Submitted by bill on Tue, 08/29/2006 - 10:26.
A Quick Very Look At "A Heretic's Guide To Eternity"
Here are some quotes from Spencer Burke's and Barry Taylor's just released book, A Heretics Guide to Eternity.
[William Ventimiglia] goes on to quote Jesus' analogy of the Holy Spirit as a wind that blows where it chooses and writes that this element of God's action in the world has “always been a problem for organized religion with its well-established categories of understanding.” (Heretic's Guide, p8)
This reminds me of Reido's use of this same quote. Let's look at it.
A man named Nicodemus comes to see Jesus at night. He recognizes that “we” know that Jesus is from God because of the things he does. But Jesus interrupts him and tells him “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Most Christians leaders will tell you that Jesus is speaking of baptism, but that's pretty simplistic to think that the gospel writer would bother to put such an obvious statement in amongst so much symbolism. Nevertheless, Jesus goes on to say the following.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (emphasis mine) (John 3:6-7)
Jesus is obviously talking about something way different than believing the right propositions and getting dunked in the hot tub.
Burke and Taylor have already used some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's letters from prison regarding what he saw as the end of religion as we know it. Bonhoeffer was writing from a Nazi prison cell in the 1940's.
But what if Bonhoeffer was right? What if the last nineteen hundred years of Christian theology and practice were just a temporary form of human self-expression? What if we have now reached the point where we can live beyond religion? Could it be that we will soon see the spirit released in the world in brand-new ways, without the baggage of religion? Could it be that the eventual collapse of current religious systems will in fact prove to be a literal high-water mark in faith—that in fact many of the “fundamentals”aren't fundamental after all? (Heretic's Guide, p8)
What do you think? We've discussed such a change in the wind, a few times here. This looks like another land-mark book. It is not the beginning of a change but an acknowledgment of it. I'll bring more thoughts from Heretic's Guide as I read through it.