• Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    Psychedelic Christianity is not a book about Christian information, it is more of a transformational reading experience. The term “all in all” is explored in how a psychedelic trip can bring you towards an experience in the truth of the Word and remain in the Word. Psychedelic Christianity may be a book ahead of its time! This is a read that has a Divine lure which includes and transcends the tradition; a bold view of the Kingdom of God. ~ James F. Skalicky, Ph.D., Psychotherapist, Professor of Psychology, Citrus College (ret.)

  • Christian Middle Way, The
    Robert M. Ellis
    ‘The Christian Middle Way’ deploys three main tools: the notion of brain lateralisation, a clear distinction between ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ and, coupled with that, a distinction between ‘absolute’ and ‘provisional’. These tools are used to re-describe the history of Christian doctrine not only in some fine detail, but also providing illustrations of the re-description of possible Christian practice. These tasks are effected in considerable detail.
    Hardly a page is turned that does not provide an occasion for some questioning, or for some ‘internal conversation’ with the writer. Perhaps here lies its value: it is written, largely, in a manner congruent with its claims: it is not an attempt to declare ultimate truths, but is rather the story of part of a life accompanied by rich reflections, giving rise to provisional conclusions as how one might think, and speak, about one’s actions. If one was looking for a thoroughgoing intellectual work-out for one's current faith and practice as understood in the context of one's actual experience over the years, then this might be the place to do it.
    David Lambourn, former clergyman and now member of the ‘Sea of Faith’ network
    ~ David Lambourn, correspondence

  • Friday's Child
    Brian Mountford
    After leaving Christ Church Southgate in 1986, Reverend Brian Mountford became Vicar of the University Church in Oxford - the country’s most visited parish church. He retired in 2016 after thirty years of ministry there and is currently Acting Chaplain of Corpus Christi College.

    In the first years of his time in Oxford, the doors of the church were closed on Good Friday - left ajar for all but the devout few to squeeze through and attend The Three Hours service, while the cafe in the courtyard outside continued to do a roaring trade. A groundswell of letters and comments from visitors - (particularly from Catholic countries) - saying how surprised they were not to see the church open, led to a change of heart. The gates were flung wide. Passiontide and Easter music was performed by the city’s choirs and orchestras. The Stations of the Cross were walked. Visitors could come and go as they pleased. More people, no less piety.

    During the day, Brian invited senior students from local secondary schools to read aloud poems, which he has collated in this anthology, published last week under the title “Friday’s Child.”

    Containing 35 poems and concluding with 5 prayers, this anthology is a perfect size for use to aid daily reflections in Lent - but also a wonderful book to enjoy at other times (sometimes I find anthologies can be cumbersome to hold and too dense to engage with). In Friday’s Child, Brian has done the excavating for us and presents well known and not so well known works (to me at least!) including poems not obviously associated with Lent or Passiontide (such as the Corpus Christi Carol, which I can’t read without thinking of the music Britten composed and the version of the carol sung by Jeff Buckley).

    Each poem is clearly set out and followed by a commentary written by Brian. This was particularly helpful to gain an insight into some of the more complicated pieces - such as John Donne’s “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward.” I preferred it when the commentary was printed overleaf rather than on the facing page - because, despite trying to exercise Lenten self-control, I am very naughty (and lazy!) and if I got stuck trying to ponder the meaning of a poem I glanced over to see what Brian thought rather than stretch my mind to think for myself! A page turn somehow made me less inclined to do that!

    I tried reading aloud several of the poems (an action we now associate with illiteracy - “silent reading” is a relatively modern innovation in the scheme of things) - imagining the young voices reciting the poems in the church. There are some wonderful quotes from the students at the beginning of the book sharing the power of this experience;

    “Reading these poems was always an important part of my year. They opened up discussions about doubt, religious doctrine, and human nature for me. This is how young people want to be treated; we never felt patronized, but our voices were, in every sense, heard.”

    The poems certainly do open up discussion and inspire further thought. The anthology is subtitled “Poems of suffering and redemption” and I wondered if it would be valuable to those in a process of meaning-making in grief, when coming to terms with loss?

    There is much to take away from this little book. Friday’s Child is, as the saying goes, loving and giving. ~ Phillip Dawson, Quam dilecta blog

  • Questioning the Incarnation
    Peter Shepherd
    ‘Questioning the Incarnation’ is then a book with a wealth of knowledge revealing the author’s passion to offer a new approach to Christology and shows clearly a lifetime’s commitment to learning and to a loyalty to much of the historic claims of the Christian faith. ~ Adrian Alker, Chair, Progressive Christianity Network Britain.

  • Authority of Service and Love, The
    Roger Payne
    This is a very interesting book about the crisis of authority in the Christian Church. It begins with a discussion of the relationship between authority, tradition, power and legitimacy as they relate to scripture and the church as an institution. There is always a balance to be struck between revelation and reason and the relative emphasis between tradition and the Bible varies, with reformers tipping the balance towards the latter and a literal interpretation that itself has partly created the crisis of authority. The author discusses exercise of authority in the early years of the Church and the exercise of power in the Middle Ages. He then examines how we respond to religious authority and why we do so in psychological terms. Living as we do in an age of extremes, it is instructive to look at authoritarianism, dogmatism and kind of blind obedience characteristic of fundamentalism. This leads him to a new understanding of authority as service and love, as indicated in the title. A well informed and timely discussion. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer Issue 125

  • Friday's Child
    Brian Mountford
    Congratulations on 'Friday's Child'. It provides my nightly meditation before I go to bed. It is a wonderful choice of poems, many of which would be too difficult to understand, were it not for the excellent introductions. You will be pleased to know that I shall be purchasing copies this afternoon for the children. ~ Richard Pring , Professor of Education

  • Friday's Child
    Brian Mountford
    Dear Brian
    Just a line to say how much I am enjoying Friday's Child - I have read a couple of poems and commentary in bed each night. and have loved the experience: Blake, Duffy, Heaney, Herbert, Larkin, Donne....and in so many cases poems I hadn't known or read before. It's been (and will continue to be) a genuinely uplifting, thought-provoking and rewarding experience.
    Once it's readily available I shall be giving it to friends....
    ~ David Kewley, Independent Publisher

  • Energizing Love
    Phil Philosofree Cheney
    This book is about UILE, or Universal Intentional Love Energy where, fortuitously, the acronym is the old Irish for all or whole. The book provides a roadmap for accessing this energy in life and removing the obstacles to it. We can only change ourselves and must discover our own path or philosophy. Phil uses the neologism philosofree to denote the direction of travel. Dreams can be an important gateway into a wider imaginative awareness, and he provides guidance along the way in terms of altering our patterns of thought and feeling and reaching a deeper level of enjoyment. However, pain, sorrow and grief can also turn out to be the seeds of later joy. He recommends a balanced life where we choose love as our centre of gravity and remain alert to the present moment. This also means being authentic and acting in love. He is right about the education system lacking an underlying model of the human being and assuming, wrongly, that knowledge is what we need to succeed. He adds: ‘it does not know how to teach virtues, spirit and friendship, and ways to interpret what is ethical life instead of pushing the materialism barrow.’ Ultimately, we do have our own universal spiritual GPS, and this book is a timely reminder of this fact. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    This is not an easy read yet the rewards are worth the perseverance, particularly if the reader is not used to the mental gymnastics required. The work is undoubtedly more at home in the domain of the philosopher rather than the theologian in the first few chapters, but it seems a wordy way of saying 'It is better to travel in hope than to finally arrive' or that 'it is human to strive for "something", otherwise there is only a form of death'.

    One thing it cannot fail to achieve, however, is to stretch the reader's understanding of spirituality and the soul's growth. In its working of logical arguments it highlights the dissatisfaction of a classic position leading to either an exciting train of thought that explores many other possibilities or be a trap of monumental mental proportions that ensnares the reader in a spirituality that is essentially Gnostic.

    In time the initial inference of the title is made plain with the assumption and encouragement that one takes mind expanding assistance of some kind or other to experience a form of transcendence that will ultimately change all who partake of such things in a positive spiritual way and open themselves up to love. Although words such as 'grace' are used there is no mention, however, of the traditional spiritual discipline and understanding of prayer in relation to Grace, Redemption and Faith but an underlying concept of reaching out for an 'ultimate' goal through experience.

    This book will not be everybody's cup of tea nor rest easily with their way of thinking. Having been a psychiatric nurse, am an ordained priest, a psychic and a Counsellor/Psychologist I am not attracted to try this route for myself for I have seen too many adverse reactions, but before there be any words of condemnation I suggest the reader attempts to place their religious scruples and prejudices to one side to consider just what Jack Call is saying alongside the suggestion of psychedelic chemical use and evaluate where the practice has led him. It might surprise them.

    ~ Rev John Littlewood, BSc (Hons), Cert Pastoral Theology (Cambs), Cert Theology (Cambs)

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    A challenging read but worth it. A philosophical inquiry into the nature of God, with the author’s experiences with psychedelic assistance in opening to the wonder of the Divine. ~ Cathy Dehaven, hospice RN (ret.)

  • Meeting Evil with Mercy
    Philip Pegler
    There are some Christian teachers who, for reasons hard to define, attract an unusual personal following. One thinks of Metropolitan Anthony Bloom in the Orthodox tradition; Frank Lake, another Anglican psychotherapist, and Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones in the reformed tradition. The grateful students of such teachers sometimes become disciples. Martin Israel drew that kind of following, and Philip Pegler, who personally owes much to him, is of their company. That is not a criticism of his work - Pegler does not skate over his subject’s foibles - but it does perhaps explain the tenor of the book. Dedicated to the memory of a possibly saintly and certainly extremely complicated man, it is sometimes almost devotional in tone. And none the worse for that.

    (excerpt from a review in the January 2018 issue of The Way magazine) ~ John Pridmore, The Way magazine

  • Heart of Oneness
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Those of our readers who already know Jennifer Kavanagh’s work will be pleased to see a new publication. This short book is an essay on interconnectedness and is intended in as an antidote to the depressing news we see on our screens every day. She writes: We need to remember that alongside the horrors there exists a parallel reality of compassion, love, daily acts of kindness and selflessness, expressions of what we know in our hearts to be the true: our essential interconnectedness. Most of the ills of the world stem from our departure from this reality.

    In 10 chapters she explores the political and personal implications of interconnectedness. She describes how when she first volunteered for a homeless project she was sent on a tea run. She was nervous: I walked over to a young man in a sleeping bag and asked if he would like a cup of tea or coffee and whether he took sugar. I found myself forming a relationship with another human being. Instead of passing a bundle in a doorway with embarrassment and guilt, I was doing something, however small, and my preconceptions fell away. It was an epiphany, and I realised in that moment that that bundle in the doorway could have been me. She notes that genetically we are more connected than we realise. Going back only 600 years, the common ancestry of Europeans can be traced to a single individual. Looking beyond the human species, the natural world has numerous examples of mutuality. Indeed, DNA shows that the composition of the human body is remarkably similar to the earth’s crust. Given these connections is it not in order

    for us to respond to the world and to others with a sense of love and kinship? Going beyond the material to the inner world, Kavanagh notes the commonality of faith expressed by many writers, especially in relation to mystical experience, a fact noted by the Quaker, William Penn in the 17th century: The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion, and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the divers liveries they wear here makes them strangers. She concludes: From religion, in science, and from our own daily experience we can see that separation and division are human distortions.

    The book is unashamedly partisan. Although the author recognises that there is much in human life and history that emphasises the contrary, our competiveness and tribalism, she wishes us to turn in a different direction. Maybe if enough of us turned the world might become a happier and more generous place. Such an attitude is not unfamiliar in Quaker circles, though the sceptic may say that only a few have ever been convinced. Kavanagh counters this with the observation: The first thing to recognise is that there is no such thing as a small piece of work. . . . . All we can do and are, I believe, asked to do is inform ourselves and to foster love in our hearts and actions.

    The sentiments expressed in this book are unlikely to surprise universalists though they may appreciate their clear and wellwritten presentation. The ideal audience would be those who have never questioned the divisions of species, religion and nationality which separate us and who might be prepared to look afresh at the values they hold.
    ~ the Universalist, Dorothy Buglass

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    Psychedelic Christianity is an entertaining and lucid evaluation of the usefulness of hallucinogens on achieving insights into key questions that underlie a spiritual quest. These include our relationship to a higher deity and what is expected of us. The argument leads us to examine the ultimate question concerning the goal of existence. Jack Call argues that while this goal has already been reached, it is not the end of the road. All in all, a fresh examination of the overlap between substance-induced spiritual experiences and Christian teachings, and the revelations that one may have on the other. Psychedelic Christianity is an innovative and provocative read that feeds the inquiring mind. ~ Rick Brown, Ph.D., Psychology Dept., Citrus College

  • Friday's Child
    Brian Mountford
    Thank you for your book, which I am enjoying enormously. It fits my attention span perfectly and is making me look again at things I had long taken for granted or never thought about at all. ~ Nigel Hamway, email

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    I was brought up with little religion. My mom and dad are non practicing Christians, and my stepfather is most likely an atheist. What little I know regarding Christianity, I have learned from my grandmothers and I have picked things up here and there. I admit, I am an agnostic and am still trying to figure this all out. That's part of the reason why I wanted to read this book. The other being I've never taken an LSD trip. As someone who is afraid of death and what happens after, this book has brought some comfort. If anything it has taught me a little more about Christianity from a completely different viewpoint. As a scientist, I like things that make logical sense. Not everything does, but the author did an excellent job of using logic in many of his arguments. I enjoyed this, as I felt the author was using more than blind faith to justify his views and to me that is important. Evidence and thought. As a philosopher the author has a way of keeping the reader intrigued by using evidence and logic, some may find the reading a bit dense at times, but others will also appreciate the preciseness of the language used. ~ Paul Swatzel, Professor of Mathematics, Citrus College, Glendora, California

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    Jack Call’s Psychedelic Christianity offers readers a kaleidoscope of profoundly personal experience and emergent theology-- hoping for “glorious joy” in life-after-life while exploring this life, focusing on human desire for moral, sensual and intellectual beauty in the here and now. Not “an aging hippie,” Call shoots from the hip; he is both self-reflective and frankly straight-forward in opinion (e.g. opposing politicized Christianity). Scripture is generously cited. ~ Deanna Wilcox, Executive Director, Kids-Net LA, Inc., a non-profit in service to young foster children

  • Heart of Oneness
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    I finished the book with a sense of hope. Reading it had strengthened my awareness of all manner of connections: between me and other people, with the natural world and with the Divine. I was reminded that no one of us has to save our planet single-handedly. Through spiritual discernment we can each see the part we have to play, and together we can make a difference. And yes, I felt I received both solace and inspiration from this little book. ~ Lynden Easterbrook, Quaker Voices November 17

  • Heart of Oneness
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    “Heart of Oneness is another sublime and profound pearl of spiritual wisdom by Jennifer Kavanagh.
    Her new book is a gorgeous treatise of practical mysticism, a liberating testimony to the truth and reality of oneness, interconnectedness and personal power amidst the divides, difficulties and traumas of today’s world.
    Her inspiring personal journey of actions and initiatives to support and liberate others moved me deeply. In her humble, Quakerful manner she quietly models the path of the non-dual wise soul who truly encompasses “only us” and lives oneness from her heart; as simply and naturally as breathing.” ~ Rev Dr Lynne Sedgmore OBE

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    According to Luke, Jesus says about the Kingdom of Heaven that it isn’t something to be found down the road, but is already here. Similarly, Thomas reports Jesus as having said that the Kingdom of Heaven is already on earth, but that men do not see it. In Psychedelic Christianity, Jack Call echoes these profound and yet puzzling proclamations. Psychedelic Christianity is Jack Call’s most recent exploration into connections he and others have made between insights gained by way of psychedelic and “traditional” religious experience. This is a connection first suggested in God is a Symbol of Something True (2009), and pursued further in some detail in the follow up Dreams and Resurrection (2014). A highly trained philosopher, Jack Call (PhD, Claremont) takes great care to present clear and convincing arguments, and as someone who has walked the walk, speaks with authority about both psychedelic and religious experience. One of the aims of this book is to show how Christianity, how its system of archetypes that constitutes its intelligible framework, can work toward healing the spiritually blind, so that they may now see the Kingdom of Heaven that has been here all along.
    ~ Kurt Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Psychedelic Christianity
    Jack Call
    Jack Call plunges deeply into concerns of meaning and purpose. "What's the point?" he asks. If there is only one ultimate goal, that points to "an eternity that scares me ... frozen, motionless, stale and suffocating." Instead, he paints a vibrant picture of hope for "absolutely fresh newness, as on the day of Creation, with solids that look like they have just gelled from liquid, and liquids that look like shining solids, and everything breathing and squirming with life." Wow!
    This book deepened my understanding of the kingdom Jesus spoke of; it deepened my faith. My own experiences of "spiritual ecstasy" have come through REALLY good music and nature. It was fascinating to read how Jack Call's psychedelic experiences have given him deeply beautiful spiritual insights.
    I hated to have the book end. I know I will read it again. ~ Barbara Kremins, Registered Nurse, retired

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