O Books, 2005
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain
GreenSpirit member Adrian Smith sees the journey away from unquestioned tradition as forking into two slightly different paths.
One group of people, says Adrian:
“.. is moving from an intellectual basis of beliefs and Church practice to search for an experiential religion, inviting into their spiritual lives an emotional dimension. They would describe themselves as Charismatics. Their key word would be religious ‘experience,’ describing both the evident presence of the holy Spirit in their lives and their enjoyment of its community dimension.”
The other group has become disillusioned.
“The realities of today’s world, its science, its increasing human control over nature, its evolutionary theories of our origins, its ever-changing ethical values, all these cause them to regard their previous religious beliefs, traditionally expressed, as no longer tenable and their religious practices as hollow. They gave comfort and made sense to a previous generation – and to themselves in their own childhood – but contribute little to explain the world as they experience it today. Some of this group respond by opting out of Church membership, regarding it as a contemporary irrelevance. Others, whom we name here ‘Tomorrow’s Christians,’ struggle to bring together in a meaningful way, traditional Christianity on the one hand and, on the other, a contemporary, nourishing understanding and expression of it.”
The profound shift in consciousness which is already taking place is, as Adrian says, beyond the awareness of most people.
“The Big Picture is so big that it encompasses a new perception of the supreme mystery, which we name ‘God.’ It calls for a review of our relationship to our fellow human beings with all their differences of faith, color, culture, and a new relationship to the planet we inhabit. The way we live as Christians, our attitudes, our practices, the way we understand Christian doctrine, our prayer life – all these are affected by the great consciousness shift taking place……….. All that till now has underpinned our western culture is in the melting pot. These are not comfortable times.”
To aid his readers in exploring these questions for themselves, Adrian closes each of his chapters with a set of questions. Which makes his book into a really useful workbook for anyone attempting to rework the Christian religion for the Ecozoic Era