• RESOURCES to Help Return to Eden

    This little 'annotated' list is stuff that has impacted us as we began the spiritual journey back to Eden. It is in no way comprehensive. But it's a start :)

    BOOKS & AUTHORS

     

    DIANA BUTLER BASS

    Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith (2007)

    Fifteen years in today’s world is forever, but “DBB” showed her prescience here (among other valid ideas) by exploring the PRACTICES essential for helping evolve Christian consciousness into a viable, relevant future. From the website: the book “describes this phenomenon and offers a how-to approach for Protestants eager to remain faithful to their tradition while becoming a vital spiritual community. As Butler Bass delved into the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, certain consistent practices—such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship—emerged as core expressions of congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness today.” Megachurches will fade away (it’s already begun)…the future of Christian faith will be contemplative, diverse, and progressive and unifying. This is the future RTE is working toward.

     

    Christianity After Religion (2012) – Yes, it’s ten year’s old, but much of what she wrote about has [and still is] coming to pass. From the back cover: “Diana Butler Bass offers a fresh interpretation of the ‘spiritual but not religious’ trend and shares a hope-filled vision for a renewed faith that stays true to the real message of Jesus.” And from the website: “Some contend that we’re undergoing yet another evangelical revival; others suggest that Christian belief and practice is eroding entirely as traditional forms of faith are replaced by new ethical, and areligious, choices. But Bass argues compellingly that we are, instead, at a critical stage in a completely new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious progression toward individual and cultural transformation, and a wholly new kind of post-religious faith.” A new spiritual awakening—indeed. That’s what RTE is all about.

     

    Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution (2017) --- has a study resource site

    Five years old and hugely relevant. Accessible, readable, personal, enjoyable! From the website: “Attentiveness to the question, ‘Where is God’ takes us on a journey into the spiritual geography of our own lives and finding God in nature and neighbor. The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book Christianity After Religion by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us—and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.” Spiritual revolution…intimate sense of the sacred…God found in nature and human community….DEFINITELY RTE material!

     

    Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence (2021) -- has a study resource site

    A very personal book that will resonate with you! From the website: “Her secular friends often ask her ‘How can you still be a Christian?’ [sound familiar?] In the book, she explains that her experience of Jesus has changed over the years, viewing him in different ways at different times. And that, though she is still a Christian, she isn’t the same kind of Christian she used to be, or that they many think she is….Combining childhood memories and mature theological musings, personal story and Christian history, Gospel texts and present-day contexts, Bass invites all feeling caged by doctrine, silenced by tradition, or afraid of doubt to find not just freedom, voice, and the glory of mystery, but also to find Jesus on their own terms and in their own lives.” —Amy-Jill Levine. We get that!...caged, silenced, beaten up, afraid of doubt. Great fodder for the RTE journey.

     

     

    BARBARA BROWN TAYLOR

    An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010) -- has a STUDY GUIDE

    A ubique book os “spiritual practices” for discerning the Sacred and growing spiritually outside of/apart from churches temples, etc. From Amazon: “With the honesty of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and the spiritual depth of Anne Lamott (Grace, Eventually), Taylor shares how she learned to find God beyond the church walls by embracing the sacred as a natural part of everyday life. In An Altar in the World, Taylor shows us how to discover altars everywhere we go and in nearly everything we do as we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.” Discovering the Sacred in new ways, especially ‘beyond the church walls,’ discovering new ‘altars’ and ways of worship – now THAT is RTE!

     

    Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (2012) – has a STUDY GUIDE

    An intensely personal and timely (though a decade old now) memoir and searching spiritual journey. From Frederick Buechner (ALL of whose books could be listed here!), via Amazon: “This beautiful book is rich with wit and humanness and honesty and loving detail….I cannot overstate how liberating and transforming I have found Leaving Church to be.” ‘Leaving church’ has become an epidemic that is growing…and one great reason RTE was born; and to ponder why is aided and abetted by this readable work.

     

    Learning to Walk in the Dark (2015) – has a STUDY GUIDE

    From the website: “Taylor has become increasingly uncomfortable with our tendency to associate all that is good with lightness and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness. Doesn’t God work in the nighttime as well? … She argues that we need to move away from our “solar spirituality” and ease our way into appreciating “lunar spirituality” (since, like the moon, our experience of the light waxes and wanes). Through darkness we find courage, we understand the world in new ways, and we feel God’s presence around us, guiding us through things seen and unseen. Often, it is while we are in the dark that we grow the most…With her characteristic charm and literary wisdom, Taylor is our guide through a spirituality of the nighttime, teaching us how to find our footing in times of uncertainty and giving us strength and hope to face all of life’s challenging moments.” RTE may well lead you into a ‘cloud of unknowing’ or a ‘dark night of the soul’ experience—which are necessary and unavoidable for spiritual growth and maturity!…and this book is a GREAT companion for this part of the journey.

     

    Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others (2019) -- Has a STUDY GUIDE

    This is an AMAZING achievement….and you will come away amazed by and in love with other spiritual traditions when you jump into this wonderful book. From Amazon: “…she contemplates the myriad ways other people and traditions encounter the Transcendent, both by digging deeper into those traditions herself and by seeing them through her students’ eyes as she sets off with them on field trips to monasteries, temples, and mosques. Troubled and inspired by what she learns, Taylor returns to her own tradition for guidance, finding new meaning in old teachings that have too often been used to exclude religious strangers instead of embracing the divine challenges they present. Re-imagining some central stories from the religion she knows best, she takes heart in how often God chooses outsiders to teach insiders how out-of-bounds God really is. ‘New meaning in old teachings…embracing diversity and other traditions…and ‘out-of-bounds’ uncaged God free doctrinal chains….yeah….RTE!

     

    BRIAN McLAREN 

    Brian is so prolific we’re just listing some of his works here, that are part of the same journey that RTE is travelling. Except he’s been travelling it a lot longer and with much greater erudition and intellectual depth! This list are the books that we think would be of great benefit for anyone seeking to return to Eden.

     

    Do I Stay Christian? (2022) -- STUDY GUIDE w. VIDEOS and an ONLINE ‘pop-up community’ HERE

     

    Ok, so we ARE commenting on this one, lol. And the main comment is to say READ THIS…over and over. And it’s not easy going at first, due to its incredible honesty (and historical detail) about the many failures (and pain and destruction) that has been wrought by institutional Christendom down through the ages…and incredible honest and personal reflections about such. But the book doesn’t end there, and explores

     

    Faith After Doubt (2021)

     

    The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World's Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian (2016)

     

    A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (2011)

     

    Everything Must Change: When the World's Biggest Problems and Jesus' Good News Collide Paperback (2009)

     

    RICHARD ROHR

    Perhaps more than any other author, preacher, and spiritual leader, Fr. Richard Rohr started us down the path of returning to Eden…and just about any of his books will augment the journey and provide incredible motivation and wisdom along the way, Fr. Richard is perhaps the greatest mystic of our time and one of the world’s great spiritual treasures today. This is a list of our favorites, in no particular order.

     

    The Universal Christ

     

    Falling Upward

     

    Immortal Diamond

     

    Yes, And…

     

    Everything Belongs

     

    What the Mystics Know

     

    The Wisdom Pattern

     

    Breathing underwater

     

    The Divine Dance

     

    The Naked Now

     

     

    ROB BELL

    A megachurch pastor, who attracted tons of young people…and who got thrown off the evangelical cliff when he told the world how “love wins, and now has even more success as a writer, speaker, and a living phenomenon helping souls open to the Holy…because everything is spiritual! Al these books below (not nearly all he has written) are fit for the return to Eden and would be a great group study.

     

    Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (2012)

     

    What We Talk About When We Talk About God (2014)

     

    How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living (2017)

     

    What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything (2019)

     

    Everything is Spiritual – Who We Are and What We’re Doing Here (2020)

     


    KEN WILBUR

    American philosopher, teacher, writer, mystic, creator of Integral Theory…and a guy most of these other authors read and quote all the time!

     

    One Taste--Daily Reflections on Integral Spirituality (2000)

    A journal from Wilbur; from Amazon: "If there is a theme to this journal," Wilber writes, "it is that body, mind, and the luminosities of the soul—all are perfect expressions of the Radiant Spirit that alone inhabits the universe, sublime gestures of that Great Perfection that alone outshines the world."

     

     

    WEBSITES

    The Center for Action and Contemplation

    If NOTHING else, sign up for Richard Rohr’s ‘Daily Meditations’

     

    Evofaith Tribe

    Created by our good friend, Rev. John van de Laar in South Africa, this site is a literal goldmine for spiritual practices, opening your mind and soul, and joining on the evolution of GOOD in the world! For those who...

    - seek an intentional spirituality but no longer find religious organizations enough or helpful.

    - long to integrate spirituality with an honest view of the universe as revealed by science.

    - seek intentional spiritual support and community but can’t find it where they are.

    - long to share their spiritual journey with like-minded companions who are open to question, explore, experiment, and discover with open minds and hearts.

     

    Contemplative Outreach

    GREAT site for learning centering prayer and all about contemplative living -- has MANY local chapters (and they can come and help you at your church!), which you can find at their main site.

     

     

    PROGRESSIVE WORSHIP & LITURGY

    Sacredise – Liturgical Resources for Progressive Communities

    Another GEM from John van de Laar! Complete with full lectionary resources – John hits it out the park every week

     

    Progressivechristianity.org

    “Spiritual networking and resources for an evolving faith”

     

    Revd Rex A E Hunt

    A kindred soul, minister, naturalist, and social ecologist from Australia

     

    pastordawn

    “21st Century Progressive Christian Pastor” – see her worship/preaching links

     

     

    MUST SEE VIDEOS

    Rob Bell: Everything is Spiritual (2016 Tour Film)

    You’ll want to watch it again and again – how the universe evolved in love to become you. And what’s next…

     

    Rob Bell: 'What We Talk About When We Talk About God'

    From Vanderbilt University – great teaching tool

     

    Richard Rohr - Contemplative Prayer

    The first half hour or so is the best thing you’ll ever see about your True self vs. the False self, ego, and and how to live in touch with your soul

     

    THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LIST – WE WILL BE UPDATING IT OFTEN!