There is an urgent need for more debate and discussion in our churches because the integrity and credibility of our faith is at risk. Our integrity is at risk because it is not clear that we understand what it is that we profess. Our credibility is at risk because we seem unable to communicate it. We need to engage more actively at the intellectual level and to be willing to examine the fundamentals of our faith more critically. And such discussion must start with a human rather than a divine perspective. It is as human beings that we are embodied as persons, it is as human beings that we engage with the world around us, and it is as human beings that we form relationships with the rest of the created order. And it is as a human being that that which we understand as God was embodied in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, thereby placing humanity at the pinnacle of creation and giving humanity the responsibility for the stewardship of the created order.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
By referencing many of his favourite progressive Christianity authors, Payne adds a freshness to the topics covered in this book. Although for many progressive Christian readers there will be little new in seeing spirituality as a human construct and quality, what Payne offers is an engaging, interesting and informative analytical yet accessible mix of art; Christian theologies; classical and ancient Greek philosophers; contemporary politics and social commentary; economics; ethics; history; humanism; mysticism; psychology; story; theatre - all rooted in the routine of daily lives, of life in action.
There are particularly insightful comments upon aspects of both the Hebrew and Christian Testaments, particularly in the discussions concerning the place of beauty; courage; creativity; faith; goodness; hope; humanity; integrity; justice; loving unconditionally and wastefully; mystery; myth; personal and corporate transformation as 'resurrection now'; wisdom - all set within society focussed upon an expression of that which we call 'God' for the common good.
A number of challenging sections deal with the issues of cultural, economic and verbal injustice; of good and evil; of racism's exclusion, discrimination and mistreatment of those who are different-and all within the context of worship and the role of the Church. For example, Payne writes, "There is more than a tendency in our [Christian] tradition to separate the worship of God from the welfare of people. In our liturgy we add the needs of the world as an after thought.. .. It is as if we can somehow engage with God without engaging with others at the same time. Is this really what we believe?"
'A Different Way: A human approach to the divine' is extremely readable and offers much to those who are engaging with and exploring personal and corporate faith more critically. It signposts a universal spirituality for the future, particularly for those who base their personal life upon the example of Jesus of Nazareth and the Christian Testament stories about him.
There is an excellent and comprehensive Reference and Bibliography section of some 150 books.
Even though there is a weakness in that inclusive language has not been used, I unreservedly recommend this book. The last word goes to Payne, "The idea that life is a pilgrimage towards wholeness in God expresses a truth about this book." ~ Rev. John Churcher, Progressive Christianity Network
...very readable and it will have a place on my book shelf - it will be recommended often! ~ Rev. John Churcher