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An Unorthodox Faith: A New Reformation in a Postmodern World

This book is the second volume in a series of three books to be published by Wipf and Stock. The first volume was A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World (February 2016). The third title will be People of the Way: Passion and Resistance in a Postmodern World (Early 2018).

An Unorthodox Faith proposes an alternative to traditional Christian creeds and theology with a simpler humanist theology of love and compassion. It explores the implications for faith and ethics based on the proposition that “God is love”—not a loving supernatural being, but, more radically, frail human love itself. The book deconstructs traditional images of God as cosmic creator and occasional interventionist, the apocalyptic image of Christ, the image of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural being, medieval images of heaven and hell, ancient doctrines of sin and atonement, and contemporary beliefs in resurrection and eternal life. When all of these concepts are removed from traditional Christianity, what remains is a deeply spiritual humanism of service and social action—a way of living that reflects the words and deeds of the historical Jesus.

Alternatively, this book will present a simple postmodern theology that presents God as a symbolic personification of human love; Jesus as a teacher of radical compassion and an outspoken agent of social justice; the kingdom of God as a “conspiracy of love” that challenges the unjust systems of the world; the Way of Jesus as a journey of transformation from cultural captivity to a counter-cultural life of activism and service; the cross as a symbol of the consequences of defying the authority and power of the domination system; and the resurrection of Jesus as the epiphany of his ongoing spirit and presence in a vision, in a voice, or in the face of a stranger.

The back cover states:

The time is ripe for a new Christian reformation—a profound transformation of theological substance, not just liturgical style. Jesus never intended to create a new religion of rites, rituals, and dogma that offered an eternal reward in heaven. Instead Jesus announced the subversive arrival of the kingdom of God—a social and economic revolution of the heart based on a lifestyle of radical love, lavish generosity, extravagant forgiveness, inclusive hospitality, compassionate action, selfless service, a passion for justice, creative nonviolence, and simple living. He invited his followers to transform their lives and change the world.

A postmodern Christianity will call people to engage in the Jesus revolution—a conspiracy of love that rises up against the unjust systems of the world through everyday acts of compassion and resistance. An Unorthodox Faith provides a framework for a renewed faith based on the Way of Jesus—a way of living authentically and humanely for the sake of others. It offers many different people—those who remain in the church, those who have left, and those who have never ventured near—with a life of faith that is meaningful, intelligent, and passionate.

 

Table of contents:

  • preface: a dissenting opinion
  • introduction: a new reformation

part 1: the great detour

  • losing our way
  • the two gospels

part 2: deconstruction

  • deconstructing God
  • the God of the cosmos
  • the God who intervenes
  • the apocalyptic Christ
  • sin and atonement
  • heaven and hell
  • resurrection and eternal life

part 3: reformation

  • a God of love
  • a prophetic Jesus
  • a holy spirit

part 4: a new path

  • a theology of weakness
  • a religionless Christianity
  • the way of love
  • a conspiracy of love

 

You can sample this book with Wipf and Stock’s “look inside” feature. Amazon lists the book for $32. The publisher Wipf and Stock offers it for a 20 percent discount – $25.60. The Kindle version is $9.99.

Review & Commentary