Friday, September 11, 2009

Spirituality & Practice reviews Writing in the Sand

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of Spirituality and Practice review Thomas Moore’s new book, Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels:
"In this ambitious work, Moore sets out to present "a completely new Jesus, a figure I believe any 21st-century person could adopt as a focus for a vibrant and intelligent spiritual life, one that doesn't defend itself against the shadow elements." He has aimed this lively portrait of the Man from Nazareth at seekers of all types and people of different religions. Moore wants to reinterpret and re-imagine the stories and the imagery of the Gospels, which he sees as "an intelligent and profound source of insight into the essential problems of the human race."

The first thing he deals with in this soulful treatment of the mysterious depths of the Gospels is the kingdom of God. It is not a description of the afterlife but an inner dimension that is expressed through healing, wakening, caring for, and calming others. "The kingdom is not a place," Moore continues, "not a thing, not an institution, not a membership. Maybe it is most like an attitude, a way of seeing, a turn of imagination that makes all the difference."
The Brussats show support for Moore’s writing by stating,
“Moore is right on target when he writes: "The Gospels do not focus on a plan for spiritual self-improvement and a virtuous personality. They are not a set of platitudes about living properly but rather a restructuring of the human imagination about how we can be in relation to each other and to the world. They offer a new way of imagining the human worldwide community."

There are four key elements in the kingdom: basilea, metanoia, therapeia, and agape. Moore covers them all. With a boldness that challenges the traditional image of Jesus, the author starts with a section on Jesus the Epicurean, using it as a chance to ponder the allusive meaning of the wedding at Cana story which embraces marriage, a change of vision, pleasure, and the transformed life. Moore's interpretation will have little resonance with those in the Church whom Jung once characterized as "a misery institute." But for many of us, it will be refreshing and exhilarating."
The review page offers an excerpt from Writing in the Sand about Vision.

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