I grew up Christian, in the Anglican church in Melbourne and undertook a theology degree in my early twenties while wondering whether to enter the ordained ministry. My studies led me to a great interest in ethics and justice, particularly as they related to environmental sustainability and to the marginalised, the poor and the oppressed. I wanted to understand the economic and political forces that led to environmental degradation and which made some people poor and others rich. Much to my surprise, this path led me to becoming an economist, albeit one with strongly political and spiritual dimensions. I also began work with the aid agency World Vision Australia in 1995, which allowed me to expand my interests in faith, justice and sustainability.
A few years ago I went through a severe crisis of faith, which crept up on me as I tried to hold together my adoration for my own daughters and my lingering horror at the accounts and photographs from the Rwandan genocide that had been brought back by my World Vision colleagues. With the arrival of my own small children, it hit me in a deeply personal way that that I lived in a world where it was only an accident of history and geography that meant that it wasn’t them in some of those photographs. I found that I could, at a pinch, bend my mind to believe in an omni-everything god that would allow such things to happen to my children, and other people’s children, but I struggled to love such a god. My faith was all pretty intellectual and it was crumbling.
What to do? I thought I was becoming an atheist. Not a bad thing necessarily – there are plenty of good and admirable atheists who live out the teachings of Jesus and other great spiritual teachers far better than many Christians. But, again to my surprise, I found that once much of the intellectual attachment to particular rigid doctrines and concepts turned to dust and ran through my fingers, there was still a deep spiritual core to my nature, a growing appreciation of the mystery of the universe and a strong experiential spiritual connection with God, or ‘the Divine’.
So what now? Well, I’d say I am now in an exciting new phase of exploring the depth and breadth of Christian spirituality and also learning what I can of God’s work in other cultures and spiritual traditions. I am much less concerned than I once was about intellectual doctrinal hair splitting, and much more interested in authentic spiritual practice, the lived experiences of people’s relationships with God or ‘the Divine’, and the practical implications and outworkings of those relationships. Economists have a concept called ‘revealed preference’. In short, it means that you don’t ask people what they believe their preferences to be. Instead, you watch what they do. If you take into account their constraints and opportunities, their actions reveal their preferences. And so it is with faith. Our actions, and particularly how we treat people and animals, reveal far more about our relationship with God than anything we profess to believe intellectually. We don’t always get it right of course, and I know I have made plenty of mistakes, particularly through my own ‘dark night of the soul’, and that I have much ‘shadow work’ to do.
I feel like a great vista has opened up, waiting to be explored. Despite its Hebrew roots, Christianity spent its first 1800 years or so having its branches pruned and shaped by Greek philosophy, Roman institutions and European cultural expressions. We should not imagine that its current forms and expressions are the final and only truly authentic expressions of Jesus’ original teachings. Over the last century, and particularly the past 50 years, we have started to see the first fruits of the dialogue between the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity, and of the interactions between Christian thought and the great philosophical and theological traditions of Asia, Africa, Judaism, the Arab and Persian worlds and the indigenous traditions of the Americas, Australia and elsewhere. It’s an exciting time.
I am a great admirer of the Catholic contemplatives such as Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr. I also think Protestants and Catholics alike can learn much from the Orthodox churches, particularly the Orthodox understanding of theosis or ‘divinisation’ and the teachings of great Orthodox saints such as Seraphim of Sarov. And as Andrew Harvey emphasises, Christians of all stripes can learn much about meditation, mindfulness and nonattachment from Buddhists, about nonduality or advaita and the integration of the body into spirituality through yoga from Hindus, and about passion for God from the Muslim Sufis, particularly the great Persian poet Rumi – and plenty else besides. Some of the jewels that Christianity offers include the ideas of the grace of God as ‘unmerited favour’ (i.e. God’s love and forgiveness as something you can’t earn and don’t need to); God’s special concern for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised; God’s love for all people equally regardless of gender, race, caste or sexual orientation; the idea that the Earth is God’s, not humanity’s to plunder and vandalise at will; and of course, the divine life and teachings of Jesus, whom Muslims revere as a prophet and whom many Hindus and Buddhists also regard as a great sage.
I am passionate about the mutual interaction of spirituality and practical action. I have a separate page on sacred activism and run a Meetup group called Sacred Activism Melbourne. I also run a social enterprise foussed on sacred activism called Epektasis.
Anyway, that’s plenty for an introduction – my journey continues, particularly as I continue to learn and teach yoga, and undertake a deeper study of Hinduism and Buddhism at Oxford with an MPhil in Classical Indian Religion.
I am ever more conscious of my own frailties and inadequacies on the one hand, and of God’s love and irrepressible grace on the other. The books, papers, quotes and links below are ones I have found helpful for various reasons along the way. Please don’t assume that I necessarily agree with everything in them! Enjoy.
Alston, W.P., (1991) Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience, Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London, xii + 320 pp.
Aurelius, M., (2011) Meditations, trans. Hard, R.; Oxford University Press, xxxii + 176 pp.
Bell, R., (2011) Love Wins: At the Heart of Life’s Big Questions, Collins, London, xi + 208 pp.
Bell, R., (2013) What We Talk About When We Talk About God: Faith for the Twenty-First Century, William Collins, London, 226 pp.
Brown, B., (2007) I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power, Penguin Gotham Books, xxvii + 303 pp.
Brown, B., (2010) The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Hazelden, Center City MN, xvii + 137 pp.
Brown, B., (2012) Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, Gotham Books, New York, 287 pp.
Cameron, J., (2007) The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice, Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, xv + 732 pp.
Clarke, M., (2011) Development and Religion: Theology and Practice, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar, 224 pp.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., (1990)Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Modern Classics; HarperPerennial, xii + 303 pp.
Frankl, V.E., (1984) Man’s Search for Meaning, Revised and Updated; Washington Square Press, New York, 221 pp.
Johnston, D. and Sampson, C., (1994) Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Oxford University Press, New York, xviii + 350 pp.
Peck, M.S., (2003) The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth, 25th Anniversary Edition; First published 1978; Rider, London, Sydney, Auckland & Johannesburg, xiv + 304 pp.
Plantinga, A. and Wolterstorff, N. (Eds.), (1983) Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 321 pp.
van Inwagen, P., (1995) God, Knowledge & Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology, Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London, 284 pp.
Bauckham, R., (2006) Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI & Cambridge, UK, xiii + 538 pp.
Bonhoeffer, D., (1959) The Cost of Discipleship, trans. Fuller, R.H., from the German Nachfolge, first published in 1937; SCM Press Ltd., London, 285 pp.
Borg, M., (2003) The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, HarperOne, New York, xv + 234 pp.
Borg, M., (2006) Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary, HarperOne, New York, viii + 343 pp.
Bosch, D.J., (1991) Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, Series ed. Scherer, J.A.; American Society of Missiology Series, No. 16; Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, 587 pp.
Bourgeault, C., (2008) The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – A New Perspective on Christ and His Message, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA, x + 223 pp.
Brueggemann, W., (1984) The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary, Augsburg, Minneapolis, 206 pp.
Greenlee, J.H., (1964) Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 164 pp.
Kärkkäinen, V.-M., (2004) One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification, Liturgical Pres, Collegeville MN, xiii + 144 pp.
Küng, H., (1987) Why I Am Still a Christian, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 112 pp.
MacArthur, J.F., Jr, (1994) The Gospel According to Jesus: What Does Jesus Mean When He Says “Follow Me”?, Revised and Expanded Edition; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, xxiii + 302 pp.
Moltmann, J., (1981) The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, trans. Kohl, M.; SCM Press, London, xvi + 256 pp.
Nouwen, H.J.M., (1990) The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey, Image Books, New York & London, viii + 228 pp.
Nouwen, H.J.M., (2010) The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, 2nd Edition; Image Doubleday, New York & London, xiii + 109 pp.
Nouwen, H.J.M., Christensen, M.J. and Laird, R.J., (2011) Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith, SPCK, London, xx + 172 pp.
Nouwen, H.J.M., Christensen, M.J. and Laird, R.J., (2011) Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, SPCK, London, xxx + 161 pp.
Shaia, A.J. and Gaugy, M.L., (2013) Heart and Mind: The Four-Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation, Mosaic Press, Melbourne, 398 pp.
Staniforth, M. and Louth, A. (Eds.), (1987) Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth UK & New York, 199 pp.
Volf, M., (2005) Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 247 pp.
Willard, D., (1988) The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, Harper & Row, San Francisco, xii + 276 pp.
Spirituality, mysticism and the overlaps between Christianity and other faiths
Aurobindo, S., (1990) The Life Divine, 2nd Edition; Lotus Press, Twin Lakes WI, 1154 pp.
Borg, M. (Ed.) (2004) Jesus & Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, Ulysses Press, Berkeley, CA, 160 pp.
Brother Lawrence, (1981) The Practice of the Presence of God, trans. Blaiklock, E.M.; Hodder & Stoughton Christian Classics; Hodder & Stoughton, London, Sydney, Auckland & Toronto, 93 pp.
Burton, N., Hart, P., Laughlin, J. and Chakravarty, A. (Eds.), (1975) The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, New Directions Publishing, New York, xxviii + 445 pp.
Clément, O., (1993) The Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from the Patristic Era with Commentary, trans. Berkeley, T. and Hummerstone, J.; 2nd Edition; New City Press, New York, 404 pp.
Cunningham, L.S. (Ed.) (1992) Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master, Paulist Press, New York & Mahwah NJ, vi + 437 pp.
Cutsinger, J.S. (Ed.) (2002) Paths to the Heart: Sufism and the Christian East, The Perrennial Philosophy Series; World Wisdom, Bloomington IN, x+ 278 pp.
Cutsinger, J.S. (Ed.) (2003) Not of This World: A Treasury of Christian Mysticism, World Wisdom, Bloomington IN, xxi + 279 pp.
de Chardin, P.T., (2001) The Divine Milieu, original French edition, 1957; Perennial Classics, Harper Collins, New York, xlvii + 140 pp.
Delio, I., (2011) Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis, St. Anthony Messenger Press, Cincinnati OH, xvi + 142 pp.
Falvey, L., (2008) Dharma as Man: A Myth of Jesus in Buddhist Lands, Uni-Verity Press, viii + 251 pp.
Foster, R.J., (1998) Streams of Living Water: Essential Practices from the Six Great Traditions of Christian Faith, HarperOne, New York, xvi + 424 pp.
Fox, M., (2000) One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, New York, 469 pp.
Griffiths, B., (1990) A New Vision of Reality: Western Science, Eastern Mysticism and Christian Faith, Templegate Publishers, Springfield IL, 304 pp.
Griffiths, B., (2003) The Golden String: An Autobiography, originally published 1976; Medio Media Publishing, Tucson AZ, xii + 195 pp.
Griffiths, B., (2003) The Marriage of East and West, originally published 1976; Medio Media Publishing, Tucson AZ, viii + 230 pp.
Griffiths, B., (2003) Return to the Centre, originally published 1976; Medio Media Publishing, Tucson AZ, x + 149 pp.
Hanh, T.N., (1995) Living Buddha, Living Christ, Rider, London, xxvii + 208 pp.
Hanh, T.N., (1998) The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Broadway Books, New York, 292 pp.
Hanh, T.N., (1999) Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press, Berkeley CA, 202 pp.
Hanh, T.N., (2008) The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, Originally published 1975; Rider, London, Sydney, Auckland & Johannesburg, xiii + 140 pp.
Hanh, T.N., (2010) The Diamond that Cuts Through Illusion: Commentaries on the Prajñaparamita Diamond Sutra, Parallax Press, Berkeley CA, 152 pp.
Happold, F.C., (1970) Mysticism: A Study and Anthology, 3rd Edition; Penguin Books, London, 407 pp.
Harvey, A. (Ed.) (1997) The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions, HarperCollins, New York, xv + 236 pp.
Harvey, A., (1998) Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, Jeremy T. Tarcher / Putnam, New York, xix + 299 pp.
Harvey, A., (1998) Teachings of the Christian Mystics, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA & London, xxxvi + 196 pp.
Harvey, A., (1999) Teachings of Rumi, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA & London, xx + 172 pp.
Harvey, A., (2000) The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine through the World’s Mystical Traditions, 2011 Edition; Watkins Publishing, London, xii + 291 pp.
Harvey, A., (2001) Teachings of the Hindu Mystics, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA & London, xxxiv + 147 pp.
Harvey, A., (2001) The Return of the Mother, Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, New York , originally published in 1995 by Frog Ltd., xiv + 493 pp.
Harvey, A., (2001) The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, New York, originally published in 1994 by Frog Ltd., xi + 319 pp.
Harvey, A., (2003) A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna, Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock VT, xiii + 169 pp.
Harvey, A., (2009) The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Hay House, Carlsbad, CA, New York & London, xxiii + 227 pp.
Harvey, A., (2012) Radical Passion: Sacred Love and Wisdom in Action, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, xviii + 570 pp.
Harvey, A. and Erickson, K., (2010) Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, xx + 257 pp.
Humphreys, C., (1962) Buddhism: An Introduction and Guide, 3rd Edition; Penguin Books, London, 256 pp.
Johnston, W., (1995) Mystical Theology: The Science of Love, Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, x + 294 pp.
Johnson, K. and Ord, D.R., (2012) The Coming Interspiritual Age, Namaste Publishing, Vancouver, xxxiv + 405 pp.
Julian of Norwich, (2011) Revelations of Divine Love, trans. Fr John-Julian; Paraclete Press for The Order of Julian of Norwich, Brewster MA, xv + 222 pp.
Kapleau, P., (2000) The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice and Enlightenment, Revised and Updated Edition; Anchor, New York, xix + 441 pp.
Kennedy, R., (1995) Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit: The Place of Zen in Christian Life, Continuum International Publishing, New York & London, 144 pp.
Kennedy, R., (2004) Zen Gifts to Christians, Continuum International Publishing, New York & London, xii + 131 pp.
Knitter, P.F., (2009) Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, xvii + 240 pp.
Kornfield, J., (2004) Meditation for Beginners, Sounds True, Boulder, CO, 93 pp.
Küng, H. and Ching, J., (1989) Christianity and Chinese Religions, trans. Beyer, P.; SCM Press Ltd., London, 309 pp.
Küng, H., Van Ess, J., Von Stietencron, H. and Bechert, H., (1986) Christianity and the World Religions, trans. Heinegg, P., from 1984 German edition.; SCM Press Ltd., London, 460 pp.
Ladner, L., (2004) The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology, HarperOne, New York, xxi + 304 pp.
Lao Tzu, (1990) Tao Te Ching, trans. Mair, V.H.; Bantam Books, New York, xvi + 168 pp.
Lossky, V., (1976) The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood NY; first published in 1944 in French, 252 pp.
Matus, T. (Ed.) (2004) Bede Griffiths: Essential Writings, Modern Spiritual Masters Series; Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, 128 pp.
McColman, C., (2010) The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., Charlottesville VA, 320 pp.
McIntosh, M.A., (1998) Mystical Theology: The Integrity of Spirituality and Theology, Blackwell Publishing, Malden MA & Oxford, xi + 246 pp.
Merton, T., (1948) The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith, 1998 Fiftieth Anniversary Edition; Harcourt Books, New York, xxiii + 467 pp.
Merton, T., (1953) The Sign of Jonas, Harcourt Inc., San Diego, New York & London, 362 pp.
Merton, T., (1958) Thoughts in Solitude, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, xiii + 130 pp.
Merton, T., (1960) Spiritual Direction & Meditation, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 108 pp.
Merton, T., (1961) New Seeds of Contemplation, 2007 Edition; Introduction by Sue Monk Kidd; New Directions Publishing, New York, xxi + 297 pp.
Merton, T., (1961) The New Man, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 248 pp.
Merton, T., (1966) Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Image Books, New York, xx + 363 pp.
Merton, T., (1967) Mystics and Zen Masters, The Noonday Press, New York, x + 303 pp.
Merton, T., (1968) Zen and the Birds of Appetite, New Directions Publishing, New York, ix + 141 pp.
Merton, T., (1971) Contemplative Prayer, 1996 Edition; Image Books, New York, xxxiv + 94 pp.
Merton, T., (1999) The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals, edited by P. Hart & J. Montaldo; Lion Publishing, Oxford, 448 pp.
Merton, T., (1998) Contemplation in a World of Action, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame IN, xiii + 266 pp.
Merton, T., (2005) No Man Is An Island, Originally published in 1955; Shambhala Library; Shambhala, Boston, xxiii + 280 pp.
Michael, C.P. and Norrisey, M.C., (1984) Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types, The Open Door, Charlottesville, VA, 190 pp.
Paul, R., (2009) Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality, New World Library, Novato CA, x + 235 pp.
Reps, P. and Senzaki, N. (Eds.), (1985) Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings, Originally published in 1957; Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, Rutland VT & Singapore, 211 pp.
Rohr, R., (2003) Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, Revised & Updated Edition; Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 187 pp.
Rohr, R., (2003) Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go, Revised & Updated Edition; Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 187 pp.
Rohr, R., (2009) The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, Crossroad Publishing, New York, 187 pp.
Rohr, R., (2011) Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco CA, xxxvii + 199 pp.
Saint John of the Cross, (2010) The Dark Night of the Soul, trans. Lewis, D.; Saint Benedict Press, TAN Books, Charlotte NC, xxiv + 194 pp.
Teasdale, W., (1999) The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions, New World Library, Novato CA, xxiii + 293 pp.
Teasdale, W., (2003) Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to His Interspiritual Thought, Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock VT, xvi + 256 pp.
Teresa of Avila, (2007) Interior Castle: The Classic Text with a Spiritual Commentary by Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., Christian Classics, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame IN, 315 pp.
Underhill, E., (1990) Mysticism, 12th edition originally published in 1930; Image Books, New York, xxii + 519 pp.
Vaughan-Lee, L., (2012) Prayer of the Heart in Christian & Sufi Mysticism, The Golden Sufi Centre, Point Reyes CA, xxvi + 97 pp.
Wiseman, J.A., (2006) Spirituality and Mysticism: A Global View, Theology in Global Perspective Series; Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, xiv + 242 pp.
Faith & action
Bloesch, D.G., (1987) Freedom for Obedience: Evangelical Ethics for Contemporary Times, Harper & Row, San Francisco, xviii + 342 pp.
Bonhoeffer, D., (1997) Letters and Papers from Prison, trans. Fuller, R.C., F. from the German ‘Widerstand und Ergebung’, published in 1970; New Greatly Enlarged Edition; Touchstone, New York, x + 437 pp.
Costello, T. and Yule, R. (Eds.), (2009) Another Way to Love: Christian Social Reform and Global Poverty, Acorn Press, Sydney, 181 pp.
Delio, I., Warner, K.D. and Wood, P., (2008) Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth, St. Anthony Messenger Press, Cincinnati OH, x + 226 pp.
Hall, D.J., (1990) The Steward: A Biblical Symbol Come of Age, Revised Edition; Eerdmans & Friendship Press, Grand Rapids, MI & New York, xiii + 258 pp.
Harvey, A., (2009) The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Hay House, Carlsbad, CA, New York & London, xxiii + 227 pp.
Harvey, A., (2012) Radical Passion: Sacred Love and Wisdom in Action, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, xviii + 570 pp.
King, M.L., Jr., (1963) Strength to Love, Fortress Press edition published 1981, Philadelphia, 158 pp.
MacArthur, J.F., Jr, (1994) The Gospel According to Jesus: What Does Jesus Mean When He Says “Follow Me”?, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, xxiii + 302 pp.
McGrath, A., (2005) Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 3rd Edition; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 464 pp.
Marshall, I.H., (1995) Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and Falling Away, 3rd Edition; Paternoster Press, Carlisle, 302 pp.
Nash, J.A., (1991) Loving Nature: Ecological Integrity and Christian Responsibility, Abingdon Press, Nashville, in cooperation with The Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, Washington DC, 256 pp.
Prevallet, E., (2005) Toward a Spirituality for Global Justice: A Call for Kinship, Sowers Books & Videos, Just Faith Inc., Louisville, KY, 146 pp.
Romero, O., (1985) Voice of the Voiceless: The Four Pastoral Letters and Other Statements, trans. Walsh, M.J.; Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 202 pp.
Romero, O., (2004) The Violence of Love, trans. Brockman, J.R.; Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, originally published in 1988 by Harper & Row, xvi + 214 pp.
Spencer, N. and White, R., (2007) Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living, SPCK, London, xiv + 236 pp.
Wallis, J., (2005) God’s Politics: Why the American Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it, Lion, Oxford, xxx + 384 pp.
Wheeler, S.E., (1995) Wealth as Peril and Obligation: The New Testament on Possessions, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, xviii + 158 pp.
The problem of evil
Adams, M.M., (2006) Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology, Current Issues in Theology; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, xii + 331 pp.
Howard-Snyder, D. (Ed.) (1996) The Evidential Argument from Evil, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis, xx + 357 pp.
Leonard, R., (2010) Where the Hell Is God?, HiddenSpring, Mahwah NJ, xvii + 69 pp.
Plantinga, A., (1977) God, Freedom and Evil, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids MI, 112 pp.
Reichenbach, B.R., (1982) Evil and a Good God, Fordham University Press, New York, xv + 198 pp.
Surin, K., (1986) Theology and the Problem of Evil, Basil Blackwell, Oxford & New York, xii + 180 pp.
Wright, N.T., (2006) Evil and the Justice of God, SPCK, London, x + 117 pp.
van Inwagen, P., (2006) The Problem of Evil, Clarendon Press & Oxford University Press, Oxford, xiv + 183 pp.
Boer, H.R., (1976) A Short History of the Early Church, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, xiv + 184 pp.
Frend, W.H.C., (2003) The Early Church: From the Beginnings to 461, 4th Edition; SCM Press, London,
Gibbon, E., (1776-1788) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vols; Everyman’s Library, 1910 edition; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, London & Toronto. [Still well worth reading 220 years later.]
González, J.L., (2010) The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, 2nd Edition; HarperCollins, New York, Vol. 1, xvi + 512 pp.
González, J.L., (2010) The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day, 2nd Edition; HarperCollins, New York, Vol. 2, x + 550 pp.
González, J.L., (1987) A History of Christian Thought: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon, Revised Edition; Abingdon, Nashville, xii + 414 pp.
Oldenbourg, Z., (2001) The Crusades, Phoenix Press, London, first published in 1966 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, xviii + 650 pp.
Ye’or, B., (1996) The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, trans. Kochan, M. and Littman, D.; Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, 522 pp.
Adam, D., (1994) The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually, Triangle – SPCK, London, 118 pp. (2006 version)
Finney, J., (1996) Recovering the Past: Celtic and Roman Mission, Dalton, Longman & Todd, London, viii + 148 pp.
Lehane, B., (1994) Early Celtic Christianity, First published 1968 by John Murray Ltd; Constable, London, 240 pp.
Mitton, M., (1995) Restoring the Woven Cord: Strands of Celtic Christianity for the Church Today, Dalton, Longman & Todd, London, xiii + 178 pp. (2010 edition here)
O’Donohue, J., (1998) Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, Harper Perennial, New York, xx + 234 pp.
O’Donohue, J., (2003) Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, Bantam Books, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland & Johanneburg, 269 pp.
Simpson, R., (1995) Exploring Celtic Spirituality: Historic Roots for Our Future, Hodder & Stroughton, London, Sydney & Auckland, xii + 210 pp.
For recovering young-Earth creationists
Albritton, C.C., Jr., (1986) The Abyss of Time: Changing Conceptions of the Earth’s Antiquity after the Sixteenth Century, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, 251 pp.
Dalrymple, G.B., (1991) The Age of the Earth, Stanford University Press, xvi + 474 pp.
Johnson, M.R., (1988) Genesis, Geology and Catastrophism: A Critique of Creationist Science and Biblical Literalism, The Paternoster Press, Exeter, 171 pp.
Ramm, B., (1954) The Christian View of Science and Scripture, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 256 pp.
Ross, H., (1994) Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy, Navpress, Colorado Springs, CO, 187 pp.
van Till, H.J., Snow, R.E., Stek, J.H. and Young, D.A., (1990) Portraits of Creation: Biblical and Scientific Perspectives on the World’s Formation, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 285 pp.
Wonderly, D., (1977) God’s Time-Records in Ancient Sediments: Evidence of Long Time Spans in Earth’s History, Crystal Press, Flint, Michigan, 258 pp.
Wonderly, D., (1987) Neglect of Geologic Data: Sedimentary Strata Compared with Young Earth Creationist Writings, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, Hatfield, PA.
Young, D.A., (1988) Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, California, 188 pp.
Young, D.A. and Stearley, R.F., (2008) The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth, IVP Academic, Downers Grove IL, 510 pp.
Papers & Chapters
Dunn, J.D.G., (1992) “The Justice of God – A Renewed Perspective on Justification by Faith”, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1, April, pp. 1-22.
Garlington, D.B., (1990) “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part I: The Meaning of ‘upakoe pisteos (Rom 1:5; 16:26)”, Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 52, No. 2, Fall, pp. 201-224.
Garlington, D.B., (1991) “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part II: The Obedience of Faith and Judgment by Works”, Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 53, No. 1, Spring, pp. 47-72.
Garlington, D.B., (1993) “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part III: The Obedience of Christ and the Obedience of the Christian”, Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 55, No. 1, Spring, pp. 87-112.
Garlington, D.B., (1993) “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part III: The Obedience of Christ and the Obedience of the Christian (continued).” Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 55, No. 2, Fall, pp. 281-297.
Houghton, J., (2007) “Global Warming, Climate Change and Sustainability: Challenge to Scientists, Policy-makers and Christians“, Briefing Paper 14, Cheltenham, UK, The John Ray Initiative, 16 pp.
McEntee, R. and Bucko, A., (2012) “New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Life in the 21st Century“, Working with Oneness, 4 August, 29 pp.
McEntee, R. and Bucko, A., (2013) “Interspiritual Revolution: How the Occupy Generation Is Re-Envisioning Spirituality and [New]Monasticism“, HuffPost – Religion, Huffington Post, 6 May, 2 pp.
Snodgrass, K.R., (1986) “Justification by Grace – To the Doers: An Analysis of the Place of Romans 2 in the Theology of Paul”, New Testament Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1, January, pp. 72-93.
Young, D.A., (1987) “Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part One)”, Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 1-34.
Young, D.A., (1987) “Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part Two)”, Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 257-304.
Young, D.A., (1988) “Theology and Natural Science”, The Reformed Journal, Vol. 38, No. 5, May, pp. 10-16.
Isaiah 10:1-4 “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.”
Amos 5:21-24 “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.”
Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? ”
Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Proverbs 14:31 “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.”
Proverbs 21:13 “If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.”
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”
Matthew 25:42-45 Jesus said, “for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ … ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'”
Romans 3: 22b-24: “For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 8:13-14 “I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality.”
Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
James 2:15-17 “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
James 5:1-5 “Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”
1 John 3:17 “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?”
Revelation 11:16-18 “Then the twenty four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, singing, ‘We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.'”
Why social concern lies at the heart of the Christian faith
“The more fully we recognize that Paul’s teaching on divine righteousness is Old Testament through and through, the more we must also recognize the character of that righteousness as calling for a righteousness in response which is social in character and gives highest priority to sustaining the disadvantaged in society. Unless these two aspects of Old Testament thought are firmly grasped, the concept of righteousness is bound to become distorted: righteousness as essentially involving relationships, arising out of relationships expressed in relationships; and righteousness as both horizontal and vertical, as involving responsibility to the neighbour as part and parcel of one’s responsibility towards God. In Hebrew thought it would not be possible for someone to be righteous apart from, without reference to that individual’s responsibility to others; it would not be possible to be righteous before God while remaining involved in unjust relationships with fellow humans. And central in this understanding of righteousness was the recognition of society’s responsibility towards the disadvantaged and the concern to conform social relationships to the model of the caring family. In short, this discovery of the horizontal and social dimension of justification by faith indicates that social concerns lie at the heart of this so characteristic and fundamental Christian and Protestant doctrine. Which is to say that the obligation to such social and political concern lies at the heart of our faith.”
Dunn, J.D.G., (1992) “The Justice of God – A Renewed Perspective on Justification by Faith”, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1, April, pp. 1-22; pp. 20-21.
“[A]cceptability before the just and gracious God is inseparable from a lived out responsibility for the disadvantaged neighbour and the enemy.”
Dunn, J.D.G., (1992) “The Justice of God – A Renewed Perspective on Justification by Faith”, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1, April, pp. 1-22; pp. 20-21; p. 22.
Rumi (Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī – مولانا جلالالدین محمد بلخی)
Love’s Horse Will Carry You Home
The whole world could be choked with thorns:
A lover’s heart will stay a rose garden.
The wheel of heaven could wind to a halt:
The world of lovers will go on turning.
Even if every being grew sad, a lover’s soul
Will stay fresh, vibrant, light.
Are all the candles out? Hand them to a lover –
A lover shoots out a hundred thousand fires.
A lover may be solitary, but he is never alone.
For companion he has always the hidden Beloved.
The drunkenness of lovers comes from the soul,
And Love’s companion stays hidden in secret.
Love cannot be deceived by a hundred promises:
It knows how innumerable the ploys of seducers are.
Wherever you find a Lover on a bed of pain –
You find the Beloved right by his bedside.
Mount the stallion of Love and do not fear the path –
Love’s stallion knows the way exactly.
With one leap, Love’s horse will carry you home
However black with obstacles the way may be.
The soul of a real lover spurns all animal fodder,
Only in the wine of bliss can his soul find peace.
Through the Grace of Shams-ud-Din of Tabriz, you will possess
A heart at once drunk and supremely lucid.
Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273), as translated by Andrew Harvey (Ed.) (1997) The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions, HarperCollins, New York, p. 159.
Leap Free of Yourself
In that moment you are drunk on yourself,
The friend seems a thorn,
In that moment you leap free of yourself, what use is the friend?
In that moment you are drunk on yourself,
You are the prey of a mosquito,
And the moment you leap free of yourself, you go elephant hunting.
In that moment you are drunk on yourself,
You lock yourself away in cloud after cloud of grief,
And in that moment you leap free of yourself,
The moon catches you and hugs you in its arms.
That moment you are drunk on yourself, the friend abandons you.
That moment you leap free of yourself, the wine of the friend,
In all its brilliance and dazzle, is held out to you.
That moment you are drunk on yourself,
You are withered, withered like autumn leaves.
That moment you leap free of yourself,
Winter to you appears in the dazzling light of spring.
All disquiet springs from the search for quiet.
Look for disquiet and you will come suddenly on a field of quiet.
All illnesses spring from the scavenging for delicacies.
Renounce delicacies and poison itself will seem delicious to you.
All disappointments spring from your hunting for satisfactions.
If only you could stop, all imaginable joys
Would be rolled like pearls to your feet.
Be passionate for the friend’s tyranny, not his tenderness,
So the arrogant beauty in you can become a lover that weeps.
When the king of the feast, Shams-ud-Din, arrives from Tabriz,
God knows you’ll be ashamed then of the moon and stars.
Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273), as translated by Andrew Harvey (Ed.) (1997) The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions, HarperCollins, New York, pp. 158-159.
Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion;
Passion’s the Supreme Elixir, and renews all things;
No one can grow exhausted when passion is born!
Don’t sigh heavily, your brow bleak with boredom —
Look for passion, passion, passion, passion!
Futile solutions deceive the force of passion;
They’re bandits who extort money through lies.
Marshy and stagnant water’s no cure for thirst
However limpid and delicious it might look;
It’ll only trap you and stop you looking for fresh rivers
That could feed and make flourish a hundred gardens —
Just as each piece of false gold prevents you
From recognizing real gold and where to find it.
False gold will only cut your feet and bind your wings,
Saying “I will remove your difficulties”, when in fact
It is only dregs, and defeat in the robes of victory.
Run, my friends, run far away from all false solutions.
Let Divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.
Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, (1207 – 1273), as translated by Andrew Harvey (1999) Teachings of Rumi, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA & London, p. 88.
The grapes of my body can only become wine
The grapes of my body can only become wine
After the winemaker tramples me.
I surrender my spirit like grapes to his trampling
So my inmost heart can blaze and dance with joy.
Although the grapes go on weeping blood and sobbing
“I cannot bear any more anguish, any more cruelty”
The trampler stuffs cotton in his ears: “I am not working in ignorance
You can deny me if you want, you have every excuse,
But it is I who am the Master of this Work.
And when through my Passion you reach Perfection,
You will never be done praising my name.”
Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273) as translated by Andrew Harvey (2001) The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, New York, originally published in 1994 by Frog Ltd., p. 28.
Andrew Harvey – Sacred Activism See also Andrew’s videos explaining his vision of sacred activism and his interview with Rachael Kohn on ABC’s Radio National and an interview with Tami Simon from Sounds True recorded on 22 June 2010.
Center for Action and Contemplation with Richard Rohr
Community of the Mystic Heart – “A circle of interspiritual mystics and contemplatives originally envisioned as “The Universal Order of Sannyasa” by Brother Wayne Teasdale.”
Ecology and Spirituality Centre – Glenburn, Victoria
Enlightened Spirituality “One of the Internet’s most extensive websites on truly healthy and enlightened Spirituality, awakening to Absolute Awareness, a profoundly nondual theology of God, the lives and teachings of sages and saints, and many articles on our mystical traditions, world religions, powers of Consciousness, emotional healing, styles of meditation, sacred relationships, conscious dying into Eternal life, spiritualized politics, wonders of science, spiritual humor, and more.”
Interlinear Bible software, including Greek & Hebrew – and it’s free.
Iona Community – “The Iona Community is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.”
ISDNA – Interspiritual Dialogue ‘n Action “Exploring the essence of interspirituality” Inspired by the work and writing of Brother Wayne Teasdale’s Mystic Heart and continued in Johnson & Ord’s The Coming Interspiritual Age.
ISCAST – Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology
L’Arche Internationale – and L’Arche Australia – working closely with people with an intellectual disability so that each person can play their full role in society.
Living Well Centre for Christian Spirituality – Melbourne
NGO Committee for Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns – United Nations
Religion & Development Research Program – University of Birmingham
Science and Creationism – A view from the US National Academy of Sciences
Sojourners – Christians for Peace and Justice
Spiritual Paths Institute “The Spiritual Paths Institute provides courses, classes, workshops, retreats, and general programs with respected teachers of contemplative wisdom and applied spirituality that combine intellect, heart, and spiritual practice.”
Spirituality and Practice “Resources for spiritual journeys”
Last updated: 22 July 2017 Copyright © Brett Parris, 2011-2017.