Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ministry message is outside traditional hierarchy

Celebrating the paperback release of Thomas Moore's Writing in the Sand (Hay House, 2009) this summer, Rev. Edward Townley praises Moore's prose after outlining the plot of Miguel de Ghelderode’s play Pantagleize, by suggesting:
"... I was in the company of a spiritual Pantagleize, listening intently to his gentle voice as we walked together through the explosive, raging battlefield of contemporary biblical scholarship, history, interpretation, absolutism, faith and doubt. Hidden mines explode around us, bullets whiz by our heads, the noise of attacks and counter-attacks is deafening and the air is so filled with accusatory dust that breathing is nearly impossible. There are too many different armies to even count; but they are fortunately much too busy trying to destroy each other to even notice quiet Pantagleize and his nervous but eager companion, pausing amid the confusion to appreciate the incredible beauty, love and spiritual support offered by the true message of Jesus of Nazareth – a message that continues to grow and blossom even in the midst of the increasingly noisy but essentially meaningless battles that rage around us."
In "A Fresh Eye on the Gospels: A Review of Writing in the Sand" posted 18 May 2010 on, Townley shares:
"The subtitle of Moore’s book is "Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels," and its basic premise is that the true message of the ministry of Jesus Christ is so powerful, so earth-shaking in its full implications, that people have, for 2,000 years, been avoiding it by misreading the gospels, and by keeping Jesus himself locked within the stonewall structure of traditional church.
The book is rich in examples, comfortable in its use of all four gospels, gentle in its implicit understanding of the fear-based, limited vision that has denied the presence of these elements within each individual and moved them instead into a hierarchical religious structure. None of what Moore has to say is new; a strong mystical stream of fresh vision and personal empowerment has been flowing through the overall Christian movement since its earliest days – often opposed and repressed by those maintaining a more conservative and traditional view. I think Moore is correct in his insistence that Jesus himself was not conservative, and he was not a traditionalist. And I think he explains and defends his viewpoint beautifully and gracefully. Writing in the Sand will move and delight those whose own hearts have been guiding them in this direction. And it may even inspire those most resistant to its message to be still and quiet long enough to realize that, whether they agree or not, there is absolutely nothing in the message to fear.
Townley is senior minister at Unity of Greater Hartford in South Windsor, Connecticut and writer of The Secret According to Jesus: Living a Joyful Life.

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