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A review of SAVING GOD FROM RELIGION: A minister’s search for faith in a skeptical age

by Robin R Meyers

 

A review of
SAVING GOD FROM RELIGION: A minister’s search for faith in a skeptical age.
by Robin R Meyers
2020 Published by Convergent, New York (an imprint of Random House)
by Beverley Burlock

I confess, when I first started reading, I was feeling a tad disappointed. However, I quickly realized, Robin Meyers wasn’t speaking to me, a member of the choir. Rather, he was talking to those who didn’t yet know they too could sing. Who’d perhaps been told they couldn’t, thus didn’t fit in and so weren’t needed. Or wanted.

And then I became captivated as he drew me in, along on the trip (Life is a trip not a destination). As I went even further, it became “Ah Hah!” as my own thoughts were confirmed, affirmed, and “YESSSS” as he put words to feelings, until then unnamed .

This is such a readable book. Fully accessible, with beautiful language, remarkable and relatable original metaphors, delightful stories (parables) and a wonderful, if wry, sense of humour. As though you’re having a serious chat with a passionate friend.

A very honest one at that. No topic is forbidden, no false, empty words are spoken. He shares with you the wisdom that years of experience have taught him – because he never stopped being open to learning and growing – which of course, are best together.

Meyers brings up things you’ve wondered about, comments you’ve been hurt, or maybe even crushed, by, which have wildly confused you. And to which others either offer unsatisfactory responses or avoid altogether. It is all so calm, reasonable, caring. Pastoral, one could say, as though he hears your “Yes but, what about…?”

Most current religious language comes with such baggage, such negative and misunderstood baggage, mostly because far too many churches and their clergy have not taught their adults any more depth in their worship than received in Sunday School. Just as scientific language also gets misinterpreted and then mis-explained, so too has theological and religious language. Meyers brings it all down to earth to our daily lives.

Furthermore, he relates new quantum science in understandable ways Then he shows how this makes so much more sense when used for a perspective on the world, than the old science – much of which has now become obsolete, because science is continuously open to growth, learning and change. Theology does seems to be the only topic in which the words learning and change are bad, if not evil. In no other topic would we base decisions on information that was trillions of years out of date. We’d expect, nay demand, up-to-date criteria.

Meyers suggests it would help a lot in untangling the confusions if we were taught to check out things assumed to be true, so longly held they’re never questioned. However, if one
does dig deeper to uncover what the assumption sprung from, we’ll also discover a long line of resulting decisions based on it that were erroneous, because the original was not, perhaps never was, true.

Some chapter subtitles include The Common Good and Collective Responsibility, both of which are diminishing at a fast rate, as well as Unoriginal Sin about the damage that past theological teachings have wrought not just on people, but on the whole earth as well. Two other eye-catching chapter sub-titles: Knowledge is not redemptive and Doubt is not the enemy.

Perhaps the most remarkable and hopeful thing Meyers offers through the book, is the concept of his Theology of Consequences. “A theology of consequences answers the despair of perceived personal insignificance with faith in a universal significance we cannot see but can depend upon.”

Meyers has really been taken with, as have I, Barbara Brown Taylor`s concept of The Luminous Web (in her book by the same title). Not only that, this concept applies so directly to those recent scientific quantum discoveries – about fields and strings. Those discoveries are mind-boggling and awesome, which have been proven but not ‘explained’, nor are they really ‘understood’. But it does prove that all is interconnected.

A note plucked on one web strand reverberates throughout the whole web. Reverberates whether that note is sour or sweet. Interconnected. So – Everything has Consequences. As indigenous peoples mean when they say “All my relations “, that’s not just blood, or community neighbours, or strangers even, but all creatures, all nature, in fact Mother Earth herself. Along with that comes the seeming paradox of humility coupled with a healthy self confidence, to deep respect.

Such a web perspective, scientifically and theological brings us back to mystery, wonder and awe.

This book should be required reading for seminarians, their professors, and as Continuing Education for all currently ordained clergy. Perhaps especially it should be required reading for the media – so their reporting and articles on religion would be more enlightened and thus more informative.


Saving God from Religion: A Minister’s Search For Faith In A Skeptical Age by Robin Meyers

In this groundbreaking, inspiring book, Robin R. Meyers, the senior minister of Oklahoma City’s Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ, shows how readers can move from a theology of obedience to one of consequence. He argues that we need to stop seeing our actions as a means for pleasing a distant God and rediscover how God has empowered us to care for ourselves and the world. Drawing on stories from his decades of active ministry, Meyers captures how the struggles of ordinary people hint at how we can approach faith as a radical act of trust in a God who is all around us, even in our doubts and the moments of life we fear the most.

“A revelatory manifesto on how we can reclaim faith from abstract doctrines and rigid morals to find God in the joys and ambiguities of everyday life, from the acclaimed author of Saving Jesus from the Church. “In this book of stories from four decades of ministry, Meyers powerfully captures what it means to believe in a God who’s revealed not in creeds or morals but in the struggles and beauty of our ordinary lives.”—Richard Rohr, bestselling author of The Universal Christ

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