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Radical Gifts

Living the Full Christian Life in Troubled Times

 
“We are living in the midst of a turning point in the history of Christianity that is more radical than the Reformation period, perhaps as radical as the birth of Christianity itself. This emerging form of Christianity is so new that it does not seem to be Christianity at all to many people.” –Gene W. Marshall, from the Preface

Radical Gifts is the book (the antidote) for those who can no longer stomach the nonsensical decrees and unbelievable premises of traditional Christianity. Human beings created Christianity as a new and meaningful way to approach living. It has evolved many times over the millennia as its institutions, dogmas and practices came and went in step with the rise of human knowledge and societal development.

Here is a book that explains the depth meaning of Christianity for people who consider themselves good thinkers and seek to live lives of depth. Not only is this a book that makes sense of Christianity for the truth seeker, it also lends itself to group discussion. The short chapters are followed with several discussion questions that allow the reader and groups of readers to ground Gene Marshall’s teaching in everyday living on planet earth. The book offers strategies to organize such groups.

Groups who not only can grow in their embrace of life here and now, but also can be emboldened to participate in renewing a healthy society and restoring a healthy planet. These are the real, here and now challenges that face all of us: the planetary challenge to care for all humans and the ecology.

This important book is “radical” in the sense of the original meaning of the word, “going to the root or origin” and it celebrates the enduring gifts of faith, community, and social justice. Faith leader Gene W. Marshall offers an inspirational guide to living the full christian life in troubled times. It is, in essence, a primer on authentic faith and living for progressive Christians.
 

 
By a “relevant Christianity” Gene Marshall means both a recovery and a going forward. He means a recovery, indeed a resurrection, of the full New Testament witness. And he means a moving beyond both the intellectual and social forms that have defined the term “Christian” for hundreds of years.

Gene Marshall sees this as more than a theology book and more than an outline for action; he sees it as a program for living our whole lives in relevant and vital interaction with the times in which we have shown up.

Having a fresh Christian practice is not the only way to make a deep difference, but it is one way. And it is a way to enter into the needed interreligious dialogue with something to say and something to do together with other faiths for the healing of persons and for the justice of societies within these interreligious times. We all face these same troubled times together. This book outlines the Christian gifts to these discussions and these actions. It is an important and necessary part of the conversation going forward for Christians.

“In most cases, people just don’t think about the meaning of liturgical phrases; they simply go with whatever mood or emotional aura hangs around these phrases and call that meaningful. However, such clinging emotionally to old words is a religious unconsciousness; it is not meaningful; it is simply nostalgia. [We must] fight against that sort of powerless religious sentimentality and, instead, nurture … a radical earth-changing faith.” – Gene W. Marshall

In this new and updated edition of his 1984 classic A Primer on Radical Christianity, Gene Marshall continues his “effort to envision for the general reader the radical gifts of the Christian revelation for the tasks of realistic living in our contemporary settings.”

Progressive Christians will be immediately drawn to Marshall’s discussions of “Spirit” sickness and how to heal it, his reflections on the nature of God, the relevance of the life of Jesus for people today, and the importance of community and of ethical thinking, which are as fresh and challenging today as they were when he first wrote on these topics.

This edition features two new appendixes, which contain updates to his original chapters on “ethical thinking” and “the community of the committed.”
 
 
Recommendations:
“We are in a time in history when transformation is happening. Radical Gifts offers insights into our history and our future, which will allow our human spirit to continue to thrive in harmony with the radical reality we are living”. -Leroy Philbrook

“The journey orchestrated by Gene Marshall is not abstract, intellectual, or lost in scholarly clouds. Rather, this deeply personal journey produces an intensity of living born of the encounter with absolute fear and ultimate fascination. You will not escape Radical Gifts unchallenged or unchanged.” -Michael D. May, Interior Mythos Journey

“Gene Marshall represents nearly 50 years of the Resurgent Christianity movement taking the worn and outdated metaphors of traditional Christian “poetry” and grounding them in the existential realities of today. He updates his 1984 book with additional insights and clarity. I have used it as a personal devotional, using the exercises he suggests for each chapter. I am offering it as the basis for a class to be taught in my church. Particularly helpful is his discussion of the difference between the historical Jesus of Nazareth and the dynamic we call the Jesus Christ of faith.” -Harold Slater

“Radical Gifts is the book (the antidote) for those who can no longer stomach the nonsensical decrees and unbelievable premises of traditional Christianity. Human beings created Christianity as a new and meaningful way to approach living. It has evolved many times over the millennia as its institutions, dogmas and practices came and went. in step with the rise of human knowledge and societal change. Here is a book that explains the depth meaning of Christianity for people who consider themselves good thinkers and seek to live lives of depth. Not only is this a book that makes sense of Christianity for the truth seeker, it also lends itself to groups of truth seekers. The short chapters are followed with several discussion questions that allow the reader and groups of readers to ground the book’s teachings in everyday living on planet earth. The book offers strategies to organize such groups. Groups who not only can grow in their embrace of life here and now, but also can be emboldened to participate in renewing a healthy society and addressing the climate change emergency. These are the real, here and now challenges that face us all.” -Houston H. Markley

“Gene Marshall illuminates the profound possibilities of the Christian Faith when it is understood as a living tradition of healing and transformation of one’s presence and ethical action in this world.” -Larry Ward

Contents
1. What is Spirit?
2. What is Spirit Sickness and How is it Healed?
3. What does Spirit Health Include?
4. What Reality in Human Experience Do we point to with the Word, “God”?
5. What Does All This Have To Do with Jesus Christ?
6. What is Commitment to God, to Christ, to Holy Spirit?
7. What Consequences Does this Commitment Have for Ethical Thinking?
8. What Will Be the Coming Social Shape of the Community of the Committed?
Appendix A: Prayer and the House Church Meeting
Appendix B: Reality, God, and Liturgical Language
Appendix C: Immortality, Reincarnation, and the Spirit Self
Appendix D: A Chapter 7 Update on the Commitment to Ethical Thinking
Appendix E: A Chapter 8 Update on the Community of the Committed

 
About the Author
Gene W. Marshall began his education as a mathematician and physicist. In 1953, he decided to leave a mathematics career and attend seminary at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. He has served as a local church pastor, a chaplain in the army, and in 1962 joined a religious order of families (the Order: Ecumenical), and travelled the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, India, Hong Kong, and Australia teaching and lecturing on religious and social ethics topics. These trips included an in depth study of world cultures and a vivid sense of the social conditions of the world’s peoples. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights revolution, serving for one year as the Protestant executive of The National Conference on Religion and Race. For six years he served as dean of an eight-week residential academy that trained leadership personnel for religious and social engagement work throughout the world. In 1984, he and his wife, Joyce Marshall, organized a nonprofit educational organization, Realistic Living, and began publishing journals, books, and essays. The couple were also organizers of bioregionalism – a geographically sensitive form of ecological realism, radical feminism, and interreligious sensibilities.

A 10-session study guide for this book can be found on the Realistic Living Blog Site.

You can click the purchase button to order from Amazon,  or you can order from the Publisher Wood Lake Books.

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