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Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind Hardcover – October 18, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471457078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471457077
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The dean of San Francisco's Episcopal cathedral opens his new book with a gauntlet-throwing epigraph from James Baldwin: "[W]hoever wishes to become a truly moral being... must first divorce himself from all the prohibitions, crimes [and] hypocrisies of the Christian Church." So begins one of our day's great statements of liberal Protestantism. For Jones, religion is a love affair, a great story, an experience to be shared with community—not a creed to nitpick and defend. Jones invites spiritual seekers to "reimagine" Christianity. Who was Jesus? A "broken and ruined man" who asks us to live as though each day were our last and to "possess nothing." And what about Mary? How are we to make sense of her perpetual virginity? Jones muses, "Mary is a book we can read.... Don't get caught in the sticky mess of doctrinal controversy. Just look." The Trinity, he says, is not fuzzy math, but a radical statement about community. Jones is not only innovative but erudite. He draws on novels by Nick Hornby and John Updike; he laces his text with musings on Emily Dickinson and John Wayne. Indeed, with his literary flair, his emphasis on community and practice and his sharp-edged liberalism, Jones reads like a cross between Lawrence Kushner and John A.T. Robinson. This book is a winner, both charitable and bold.
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From Booklist

Religious faith, Jones says, shouldn't be so much a refuge from the realities of the world as a launching pad for our imaginations. The dean of San Francisco's Grace (Episcopal) Cathedral begins by wondering whether there is a future for faith and concludes that there is, but that faith could be much more meaningful to a greater number of people if religion would shed its adherences to exclusionary, tribal attitudes and strict, dogmatic thinking. Focusing on Christianity, but hurling bouquets and brickbats at all the major religions, Jones doesn't demonize organized religion, nor does he stand up as its loudest cheerleader. Targeting primarily lapsed Catholics, atheists, and the simply lost, he abstracts their by now extremely familiar stories of religion gone bad and actually draws strength for his thesis from such straying believers' damaged faith. No complainer, he proposes ways to reimagine Christianity by embracing those who think differently and releasing notions of dogma as containing the answers to all the questions now and forevermore. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Ann on December 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Christianity took a wrong turn somewhere back and is painfully broken. This is not a book of blame but a book about redemption. The world is changing and there is an opportunity to begin again and reimage the story of our faith. This book is confirmation that there is movement in our society towards a maturing faith that lives out of the inclusive love of Jesus, not the exclusive shame of the church. Read it only if you have faith enough to question history, theology and tradition.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Hochwalt on June 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan Jones, Dead of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is a refreshing example of a Christian clergyman. He seeks and finds the essence of Christianity buried under centuries of dogmas and creeds. He believes that we must use our heart and imagination to resuscitate the message and meaning of Jesus. Literalism and scientism can be deadly, especially, to the soul.

One of the chapters that I especially like was "The God-Shaped Space in Our Hearts". "The hole in the soul is never fully filled. Even my friends who are skeptics and would call themselves atheists (often out of self-defense) are rather like the Dublin taxi driver, who when asked if he believed in leprechauns, 'Of course not, but they're there just the same!'"

Jones is a traditionalist in that he still loves The Creed, The Eucharist, holy water, angels and the liturgy. They nourish the heart. And it is the heart and love which is at the center of our quest for God.

Jones picks out three aspects of Christianity that he suggests could be the focus of a re-vitalization, a re-imaging of the faith: "Jesus the Broken Man," "Mary, the Pregnant Life," and "Trinity Means Communion."

Jones believes Christianity, if seen rightly and compassionately is a faith for "Everybody". "The coming of Jesus as both Baby and Judge offers access to God for all, including and especially those who have no claim of moral or spiritual privilege --- the unqualified. The God of Jesus is the God who sends rain on the just and the unjust, who loves everybody --- even the desperately wicked."

Oh, I forgot: Jones is an engaging writer possessing humor, a knack for words, fine use of anecdotes and quotes from everywhere.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Stockton on March 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan Jones has written a book that invites us to take ownership of the Christian path, which he descibes as a living process rather than a proscribed set of rules. Our minds, our creativity, and our compassion are all tools for encountering Christ, and for a lifelong exploration of what it means to be Christian today, both in our fractured world and within our fractured Church. This is a book for people who are interested in commitment, community, and transformation, both internally and externally.
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