Book Review – The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings by John Phillip Newell
by Mark Votava
The Rebirthing of God is such a wonderful book that brings forth an imagination for the sacredness of all of life. John Phillip Newell focuses on “a reconnecting to the earth, a reclaiming of compassion, a revisioning of Light, a recommitment to the shared journeys of faith, a rediscovery of spiritual practice, a rededication to nonviolence, a reentering of the unconscious, and a reuniting of love.” This is an enlightening book for those disillusioned with Christianity as they know it and wanting something more authentic in the twenty-first century. Highly recommended reading!
The book uses different characters such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mary Oliver, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Merton, Mahatma Gandhi, George Macleod, Carl Jung and Simone Weil to demonstrate this rebirthing of God. John Phillip Newell helps us to reimagine a spirituality in which we are aware of our connectedness to one another and the earth. This is a deeper vision for love and unity as Jesus taught us.
When so much of Christianity is based on division, indifference, violence in the name of God and disconnection to one another this book was a breath of fresh air to me. It brought together the importance of love, unity, connection and peace in a world that tries to tell us that we are so different from one another. I do not believe this is true anymore. This has brought me deep liberation within my soul.
I want to be free to experience this rebirthing of God within me all throughout my lifetime. The centering of love and our essential connection to one another is good news to me. I love the title of this book, The Rebirthing of God, because that is what we need as our American Western forms of Christianity have not brought us much life. There has to be more to our spirituality that is authentic, deep and mystical.
- The refusal to honor what is deepest in others
“Is this not the root of our falseness, refusing to bow to the sacredness of what comes forth from the earth? Is this not the pattern in most of our division as nations and as a human species – the refusal to honor what is deepest in others?”
- Compassion is at the heart of our being
“Compassion is at the heart of our being, waiting to flow again for one another and for those who suffer. Part of the rebirthing of God in our lives and our world is allowing these depths to flow.”
- This Light at the heart of our being is for one another and for the world
“…we have a sibling relationship with everything that exists and that the Light that we glimpse in the trees, in the creatures, in the eyes of another, is the Light that is also within us. Do we know that we are bearers of this unspeakably beautiful Light? Do we know that this Light at the heart of our being is for one another and for the world?”
- The imprisonments that keep us in exile from the true heart of one another
“For it is now that we need to do the work of dying to the way in which our ego claims to be the center, rather than serving the Center. It is now, both individually and collectively, that we need to be freed from the imprisonments that keep us in exile from the true heart of one another.”
- Our true Center is at the heat of one another
“…we are most free when we do not lift ourselves up over one another but when we remember that our true Center is at the heart of one another.”
- Hatred of others
“Hatred of others can never lead to true liberation…”
- Our whole being moves as one with the other
“The unconscious invites us to discover the bliss of oneness. It does not diminish our uniqueness and individuality. Rather, it is a conjoining that delights in our differences and honors them… Our whole being moves as one with the other in an enfolding and intermingling that goes deeper than our differences. It does not smother it…”
- Love has the power to bring us together
“The only force that has the power to truly bring together the apparent opposites in our lives and our world is love.”
In what ways have you experienced the rebirthing of God in your life?