Are you disillusioned by some aspects of Christianity, like having to believe the right things to “get saved”? Like the idea that an all-loving God would sentence anyone to hell? Like understanding an often contradictory Bible? Then meet CLEAR FAITH. Clear away those stumbling blocks to uncover a faith of your own that makes sense. Meet the Jesus we can truly call “brother.” By seeing with new eyes, through a clear lens, we can experience and live with a simple, straightforward faith that is globally inclusive, open, and compatible with a progressive, scientific worldview.
CLEAR FAITH, the author’s term, is a way of seeing, a way of perceiving, that brings the Bible and Jesus into human focus. By viewing the contradictions and apparent errors of the Bible plus the supernatural elements of both the Bible and Jesus in a human context, the disillusioned seeker can appreciate new freedom and clarity in constructing a faith in God that makes sense.
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By Lee Harmon (Dubious Disciple)
Jul 24, 2012
Did Jesus rise bodily from the dead? Yes. No. Maybe. This event, the central tenet of Christianity, is a faith-reinforcer for some and a stumbling block for others. It needn’t be the latter, nor do any of the unbelievable stories of our faith tradition need to get in the way. Imagine a simple faith that looks beyond even the Resurrection, finding the ambiguity in even its message acceptable. Do you find some of the stories and explanations in the Bible a bit extreme? Take heart. Clear Faith doesn’t need atonement. It doesn’t need an afterlife reward. It doesn’t need an understanding of the Trinity, or even a Jesus any bigger than the one uncovered by Historical Jesus scholars. Clear Faith is just an unassuming, uncomplicated, uncluttered trust in God. Which God? Is there even a real God outside our brains? We just don’t know. Stover insists that believing in God is a personal choice, and explains: “To me, God is appropriately regarded as a mystery. Hope. Infinite possibility.... More > Compassion—oneness with all that is. Pure, unlimited surrounding LOVE. God surrounds and dwells within us, and I choose to cherish that belief and let it shape my way of living and being.” Don’t buy this book looking for originality or deep, theological probing. It’s short and sweet, to the point, and reliant upon the deeper research of other scholars. Stover liberally quotes the writings of Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, and Robin R. Meyers, so if your favorite Liberal Christian is among this list, you’re in good hands. This book will resonate with many, many people. It’s possible that some will find it comforting to read, simply to reinforce that they are not alone in their “spiritual-but-not-religious” mindset, but in my opinion the book’s greatest value is as a way for progressive/liberal/SBNR Christians to share their journey with their conservative family. Stover’s approach is not at all heavy-handed but gentle and explanatory, so it’s a simple way of communicating what so many of us feel.< Less
I have been working for a long time both to deconstruct and then positively reconstruct problematic, obsolescent ways of construing God, Jesus, the Bible, humanity, sin, salvation, church, ethics, and relationships among the world’s religions. Here is a book that succeeds admirably in advancing that progressive project on all fronts. I have been privileged as a campus minister for 50 years to be a companion alongside many spiritually questing students, faculty and staff who could no longer believe the things their churches told them they had to give credence to in order to be “Christians.” I wish this book, which speaks to both mind and heart, had been available to refer them to. It shows how to clear away intellectual obstacles to creating a faith for our post-modern world by reimagining what it means to trust a loving and mysterious God and follow the sacred vision of the human Jesus, rather than simply believing in supernatural doctrines about them. It is clearly written and... More > provides specific ways for seekers to recognize and make meaning from their own experiences of the divine presence in our world. And it shows how this faith, which continually evolves as we grow, inspires an ethical way of being and acting that embodies divine love and justice throughout our life on this earth.< Less
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