approach, even when trying to totally engage with another's beliefs. It was like trying to put a many-piece puzzle together without knowing what the final picture would look like. Until now, I had figured out the enormous 'borrowing' that the Abrahamic religions had done from their earth-based Pagan roots. Never-mind demonizing those roots along the way in the name of politics, power and assets. Don't get me wrong, mine is a Christian upbringing of sorts, scared to death of the 'evil' departures from the church (as taught by the church).

Then, along comes 'Jesus Through Pagan Eyes' (after having gotten well into reading some of the other works by the Pagan elders highlighted in sections 2 and 3). First Mark Townsend dissects (creates a trinity!) Jesus into 3 parts: the human guy who lived; the Christ of the church and doctrine; and the universal or "cosmic" Jesus. Okay- now I get a lot of it because in 3 buckets it makes more sense: the flesh & blood who walked the earth and is part of history; the stories, canon, rules, and stuff that gets you in trouble when you can't help but stray; and the universal that makes sense to those who study eastern philosophy, or like me, believe that "God" (or the "Source") is bigger than our religions. "Who" gets to be "right"?-- LOTS of wars have been fought over this, huh? Well maybe (just maybe) there is isn't just "one" "right," and Mark Townsend has found a way to raise the question, without alienating bunches of people (and on purpose). The common threads are there if one looks as he does in this book (pgs.
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