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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

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EN CHRISTO--                                                   ХР

A Journal for a New Christianity © 
Volume 1, Number 3
3rd Quarter, 2007
James L. Foster & John Lackey, co-editors

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Publishing data: 

En Christo© is published by Institutes for the Study of Christian Spirituality (ISCS), 204 Busbee Road, Knoxville, TN 37920.  ISCS is an institute of the Peacebuilding Institute, a voluntary association dedicated to the promotion and practice of Christian spirituality through this and a variety of kindred institutes.  Subscriptions to En Christo are free and are available by email.  Print editions are not available from the publisher.  The material is copyrighted as of the date of publication, and may not be copied for commercial purposes. However, subscribers herewith have permission to make copies for personal or educational use or for sharing free of charge with others, as long as the source of the copies is fully acknowledged to the recipients. 

Submissions to En Christo may be made by email attachment only and will be reviewed by its editor promptly for potential use in the publication. Acceptance of articles submitted is solely the responsibility of the Editors.  Detailed attribution is required for all quoted material. If non-English material is used a competent translation in English must be provided.

Book and Article Reviews must include title, full name of author(s), publisher name and address, and date of publication.  Reviews may be of any length, and must include detailed attribution for any quotes included.

            Original articles should be written in English, relevant to the need or process of change in Christianity consistent with the focus of the journal and may be edited for length and grammar.  Acceptance of articles submitted is solely the responsibility of the Editor.  Detailed attribution is required for all quoted material. If non-English material is used a competent translation in English must be provided.

En Christo is published quarterly and is emailed free of charge to any who request it.  If at any time a subscriber wishes to be removed from the email list he or she may unsubscribe by notifying the Publisher at the following email address: jimsandyfoster@yahoo.com.





Editor’s Introduction.....................................................................................................................  2

Dialog and Reader Responses.................................................................................................  3


Dialogue with Jean B. Ndayizigiye, “Either God or the Ego”............................................  4

Response to Jean by editor, Jim Foster........................................................................................  5



The Inspiration of Scripture by Jim Foster................................................................................  5

Series: Some Thoughts About Global Economics From a Christian Perspective

Article #2, Compassionate Leadership, by John Lackey............................................................  8     

Series:  Loving with the Love of Jesus

 Article #3, Love Is a Commission, by James L. Foster........................................................  8


Book Reviews,

Introduction.......................................................................................................................................  10

Arraj, James.  St. John of the Cross and Dr. C. G. Jung:  Christian Mysticism in
 the Light of Jungian Psychology
............................................................................................  11   

Lauck, Marcia S. and Deborah Koff Chapin.  At the Pool of Wonder:  Dreams and
Visions of an Awakening Humanity
........................................................................................  13  

Collins, Chuck and Mary Wright, The Moral Measure of the Economy...............................  14   

Adams, Scott. God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment ..........................................................  15 

Borg, Marcus J.  and John Dominic Crossan.  The Last Week:  The Day-by-Day
Account of Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem..........................................................................  16


Editor’s Introduction:

 This is the third edition of En Christo published by the Institute for the Study of Christian Spirituality (ISCS), 204 Busbee Road, Knoxville, TN 37920.   James L. (Jim) Foster and John Lackey, both retired pastors, are co-editors.  Jim is also the Founder and President of the Institute.  John is co-director with Bob Rundle of The Institute for Spirituality and Global Economics. Our intent is to create an ongoing dialogue, with any who are interested, about the changes in Christianity that have become increasingly obvious since we entered the new millennium as well as the changes that still need to happen.  For now we will be using Jim’s personal email address, jimsandyfoster@yahoo.com, to facilitate the dialogue,

It should also be noted that the ideas expressed by each editor and by other contributors are their own.  The editors do not censor each other’s writings.

Submissions of articles and reviews and reader responses may only be sent by email attachment to jimsandyfoster@yahoo.com.   Since we do not know all of you personally, please include “En Christo” on the subject line, as otherwise we may delete your email without opening it.  By like token, if you wish to be removed from our “En Christo” email list please let us know.   We do not wish to hassle you with unwanted mail.

En Christo is a transliteration of the koine Greek for “In Christ.”  The focus of the journal is the experience of Christian discipleship interpreted in contemporary and non-theistic categories.  The journal is ecumenical, even interfaith, in its outlook and seeks common ground with lovers of God of a variety of faith traditions.

Reviews of the following books are solicited, though other books not on the list will also be given consideration based on their relevance to the focus of En Christo.  We are seeking books that open up new vistas in the way we typically think about Jesus.  All of the books listed are available from Amazon.com  or Alibris.com in either new or used copies.

Books reviewed:  As En Christo is not endowed with funds that enable it to pay for submissions (or for editors, for that matter), there is no remuneration offered for submissions of any kind.  Expenses incurred by contributors in the production of their submissions are solely their responsibility, including the purchase of books reviewed.

Dialogue is a space given to readers to converse about the issues raised by the editors and various other contributors to En Christo.  Readers are encouraged to email their responses to the writings of other readers and authors of various articles and reviews.  The editors will include your responses in the next issue.  The responses must be civil in tone and display serious intent to wrestle with the presented issues if they are to be considered for inclusion.  The editors reserve the right to edit accepted responses for length, grammar and civility. 



Reader Responses

Don Timmerman wrote:

Thank you so much for sending the En Christo newsletter.  It is very well done.  I certainly agree with much of what you wrote.  It is so refreshing to see God written as She.  It is a step in the right direction to make the Gospels more acceptable to women.  God has no sex, as you mentioned.  Thanks again.  Peace, Don

Thanks, Don.  It is nice to get positive feedback.  As you might imagine, given the controversial nature of much of the content of En Christo, I get plenty of the other kind.  Jim


 Dialogue with Jean B. Ndayizigiye, Either God or the Ego

Editor’s note: Jean B. Ndayizigiye is a native of Burundi and a survivor of the Rwandan/Burundian genocide.  He currently resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA and is working to bring peace to that troubled land. (Ambiguity intended)

Dear friends, when we listen to the voice of God, He directs our effort by telling us exactly what to do, how to do it, and when.  Unfortunately our minds are too busy by the daily activities that we sometimes forget our reason of being.   Most of the times we struggle when it comes to listen to God. It should be easy to listen to Him because we all emanate from Him.   We need to learn to calm our minds and come to God with a silent mind and ask for directions.

Through suffering and happy moments, I came across many questions: “Where do we come from? Why are we here? What do we do here on earth?  Are we real? Do we really exist? And what is real?  In the Course in Miracles one can read: “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists, and herein lies the peace of God. 

When we were born, we had only the idea of God because He created us in his image. But in growing up we pick up the idea of “ego”. An idea we carry with us and that tells us what we are and who we are” Each of us has a different social and environmental background; accordingly we have developed more or less the ego concept. The ego dominates our thinking and daily activities. Most of the times, it has replaced the idea of God in our mind.   That is why there is no peace around us.

The ego keeps telling us…

-         You are your certificate, diploma, masters, and PhD.

-         You are what you do, you are your achievement

-         You are what you have: houses, fancy automobiles, money, planes, and many other riches

-         You are disconnected from each other

-         You are disconnected from what is missing in your life and to get what you think is missing in your life, you have to compete with somebody else, often at the expense of the competitors

-         You are disconnected from God

But God, the inner voice in us, keeps telling us: “ the ego is an idea you have picked up in the social life.  It tries to take away your attention from ME.  Don’t listen to it anymore”.

-         You are not your certificate, diploma, masters, and PhD. Your certificates, your diploma, your masters, your PhD. are my blessings to achieve more to make the world you live in a better place for the generation coming after you.

-         You are not your achievements: you are not what you do, your achievements are part of my glory if they are directed toward and shared with others

-         You are not your riches. The riches you have are the means to stretch out your hearts and hands to reach out people in need.

-         You are not disconnected to each other because my son Jesus-Christ came to restore the connecting links among all my sons. My Holy Spirit maintains that link corrosion free. Don’t be afraid.

-         There is nothing missing in your life, I am in everything. If I am in everything, I am also in the things you think they are missing. Just come to me.

-         You are not disconnected from me if you accept my Son Jesus as your personal Savior. You are then what I am doing every day. You are to Me as the waves are to the ocean.

I am God, your Creator.

I am kindness; you are my shining stars on the earth.

I am beauty; in my image I created you, as beauty as I am.

I am genius; you have the same capability of doing what I am doing because you are my extension.

I am source of abundance, so be abundance to each other.

I am receptive to all, so be receptivity to all.

I am love, you are love, be more love and love and more love.

Be peace.




Response to Jean by Jim Foster, Co-editor:


Whatever one may think of the Course in Miracles, I suspect it has had a very salutary effect on Jean.  Jean has been through suffering such as most of the rest of us cannot imagine.  To have survived the Burundian genocide and to still proclaim that God is kindness and beauty and love and peace is a miracle indeed.  Yet the annals of religious history are replete with such accounts of triumph over overwhelming odds.   If by miracle we mean that which is inexplicable in any rational way, then we are not lacking for evidence of the miraculous.


Miracles have gotten a bad rap in modern, sophisticated societies, in part because of charlatans who have perpetrated fraud with arranged miracles of healing and such, but I rather think that the main reason for our disbelief is our elevation of scientific method and discourse to almost God-like status.  The truly miraculous calls for the exercise of Godly humility, a quality we have lost in our headlong rush for mastery and control of everything.  To be confronted with something for which no human explanation is available is to call into question some basic assumptions upon which we have built our sense of self and self-control.


Lives that are radically changed by the Spirit of God certainly fall into the realm of miracle.  They are living proof that there are some things we do not control, some things that have only a divine explanation.  Yet, that is the promise held out by religion.  At their best all religions open up for us the possibility of experiencing that which is beyond us.  At their deepest, as in their mystical and spiritual dimensions, religions can take us where science and rationality can never go.  It is apparent that Jean has connected to that aspect of God deep within himself which defies our most astute explanations.  Perhaps he can help deliver the rest of us from our illusions of omnipotence.                                     


The Inspiration of Scripture

By James L. Foster

If you convinced that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, or further, that God dictated it word-for-word, and if you believe that the Bible’s attestation of its inspiration is a valid criteria for judging the validity of its claim or, in addition, that the Bible’s transmission and translation has been faultless through all of the centuries since it was originally penned, and if you are so convinced of these claims that you are closed to hearing evidence to the contrary, then perhaps this article is not for you and you should move on to other articles in this issue of En Christo.  However, if your primary concern is to discover truth wherever it may lead you, or however uncomfortable it may make you feel, then read on.  But know also that the author of this article is coming from a place of deep commitment both to the person of Jesus Christ and to the study of the biblical record, a serious study that has spanned the past 55 years.

Is the Bible the inspired Word of God?  Perhaps before answering this question one should consider the various elements of this statement.  Those who make this claim are at least implicitly assigning to the word “God” a personal quality that at best is questionable.  Even though the biblical writers themselves attributed various personality characteristics to “God”, it is apparent that they, like the rest of us, struggled to describe that which is utterly indescribable.  The biblical writers of necessity had to resort to anthropomorphic language to describe God because that is the only language they knew.  The assertion of the unembodied voice coming from a burning bush, whether it was real or in a vision, proclaimed God to be “I am I am.” (Exodus 3:14) which may come closest to a description of the Creator of any to be found.  My understanding of this seemingly bizarre identification, is that God is whatever is, is Being itself, as opposed to a being.  Any lesser description than this tends to be merely a magnification of what it means to be human.  We have created God in our image as a person like us, only bigger.  With this kind of anthropomorphism it is only logical to speak of God as one who speaks, who has desires like us, who is, on occasion offended and displays human emotions like jealousy and anger and love.  How else can we speak of God? Even our pronouns attribute to God personhood   Language fails us when we try to speak of the ineffable.

So how does God as Being itself communicate?  And how can we know that it is Being that is communicating?  There are no easy answers, but one can be sure it is not by long conversations carried out between two individuals face to face as one man to another.  The biblical writer characterizes God’s communication that way because there are no other options.  However, there is communication between Being and humankind, perhaps in the form of ecstatic visions, both aural and visual.  But when this happens, they must still be reduced somehow to words if they are to be shared with other human beings.  But the words necessarily must fall far short of the reality.

So how is it that we can speak of inspiration at all?  If Being does not in itself physically speak, then where do inspired words come from?  They can only come from the inner depths of the man or woman who has somehow touched the ineffable reality we call God.  The words first arise out of Silence and, however inadequate a representation of Being they may be, they are then committed to some form of human communication.

Some of these words, in all probability, have come to be included in one or another of the sacred writings of the world.  Some have surfaced in the writings of saints, and, occasionally they may even be heard in a Sunday morning sermon.  But none do more than approximate the truth they seek to communicate, because the medium can never be the equal of the reality that is its source.  God cannot be contained by words.

It also seems rather presumptuous to me that any collection of words can be labeled “the” word of God, as though there are no others.  Let alone the fact that all our words fall lamentably short when it comes to communicating the ineffable, it is none the less the case that many persons throughout history have apparently had experiences with Being that they were compelled to try to communicate.  These persons come from every age and every religion.  They include both ancient and modern seekers whose writings are such as are recognized by others to have some special merit, some ring of truth.  As such, their writings are often carefully preserved in order that the truths they enunciate may serve as a guide for future generations.

Problems arise, however, when these writings are rewritten or translated into other languages by persons not necessarily so inspired as the saints who originally penned them.  The processes of transmission and translation have been shown to be rife with errors, either intentional or accidental.  This is certainly true of the biblical writings we have today and, I suspect, is likewise true of most, if not all, other sacred texts.  There are also demonstrable errors of fact that even the original authors included in their writings.  To enumerate all the errors to be found in the Bible would require a book length treatise.  Whence come the errors?  Did the original authors misunderstand the messages they thought they were hearing?  Or, alternatively, did Being itself get it wrong on occasion?  Not likely!

Then there is the oft quoted biblical passage, 2 Timothy 3:16, in which the Apostle Paul categorically states,  “All scripture is inspired by God…” This is commonly applied to both the Old and New Testaments, in spite of the fact that the New Testament and some of the Old Testament had not yet been written or included in a canon, official or otherwise.  There were no gospels, for example, and no Acts of the Apostles.  There may have been a collection of Jesus’ sayings, and some of the Apostle Paul’s letters and the Letter of James, but none of these had been formed into a canon of scripture at the time Paul wrote to Timothy.  So what were these scriptures that he claimed were inspired?   To include Paul’s letters would seem to be a self-serving claim.  It is as though I should say of this treatise that it is to be treated as divinely inspired scripture.  I could say it, but my saying it would not make it so.  (Self-attestation is always suspect. as a witness to truth because of the obvious conflict of interest it presents.  Whether or not a particular writing is deigned to be inspired is for others to decide, not the author.)  What was available as scripture when Paul wrote Timothy is the Psalms, the Torah and some of the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament, though at the time of Paul’s writing even these were not combined into a widely accepted canon.

As to the formation of the canon in the second and third centuries CE, the process was so fraught with power politics, that it hardly inspires confidence that they got it right.  It was not a meditative and spiritual or even a reasoned process leading to a well-considered conclusion.  It was a contentious and sometimes violent process through which those who had the most political power got to have the final say.  Through threats of excommunication and imprisonment and death, unscrupulous religious leaders with highly questionable motives decided what writings were to be included in the official canon of Scripture.  All other writings were to be destroyed.  Is this how divine inspiration works?

Add to all of the above the widely divergent interpretations of what has come down to us as Scripture, and one is forced to conclude that whatever divine truth there may be in the Christian Scriptures may be something like the proverbial needle in a haystack That truth may only be discerned through a process of inspired reading not unlike the original authors may have experienced in the process of writing.  Prayerful reading of a text may not be a guarantee of divine discernment, given our tendency to be subjective, but openness to truth wherever it may be must certainly be one prerequisite to finding it.  With that openness we may even find it in unexpected places and from seemingly unlikely sources.  This prescription for seeking the divine communication, even if subjective, is still better than uncritical acceptance of self-serving claims of inspiration.

Some Thoughts About Global Economics From a Christian Perspective-- Series Article #2:

Compassionate Leadership

By John Lackey

Recently World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was charged with conflict of interest involving his girlfriend’s generous pay deal. The 24-member board had to decide whether Wolfowitz “will be able to provide the leadership” to ensure that the Bank achieves its mission of fighting poverty around the world through loans and grants. The

185-nation World Bank provides more than $20 billion a year for projects that include building dams and roads, upgrading education, and fighting diseases. (Reported in the Knoxville News-Sentinel and Associated Press releases)

Obviously, organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are invaluable tools for eradicating world poverty. But Wolfowitz illustrates what happens if those who head such organizations are not so compassionate for the world’s poor that they cannot rise above self-interests and greed.

We are reminded of Jesus’ saying, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom” (Matthew 19:23, 24). This is so, says the Christian perspective, because we humans have a bent toward centering our lives in our selves. We are so easily governed by our self-interests, which easily degenerate into greed.  That’s why Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2).  We humans need conversion or transformation if we are to become truly human.  We need changed persons to head institutions like the World Bank—men and women who have demonstrated genuine compassion for the poor that is greater than the temptation to act on self-interests.


On Loving with the Love of Jesus-- Series Article No. 3

Love Is a Commission

By James L. Foster

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”—Jesus

            How has Jesus loved us?  The answer to this question is one we can contemplate but never exhaust, because it is a Love measured by eternity, a Love unnumbered by days.  It is a Love given in total freedom, unlike most human loves which are often driven by self-interest.  Self, alone, it seems, rather fears most that Love by which it may be redeemed, by which we may be forgiven.  However, the Love of God through Jesus Christ ignores our willfulness and becomes for us a royal rod disciplining our selfishness.  The Love of Jesus makes real to us the Love of the Creator God, sealing us forever in his all-sufficient atoning grace.

            But Jesus Love extends even beyond its expressions of saving grace, though to be freed from the legitimate consequences of our sin is no small thing. It enables new life on a higher plane.  It is Christ in us, alive, unbounded, uncontrived, transforming both others and us by his presence in us.  It is a Love that calls forth our unspoken dreams and forms within us a hope of it own designing.  It is such a Love as opens to us eternal vistas and enables us to touch the Invisible.  It is a Love that God alone ordains.

            To be conquered by the Love of Jesus is to become aware of new possibilities for our own participation in the Life of God.  “Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (I John 3:16).

            Jesus enlarges on his command to love “as I have loved you” as follows:
“Greater Love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12).  But, we may ask, what kind of love is it that responds to another simply out of a sense of duty?  If we are simply obeying the Divine law, what virtue is there in it?  Should not Love proceed from heart-desire rather than from legalistic obedience?

            The word in question here is “commandment,” translated from the Greek word entole’ by most modern biblical translations.  Entole’, however, may be just as legitimately translated as “injunction,” “charge,” “commission,” and “precept.”  If, in fact, Jesus had intended to dictate a law demanding strict adherence, he had available two other terms which would not have been given to such ambiguity—“epitage,” a command or mandate given by a person in authority, and the still more concrete dia’tagma, an authoritative edict as in Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses was hidden by his parents…and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

            In as much as Jesus chose entole’, and given the nature of agape’ Love as a chosen, gifted, way of life, it is reasonable to assume that “charge” or “commission” better conveys his intended meaning.  “ This is my charge to you, that you love one another..." or “I commission you to love one another.”  The latter term also carries with it a sense of enablement in keeping with the nature of agape’.

            What does it mean to be commissioned to love as Jesus has loved us?  It means that we are committed to living out the Love of God just as surely as was Jesus.  It means that we take up his ministry of Love and that, like Him, we give our lives in Love.  To receive Jesus’ commission is to take up his work where he left off, to continue it in the same way, with the same empowerment and, remarkably, with the same identity.  It was not just happenstance that his followers early on were called “Christians”—little Christs—in Antioch of Syria.

            Contrary to the understanding of many fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, we are not so much called to relationship with Jesus as to identity with him.  Whereas he was “the light of the world”  (John 9:5), we are now “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).  Whereas initially “all the fullness of the Father” dwelt in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:19), by virtue of the love of Christ we can now be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).  It is into Christ we come by believing (John 3:16).  And it is the suffering and the joy of Christ, himself, in which we participate (I Peter 4:13).  Finally, it is his divine nature of which we partake (I Peter 1:4).  In short, what Jesus is commissioning us to is a real and mystical participation in himself, the continuation of his living, loving presence here and now in our physical beings.

            This is not a call to give up our uniqueness.  We are each unique forms of Jesus.  This does not make us less, but rather enlarges our vision of who and how great Jesus is.  To the extent that we individually and corporately “faith” into him, to that extent we are him and his expression of himself is enlarged.

            Jesus says that “whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do….” (John 14:13).  For the first century Hebrew to whom this was originally addressed, a person’s name was held to be virtually identical with his or her identity.  Thus, the only way a person might legitimately ask anything  “in Jesus name” is by sharing in that identity.  When we ask, it is Jesus asking, because we, in our union with him, have taken on his identity.  Likewise, when he suffers, we suffer; when he loves, we love; when he rejoices, we rejoice—and vice versa.  We are in him, little Christs, and are thereby committed to that same ministry of agape’ Love to which he was committed in his life as Jesus of Nazareth.

            The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, stated that “we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the demonstrated presence of the Lord, are metamorphosed (Greek, metamorphu, transfigured) into the same image from one demonstration of his presence to another, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (3:18).  God is about the business of restoring his image in us.  He is doing it through his first born, Jesus Christ, through whose Love we are called—relentlessly called—to be Love.  This is our commission.  It is by Love that we were born to be Love, transformed, transfigured, metamorphosed into that expression of God himself we were meant from the beginning to be.   



Book Reviews:

Editor’s note:  The following two books were chosen from among reviews written some years ago for a print edition of En Christo because each one, in its own way, points to opposite ends of the Christian theological spectrum.   Sometimes, in reading so many books on spirituality, I feel tossed and pulled between different approaches to living the Christian life.  This has been especially true in the preparation of the following two reviews for publication in this issue of En Christo.  For St; John of the Cross, the spiritual journey is one of darkness, emptiness, suffering, death and nothingness.  It is a way of self-denial, crucifixion, and abandonment to the will of God.  Emotions, will and desires are emptied to make space for God.

In contrast the second book reviewed below illuminates a spirituality of blessing, creativity, birthing, gratitude and oneness with all.  The focus is on life instead of death; creating, not denying; fullness, not emptiness; and joy, not suffering.  As I read each book, I recognized the truth of each.  In all honesty, I fear the truth of the first, and wish that such were not a requisite for the journey, though I know it is.  I am carried away by the second, as it helps me touch and release some deep hidden truths I already knew but could never find a place for in my religious life.

How does one discover, choose, or create a spiritual path?  Serious and committed seekers have been led, I believe by God’s Spirit, on different ways.  I can almost never say, “This is the way, better than all others.”  I can usually see the truth in the arguments for each perspective.  In reading the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount I am struck by their paradoxical nature.  “Happy are those who mourn.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.”  Even St. John of the Cross eventually arrived at a place of joy in his life.  Christ is the great reconciler of opposites.  The two seemingly opposing spiritualities are each part of one whole.  Perhaps some people are called to one, while others are called to another.  More likely, they may represent different seasons in our lives.  “For everything there is a time.”  By nature, we may be more inclined to one, but for balance, for wholeness, we must respond to each call.  All creation, blessed and fallen, weeping and rejoicing, is redeemed and reconciled and brought together in harmony en Christo.


Arraj, James.  St. John of the Cross and Dr. C. G. Jung:  Christian Mysticism in the Light of Jungian Psychology.  (Chiloquin, OR, Inner Growth Books, 1988), 199 pages.

This life-giving book aspires to help lay foundations for “a renewal of the life of prayer and a practical science of spiritual direction.”  It is written by James Arraj, who with Tyra Arraj, is a writer, craftsperson, homesteader in the Oregon wilderness and co-editor of Inner Growth Books.   He gives us a good look at the processes of individuation and contemplative prayer.  The material covered is often difficult and complex yet meticulously researched and clearly articulated.

The three major parts of this work are:  Jung’s psychology and Christian faith, the dawn of contemplation, and a psychological light on St. John of the Cross and the life of prayer.  The first two parts attempt to resolve misgivings about the compatibility of Jung’s psychology and Christian faith, and a long-standing misinterpretation of St. John’s doctrine of contemplation.  The final section outlines the relationship between individuation (as understood by Jung) and contemplation (as understood by St. John).

Part one is an introduction to Carl Jung and his lifelong desire to come to grips with meaning, religion and God. Arraj writes, “A psychology like his shakes our sense of being experts about who we are and challenges us to a journey from ego-consciousness into the unconscious in order to find a deeper and truer self.”  Arraj pays particular attention to the process of individuation, “an inner movement towards psychic develop-ment, “ and “the journey to a proper balance between the ego and the unconscious.”  Pragmatically, Jung found that it was essential for the well being of his patients to rediscover a religious, meaning-full perspective for living.   This meant that “the ego had to experience something beyond itself and even submit itself to the healing powers that come from the unconscious.”  And so Jung could talk about a “psychological cure of souls.”  Yet Jung felt that he could not distinguish between the experience of God and the experience of the unconscious, and took pains to say that he could not presume to talk about God as God is, but only about the image of God within humanity.  Arraj does a thorough job of examining Jung’s philosophical and cultural premises and summarizes:  “Jung’s statements on the scope of our ability to know should be interpreted only in relationship to his natural science of the psyche, and not extended to philosophy and theology.  Once the distinction is made between the essence of his work and the context it developed in, the way is open to employ it as an instrument in Christian theology.”  Arraj has synthesized two extreme positions here:  confusing Jung’s psychology as a substitute for theology and rejecting it altogether as a threat to Christian faith.

Part two is an introduction to the person and thought of St. John of the Cross, born three centuries earlier than the Swiss Jung, in Castilian Spain.  Like Jung’s work, St. John’s formulations on contemplation are to be experienced and practiced, not merely grappled with intellectually.  For instance, what St. John called “infused contemplation” meant a real, abiding experience of union with God in daily life.  Impacted strongly by both poverty and family love, St. John (born Juan de Yepes) entered a Carmelite monastery at age 21.   After being ordained a priest, he was on the verge of leaving the order for one more austere when he met St Teresa of Avila, who had already initiated a reform among the sisters.  She persuaded him to stay and help her in this new work.  It was while on an extended stay at her convent, as both confessor and spiritual director that St. John was kidnapped by friars who deeply opposed his reform.  He was imprisoned in Toledo, brutally treated and feared for his life during these eight months.  It was in this context, in 1577, that he underwent his “dark night of the soul” out of which much of his magnificent poetry was born.  After escaping, he wrote his major works:  Ascent of Mt. Carmel   and Dark Night of the Soul, masterpieces of the interior life.  In these he develops his concept of “infused contemplation --a concept central to Arraj’s concern—a phenomenon independent of the will of the person who receives it, a divine gift.  In con-templation a person knows God “not as an object or thing about which something is known, but simply as a whole, a subject.  God is present to him in a way analogous to the way he is present to himself.”

It was perhaps twenty years later that the term “acquired contemplation” began to appear in Carmelite writing.  Claiming to be congruent with the thought of St. John, “acquired contemplation is an act of will in “an affectionate and sincere knowledge of God and his effects which is gained by our own industry.”  Arraj writes insightfully, “Acquired contemplation is rowing the boat, while infused contemplation is having the wind fill the sails and drive it along.”  He counsels us to acknowledge that “infused contemplation” is at the heart of St. John’s teachings, and it is to the relationship between it and individuation that he turns next.

Part three turns to a psychological look at St. John of the Cross, identified as an introverted, intuitive type.  After his life-threatening prison experience, St John emerged a transformed person.  Successfully and fruitfully shouldering many responsibilities (which went against his natural inclinations), he spoke and wrote freely about what was most important to him.  Seeing the world through new eyes, he found that the “physical beauty of the earth had become a symbol of the spiritual journey “ for him.  Both his subsequent poetry and his prose came to reflect the power of his mystical experiences and his ongoing process of individuation, an ever-broadening path of integration and joy.

Arraj’s chapter on psychic energy and contemplation is particularly strong.  He concludes, “It would be precipitous to conclude either contemplation represents some kind of individuation or it is the result of the resolution of these tensions of psychic energy.  At the same time it would be a valuable undertaking if the contemplative life could be examined from the point of view of Jung’s psychology.”  He points especially to the transformations of psychic energy that occur on the spiritual journey.  He rightly indicates the lack of spiritual direction available (“explicit guidance in how to progress in the life of prayer”), indicating that the most fruitful path of development is under the guidance of St. John, with help from Carl Jung.

James Arraj has made a good beginning at reflecting on Christian mysticism in the light of Jung’s work.  His book is going to be important for all of us who, like him, consider the magnum opus to be a “renewal of the religious life of the west.”  This is not light reading.  He bogs down in a few places in his attention to detail; he exclusively uses the male pronoun in his writing.  Yet his intelligence and faithfulness shine through each chapter.  His own journey through the book reflects the words of St. John:

I went without discerning

And with no other light

Except for that which in my heart was burning.

Linda Kusse-Wolfe, reviewer


Lauck, Marcia S. and Deborah Koff Chapin.  At the Pool of Wonder:  Dreams and Visions of an Awakening Humanity.  (Santa Fe, NM:  Bear & Company, 1989), 113 8½ x 11 pages.

For those of us who have not given up hope for humanity, this book, a cooperative effort between author and artist, will encourage that hope.  For those who do not know whether to hope or not, Lauck and Koff-Chapin may influence you to expect better things than you may have experienced.  If your theology is that humankind is hell bent and is not going to get any better, then you may well be turned off by the deep visionary experiences of these two women.

Marcia Lauck, member of a contemplative community in San Jose, California, has recorded here, with little interpretation, 21 dreams that are replete with archetypal images such as the jaguar, the Goddess, the First Mother, the Rock, and the Native American image of the Firebird.  In that last dream, the Firebird is heard to say, “You who seek to embody the sacredness of God’s creation in everyday life are, collectively, a womb in which the embryo of a new civilization has taken root.  The disciplines you have observed and practiced, deeming them necessary for the birth of a new vision of humanity, are those which are the genetic building blocks of the firebird.”

Introducing another of her dreams, Lauck observes “there is a sweeping awareness that every single moment of our lives from birth to death is part of a great ceremony, a celebration, a liturgy of life.  Our work is to waken to the wonder of it, to meet it consciously every day.”  And so she does, apparently not only in her daylight hours, but in her nighttime visions as well.  That there is such congruence is not surprising in that our dreams reflect, among other things, our waking thoughts.   But one suspects—hopes—that in these dreams there may also be an element of the collective unconscious.  If so, they speak a reassuring word indeed that from the deep springs of God’s human creation, there may yet erupt that basic goodness with which we were created.

Aside from the messages of life and hope that come through the dreams, they may be seen as fascinating examples of archetypal images in dreams, imagery interpreted in the dreams themselves.  They are thus a helpful resource for understanding similar images in our dreams.

Deborah Koff-Chapin’s “touch drawings” (a painting technique described in an Afterword) are remarkably supportive of Lauck’s dreams, even though they were done independently with no knowledge of the dreams.  Her paintings are paired with the dreams and evoke many of the same archetypal images contained in the accompanying dreams.  Her artwork could just as well stand by itself, and does in exhibitions and other publications.

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, a vision as much needed today as it was when the book was written almost 20 years ago.


Chuck Collins and Mary Wright.  The Moral Measure of the Economy.  (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007), 222 pages, paperback.

There is a warm debate in America about whether faith has a place in the public arena. Many argue that politics and religion should be kept separate in public debates.  Collins and Wright take the position that when religion is restricted to the private sphere, political issues are no longer moral issues. We are then on the way to becoming a dehumanized nation governed by the self-interests of the rich and powerful.

The authors of The Moral Measure of the Economy do us a much-needed service by spelling out the traditional teaching about what makes a political issue a moral choice.  That is, Christian faith (and the other great religious traditions) teaches that “human life is made sacred by its transcendent worth...thus all humans must be respected with reverence...In our inter-actions with others, we should approach one another with  ‘a sense of awe that arises in the presence of something holy and sacred’...The dignity and sacredness of the human person is the yardstick against which all aspects of economic life must be measured.” So it is that justice becomes a basic value, and “justice is measured by how we treat the most powerless people in the society.”  The common good becomes the goal of that society. Political issues are then moral choices because we are each sacred, born with inherent worth and dignity. For example, “when we assume that economic issues exist outside of human values and judgments, we dismiss poverty with ‘It’s not the fault of the economy...too bad for them...As long as it is not in my immediate family, it is not my problem.’” Surely such attitudes don’t build the kind of nation we all want!

But, say Collins and Wright, that’s what happens when we separate religion and politics in the public arena. This valuable reminder of the religious estimate of human worth as the basis of moral choices is found in chapter two.

On pages 21-32, the authors offer an excellent set of ten rules that make for economic justice for all. (drawn from the U.S. Bishops letter on Economic Justice).   Then they compare Gospel values and Market values and find Market values wanting.  Market values do not recognize the sacred, and individuals are reduced to  “worker, owner, and consumer.”   In the Market “everything is for sale, including air, water, human body organs, sacred burial grounds, outer space, and more.”  In the Market there is nothing sacred about Creation and the natural environment.

The authors then describe what kind of country we are becoming under this Market system.  They show how Market values and the power of Corporations are causing the abuse of human rights in poor countries.

On pp. 120f, they provide the Christian perspective on the issue that is currently such a hot issue in the U.S.--immigration. In chapter eight, the authors point us to current experiments in the building of alternative economic institutions that embody Gospel principles.  In the last two chapters they outline specific ways each of us can participate in creating an economy that “minimizes human suffering and promotes human dignity.” 

This book is an important, sound, and readable contribution for all who wish to under-stand the economic system in which all of us are participants and what to do about it.

                                                                 Reviewed by John R. Lackey


Adams, Scott. God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment.  (Kansas City:  Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001), 137 pages.

Scott Adams is the creator of cartoon character Dilbert.  But this is not a work of humor, though it is a work of fiction.  As Mr. Adams has not claimed ownership of the ideas expressed in this story, but rather attributes them to the main character, a Mr. Avatar, the reviewer has chosen to address his remarks to Mr. Avatar.  Mr. Adams is, of course free to respond in Mr. Avatar’s behalf should he choose to do so.

Dear Mr. Avatar

I am sending this open letter to you by way of Mr. Scott Adams since I do not have your email address.  The fact is that I doubt if you even have one.  I am writing in response to your conversation with him as it is recorded in a small book of his titled God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment, published in 2004 by Andrews McMeel Publishing of Kansas City.

I find your concept of God as an expression of probability interesting but improbable.  It may be that that I am just looking for something a bit more, or a lot more, comprehensive than probability.

However, I do not buy into the theology that God is a person, either   It rather seems to me that what the human race has done is created a God in its own image, like us only bigger.  We have made of God a Being with a capital B but none-the-less, a being.  This is fraught with all kinds of difficulties, many arising out of our efforts to describe this Being.  (1) One problem is that no description can adequately encompass the whole of God. When we try to describe God we inevitably engage in reductionism, describing something less than God.  (2) Whose description are we going to buy into?  Our efforts to describe God generally bring us into conflict with each other.  We are pitting God against God as it were.  (3) Our descriptions are typically, and perhaps necessarily, anthropomorphic since those are the only applicable words we have to describe an entity whom we have chosen to categorize as a person.

Oddly enough, the way of thinking about God that has been most satisfying to me has been in terms of Being, not a Being, but Being itself.  As Being God finds expression in all of Creation, including the microscopic and the macroscopic, every atom and every galaxy, and in you and me.  As I gather from your discussion with Mr. Adams, you, too, believe that we are God stuff.  The irony is that perhaps the use of anthropomorphic language to speak of God may be acceptable, but only if we mean it quite literally and apply it to the whole of creation.  As part of the whole, a rock really does reveal God, as does a flower and a briar.  You and I also reveal God, though I admit that in some instances our revealing of God is not particularly flattering to God.

At one point early on in the quasi pre-history of the Jewish nation, God is thought to have said essentially what I have said above.  God is quoted as saying out of a burning bush that he is  “I am I am.”  The only sense I can make of that is that “God is what is”—Being.

As I indicated in my first sentence, this is an open letter and thus will be published in the online journal, En Christo: A Journal for a New Christianity.  Any response you wish to make to these observations will likewise be published, unless you indicate that it should be treated confidentially. 

Thank you for provoking me to write.  Give my regards to Mr. Adams.

Jim Foster, reviewer

Note to the readers of the above letter:  Mr. Avatar addresses many subjects in God’s Debris – free will, genuine belief, God’s consciousness, evolution, reincarnation, science, delusion – to name a few.  But the thread that runs through the entire story is the equation of “probability” (that he says is omnipotent and omnipresent) with “God.”  He has given us a good many ideas with which to wrestle, and in this lies the justification of the sub-title, “A Thought Experiment.”


Borg, Marcus J. and John Dominic Crossan. The Last Week: the Day-By-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem. (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, ©2006), 220 pages, including notes; 1st ed., hardcover.

It is difficult for me to read books about the Bible, because I bring so much of my own history and education to the experience, and because I tend to look for direct applications of Biblical stories to my life and times. So when I began Borg’s and Crossan’s exegesis of Jesus’ last week, as told in Mark’s Gospel, with a definition of domination systems, I knew I would have to struggle to stay focused on their story.

Briefly stated, Mark’s Gospel tells the story of a peasant who directly confronts the domination system of his time, and suffers the logical consequences of that system’s processes. Borg and Crossan describe “domination system” as “shorthand for the most common form of social system … in preindustrial agrarian societies.”  Its principal characteristics were political oppression, economic exploitation, and religious legitimization, and it was normal development for civilizations. (p.7-8) Jerusalem was the center from which the Romans and the Temple authorities controlled Palestine for their mutual benefit.

The Roman governor traditionally came to Jerusalem during Jewish holidays, to assert imperial supremacy and provide crowd control, if needed. Knowing this, Mark sets Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a deliberate counterpoint to Pontius Pilate’s simultaneous entry on the other side of the city. In effect, he juxtaposes the Kingdom of God against the Roman Empire. The following day, Jesus enters the Temple and overturns the vendors’ tables, setting God’s justice and righteousness against the priests’ exploitation and corruption. And so we follow, day-by-day, Mark’s story of Jesus’ week in Jerusalem.

Confronting domination systems is one theme in Mark; the other is death and resurrection. Following Jesus on the way means living God’s justice in an unjust world. It means walking with him towards death and resurrection. The underlying premise is that God’s kingdom is here, now, and the disciples’ job is to live in it, rather than within the constraints of the domination system.

There is a great deal more to this book than a short review can touch on. The Bible embodies so many strands: history, politics, revelation, religion… and so many genres: narrative, poetry, chronicle, parable…. They do a good job separating the strands and clarifying the relationship of each to the others and to the context. They interweave Mark’s story with its background and their interpretation of events. They address the importance of factual truth and of parable in Mark’s time, and contrast that with our tendency to regard non-factual narratives as untrue. There is a great deal on the significance of Jerusalem; there are many comparisons with the other Gospel stories and with Paul’s writings. There is considerable discussion of Mark’s time, place, and audience.

That Jesus cared so passionately about God’s justice and compassion for all people that he was willing to stand up to the might of the Roman Empire and accept the logical consequences forces me to look at my life and ask if I have such a passion for anything.

This brings me back to my initial statement that it’s hard to set aside my own lenses and stick rigorously to Borg’s and Crossan’s interpretation of Mark’s story. But, ultimately, isn’t the point of the Gospels to make us confront our relationship to God and to God’s world in our time?

Christianity is an intensely personal religion, even when practiced with elaborate ceremonies. 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? (p.215)

I found The Last Week an affirmation of my commitment to non-violence and resistance to anything that incorporates violence into our common life. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is just one example of his admirable chutzpah. This counter-procession and his subsequent teaching in the Temple presented a way of non-violence and justice, a way opposed to empire, a way open to all equally. That includes me. Now, once more, I need to consider what I’m going to “do about it.” How can I confront the present system with the Good News of God’s justice, love, and reconciliation? The Last Week doesn’t provide answers, but it offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding of Jesus and his message and, consequently, choose again to follow him in the way.

Victoria Medaglia, Reviewer


Book Sale:  As both a service to our readers and a means of support for En Christo, any of the books reviewed or listed for future review may be ordered using this order form.

Books Reviewed in this or previous issues:

Adams, Scott. God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment.  (Kansas City:  Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001), 137 pages.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.

Amaladoss, Michael. The Asian Jesus. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2006; 180 pp, including Endnotes, Bibliography, and Indexes.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.

Arraj, James.  St. John of the Cross and Dr. C. G. Jung:  Christian Mysticism in the Light of Jungian Psychology.  (Chiloquin, OR, Inner Growth Books, 1988), 199 pages.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.

Boff, Leonardo.  Passion of Christ, Passion of the World.  English translation by Robert R. Barr.  Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1987.  141 pages, paperback.   Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.

Borg, Marcus J. and John Dominic Crossan. The Last Week: the Day-By-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem. (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, ©2006), 220 pages, hardcover.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.

Campolo, Anthony. The Power Delusion. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books Division of S P Publications, Inc., 1983).  EC Vol. 1, #1.                                

Collins, Chuck and Mary Wright.  The Moral Measure of the Economy.  (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007),  222 pages, paperback.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.

Dorr, Donal.  Spirituality and Justice.  New York:  Orbis, 1985.  264 pages, paperback.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.                                                         

Lauck, Marcia S. and Deborah Koff Chapin.  At the Pool of Wonder:  Dreams and Visions of an Awakening Humanity.  (Santa Fe, NM:  Bear & Company, 1989), 113 8½  x 11 pages.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.

Nouwen, Henri. The Road to Daybreak:  A Spiritual Journey.    (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 228 pages.  Reviewed in  EC Vol. 1, #1. 

Rubenstein, Richard E. When Jesus Became God:  The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York:  Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999, 267 pages Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2. 

Spong, John Shelby.  A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2000), ISBN: 0-06-067084-3 (hardcover), 255 pages, paperback.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.

Taylor, Daniel. The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian and the Risk of Commitment  (Waco, Texas:  Word Books, 1987), 198 pp.  Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #1.

Books slated for review in future issues of En Christ:

Apel, William and Paul M. Pearson.  Signs of Peace:  The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton.  Maryknoll, NY:  Orbis Books, 2006

Baigent, Michael.  The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History.  New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2005, 2007

Borg, Marcus J.  The God We Never Knew.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2006)  

Borg, Marcus J.  The Heart of Christianity:  Recovering a Life of Faith.  (New York:                   Harper San Francisco, 2004)

Borg, Marcus J.  Jesus, A New Vision:  Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, New York:  Harper San Francisco, 1991)

Borg, Marcus J.  Jesus:  Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary.  ((New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2007)

Borg, Marcus J.  Living the Heart of Christianity: A Guide to Putting Your Faith Into Action.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2006)

Borg, Marcus J.  Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 1994)

Borg, Marcus J.  Reading the Bible Again for the First Time:  Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2002)

Borg, Marcus J. and N. T Wright.  The Meaning of Jesus.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2002)

Braden, Gregg. The God Code: The Secret of Our Past, the Promise of Our Future.  (Carlsbad, California:  Hay House, Inc., 2004)

Brown, Deborah A., ed.  Christianity in the 21st Century.  (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Co., 2000)

Brown, Robert McAfee.  Kairos:  Three Prophetic Challenges to the Church.  (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990)

Delos, Andrew C.  Myths We Live By:  From the Times of Jesus and Paul. (2006)

Dorrien, Gary.  Soul in Society: The Making and Renewal of Social Christianity.   (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1995)

Ehrman, Bart D.  Lost Christianities:  The Battles for Scripture and Faiths We Never Knew.  (Oxford/New York:  Oxford University Press, 2003)

Ehrman, Bart D.  Lost Scriptures:  Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament.  (Oxford/New York:  Oxford University Press, 2003)

Ehrman, Bart D.  Misquoting Jesus:  The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2005, 2007)

Evans, Craig.  Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels.  (Intervarsity Press, 2006

Fox, Matthew.  One River, Many Wells:  Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths.  (New York:  Tarcher/Penguin, 2000)

Funk, Robert W.  Honest to Jesus:  Jesus for a New Millennium.  (New York:  Harper  San Francisco, 1996)

Gallagher, Vincent A.  The True Cost of Low Prices:  The Violence of Globalization.  (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006)

Griffith-Jones, Robin.  The Four Witnesses: The Rebel, The Rabbi, the Chronicler, and the Mystic.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 2000)

Hamilton, William.  A Quest for the Post-Historical Jesus.  (New York: Continuum,                       1994) 

Harpur, Tom.  The Pagan Christ:  Recovering the Lost Light.  (Toronto:  Thomas Allen Publishers, 2004)

Horsley, Richard A.  Jesus and Empire:  The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder.  (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002)

Jenkins, Philip.  The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.  (Oxford/New York:  Oxford University Press, 2002)

Krosney, Herbert and Bart D. Ehrman.  The Lost Gospel:  The Quest for the Gospel  of Judas Iscariot. (Washington, D.C.:  National Geographic, 2006)

McLaren, Brian D.  The Secret Message of Jesus:  Uncovering the Truth that Could  Change Everything.  (Nashville, TN:  W Publishing Group, 2006)

Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack.  Jesus Against Christianity:  Reclaiming the Missing Jesus.  (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2001)

Nolan, Albert.  Jesus Today:  A Spirituality of Radical Freedom.  ((Maryknoll, NY:  Orbis Books, 2006)

Pagels, Elaine.  The Gnostic Paul:  Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters.   (Philadelphia, PA: Trinity Press International, 1992, paperback)

 Ranke-Heinemann, Uta.  Putting Away Childish Things:  The Virgin Birth, the Empty Tomb, and Other Fairy Tales You Don’t Need to Believe to Have a Living Faith.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 1994)

Riley, Gregory J.  The River of God:  A New History of Christian Origins.  (New York:    Harper San Francisco, 2001)

Schonfield, Hugh.  The Essene Odyssey:  The Mystery of the True Teacher & the Essene Impact on the Shaping of Human Destiny  (Rockport, MA: Element, Inc., 1993)

Spong, John Shelby.  Jesus for the Non-Religious.  (New York:  Harper San                                  Francisco, 2007)

Spong, John Shelby.  Why Christianity Must Change or Die.  (New York:  Harper San Francisco, 1999)

Wallis, Jim.  The Soul of Politics:  Beyond “Religious Right” and “Secular Left”.   (Harvest Book, 1995)

Wallis, Jim.  The Soul of Politics:  A Practical and Prophetic Vision for Change.   (Maryknoll, NY:  Orbis Books, 1994)

Wells, G. A.  The Jesus Myth.   (Chicago:  Open Court, 1999)

White, L. Michael.  From Jesus to Christianity:  How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith.  (New York Harper San Francisco, 2004)

Wink, Walter.  When the Powers Fall:  Reconciliation in the Healing of Nations.  (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1998)

Wink, Walter.  Jesus and Non-Violence: A Third Way. (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press 2003)

Wright, Tom.  The Original Jesus: The Life and Vision of a Revolutionary (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990)



As a citizen of the world...

I BELIEVE in the dignity of all humanity, that each person is a being of supreme worth.

I BELIEVE in the wholeness of the human race, undivided by economic, cultural, racial, sexual or national differences.

 I BELIEVE in the stewardship of life and resources to the end that all may mutually benefit from the earth's bounty and that no person may have to go without food or shelter.

I BELIEVE in the primacy of human relationships as a person committed and responsible to other persons, regardless of their economic status, race, creed or nationality.

I BELIEVE in the global community, interdependent and mutually responsible for our physical and social environments.

I BELIEVE that we are One World and affirm that I am a citizen of this world. My allegiance to it and its people, my brothers and sisters, is primary over all other political entities.

I AM, therefore, committed to the promotion and care of the whole of humanity without partiality or prejudice and with such resources as I have at my command, both within and without.

I HEREWITH AFFIRM that I wish, as much as I possibly can, to base my actions on my beliefs and thus contribute to a world where justice and compassion rule and where greed and hatred are diminished.



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