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ICS publishes a quarterly online journal, En Christo: A Journal for a New Christianity, that includes book reviews and commentary relevant to a re-visioning of what it means to be Christian.

En Christo Archive

Peace Memo, a news and info letter is available by email to all participants in ICS programs and other interested persons.

Peace Memo Archive

Institute for Christian Spirituality (ICS)

This Institute was formed in 1988 under the direction of its founder, James L. Foster, a Christian mystic and theologian.  It’s publishes En Christo: A Journal for a New Christianity, an online quarterly (available free to those who request it) It also facilitates occasional workshops on various aspects of Christian Spirituality such as centering prayer, dream analysis, gifts for ministry and spiritual eldering.

We understand Christian spirituality to be the practice of the presence of God in daily life.  As such it includes both the mundane and the mystical dimensions of Christian faith and practice.

(Click on title for review)

Baigent, Michael.  The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History -- That Baigent is intent on exposing and excoriating the Roman Catholic Church is evident early on by his detailed descriptions of that church’s sins of the past.  But since Catholic history and Christian history is the same history for the first fifteen or so centuries following the crucifixion of Jesus, Baigent’s expose’ strikes at the heart of all Christendom.  But is it true? 

Bartlett, Anthony W.  VIRTUALLY CHRISTIAN: How Christ Changes Human Meaning and Makes Creation New -- Dr. Bartlett has achieved in Virtually Christian a decidedly new approach to understanding the meaning of the life and death of Jesus for the world of the 21st century.  He has drawn on a wide variety of sources to support his thesis that the game-changing role of Jesus for contemporary (and all other) societies is that through his act of forgiveness for his executioners as he was hanging on the cross, he initiated an evolutionary change from the ubiquitous culture of violence enveloping the world to a movement towards equally ubiquitous non-violence.

Boff, Leonardo.  Passion of Christ, Passion of the World.-- “Death is vanquished when it ceases to be the terrifying specter that prevents us from living and proclaiming the truth.” 

Borg, Marcus J. and John Dominic Crossan. The Last Week: the Day-By-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem. -- Ultimately, the Christian has to answer two questions: Do you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? And: What are you going to do about it? Or, as Borg and Crossan ask it: Do you accept Jesus as your political Lord and Savior?

Brown, Robert McAfee.  Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the Great Fallacy.  -- Brown systematically attacks the Great Fallacy, demolishes it, and brings the reader to a challenging understanding that piety and feeding the poor are together one act of spirituality, that the inner life and community life of the faithful are in the end the same thing.  Further, in a very well-handled paradox, he shows that neither is meaningful without the other.

Campolo, Anthony. The Power Delusion -- a powerful testament that the living Christ is mystically present in every person that we meet.  “I believe that every person is an agent through whom Jesus wants to express his love to me….I believe he is trying to love me through that person, even as he expects me to love him in that person….Sin takes place when the person refuses to allow the love of God to flow through his life into mine.”

Claiborne, Shane. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. (Zondervan, 2006). A review by Edward T. Sullivan -- Claiborne is able to skewer the insulation of suburban living and "safe Christianity," and the hypocrisy of wealthy churches without sounding self-righteous. Readers may find Claiborne's chatty, conversational style annoying at times, but his deep commitment to the social gospel is genuinely inspiring. The Irresistible Revolution will challenge readers to rethink what it means to truly live out their Christian faith.

Dorr, Donal.  Spirituality and Justice. -- It has been said that whatever failure is assigned the church today, the essential failure is not in commitment or purpose, but in analysis.  To do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason are ineffective means to questionable ends.  Some such resource as Spirituality and Justice is necessary to know where and how the church stands in the world today.

Jersak, Brad and Michael Hardin, eds.  Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ -- This may well be the most important book in the area of Christian theology to have been written for decades.  Its approach to understanding the  atonement offers compelling alternatives to the penal substitution and satisfaction theories of the atonement and resolves theological dilemmas that have been with us ever since Anselm.  (This review will be in next issue of En Christo)

Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. “The ‘real Jesus’ is…the one who through the Spirit replicates in the lives of believers faithful obedience to God and loving service to others. (This review will be in the next issue of En Christo.)

Lauck, Marcia S. and Deborah Koff Chapin.  At the Pool of Wonder:  Dreams and Visions of an Awakening Humanity.-- The vision of a new humanity this collaboration brings to us may well point us to a new vision of Christianity, a Christianity that calls us to live into the mystery of God’s incarnation in each one of us. 

Nouwen, Henri. The Road to Daybreak:  A Spiritual Journey -- Most of us expect that if we discern the Lord’s will and follow it life will somehow become smoother and more pleasant.  Nouwen writes, “It is a dark agony.  It is following Jesus to a completely unknown place.  It is being emptied out on the cross and having to wait for new life in naked faith.” 

Rubenstein, Richard E. When Jesus Became God:  The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome -- If we have learned anything from the past, it should be that one’s beliefs cannot be changed by violence.  Truth is neither validated nor invalidated by coercion, political power, theological wrangling, or ecclesiastical mandates.  Rubenstein’s very readable, detailed and well-documented account can serve well as a reminder of our past and of the highly tenuous theological conclusions we have inherited. 

Shepherd, J. Barrie.  A Child Is Born: Meditations for Advent and Christmas.-- A Child Is Born focuses our attention on the pattern God has woven for each of us.  With our increased self-awareness we are faithfully invited into a deeper openness to Christ’s perpetual coming.  This poignant, dandy, meaningful book reminds me of nothing so much as the affirmation of Julian of Norwich that “all will be well, all will be well and all manner of things will be well.”  This is a book to which I shall return regularly.

Spong, John Shelby.  A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born.  -- Spong argues that “traditional faith as we usually conceive it is sorely limited, with outmoded beliefs that take a toll on human life.”

Taylor, Daniel.  The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian and the Risk of Commitment The New Testament is the handbook for action, the what-to-do, and the how-to-do-it manual.  It is also conclusive evidence that Jesus was a reflective.  He found value in the questing use of the mind.  He doubted a lot of things.  He doubted that upon his return he would find faith in the world.  He doubted key elements of Old Testament law and its interpretation.  And he was sympathetic with Thomas, a doubter.  Finally, as Taylor notes, he doubted that God the Father, his Father, was still with him.

(Click on title for article)

Foster, James L. "Following Jesus" in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Timmerman, Don "Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Sherer, Michael L. "New Slant on Angry God Atonement Theory" in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Foster, James L. "Love Is Something We Are" in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Keltner, Dacher "The Power Paradox" in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Foster, James L. "Goodbye Old World, Hello New" in EC, Vol. 2 #1

Foster, James L. On the Search for Truth in EC, Vol. 1, #1

Foster, James L. The Inspiration of Scripture in EC, Vol. 1, #3

Foster, James L. Loving with the Love of Jesus, #1: Love Is a Gift of God”  in EC, Vol.1, #1

Foster, James L. Loving with the Love of Jesus, #2: All Love Is of God in EC, Vol. 1, #2

Foster, James L. Loving with the Love of Jesus, #3, Love Is a Commission in EC, Vol. 1, #3

Foster, James L.Loving with the Love of Jesus, #4: Love Is a Decision to Express the Love of God, to Allow Our Barriers to Fall”  in EC Vol 1, #4

Foster, James L. ."A Commentary on the WCI Creed"

Hardin, Michael.  Finding Our Way Home:  A Brief Note on the Authority and Interpretation of Scripture in EC Vol 1, #4

Kusse-Wolfe, Linda. Unanswered Questions in Christian Spirituality:  Report on an Early Brain-storming, Soul-Searching Session at Institutes for Christian Spirituality in EC Vol 1, #4

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