I would like to thank Ascot Media for providing a copy of this book for review.
Now, I adore reading, and while my favored topic is history, I'm not averse to broadening my knowledge in other regards. Accordingly, after reading Coach Micheal Taylor's "What if Jesus Were A Coach?", it's worth reading, but I heavily advise reading the disclaimers in this review before doing so.
The author claims to be a practitioner of the views of the Unity Church (not to be confused with Unitarianism), and since those views make up a prominent part of the text, their basic views need some elaboration.
First, they are for Christians who are "spiritual but not religious", meaning Christians who disdain organized religion and its practices while still conforming to the Bible. The book places a heavy emphasis on not getting tied down by dogma, which is not objectionable in and of itself, but my first area of concern is that their creed has a distinct avoidance of dwelling on the topics of sin, eternal consequences for falling away from God, and other "uncomfortable" topics. These things are not deliberately denied or rejected out of hand, but for those who consider God's admonitions against immorality a guidepost for their lives, this may be concerning. The author concurs the "commandments" (which they admit they find a harsh term) are ideal guidelines for our behavior but expresses disbelief a loving God would be so harsh.
A loving God and the love of Jesus as helpful guides for our lives is a theme that takes up a great portion of the text. While I find this commendable to view them in this light, another area of concern is that the Holy Spirit is viewed as more of an impersonal element within us, referred to in such terms as "Divine Intelligence" and the contention in some ways God is less a personage and more of "what" than a "who". This ties into another Unity Church credo that views much of the Bible in a metaphysical and metaphorical rhat than literal light.
It's on this point I recommend heavy caution. The author brings up many scholars, Christian and otherwise, to make their points. I can commend how well-read they are and agree it is wise to know of the beliefs of other faiths concerning Christianity, at least as regards knowledge of their practices. At the same time, many may be uncomfortable with the author citing such figures as Deepak Chopra and their esoteric if not somewhat Gnostic-sounding views on spirituality. While the overall theme tries to redirect back to God and Jesus as the ideal arbiters of guidance for our lives, many readers may find these takes to be an attempt to syncretize non-Christian beliefs into Christian practice. For example, the author admits sympathy for practices such as Buddhist-style meditation, and while they claim to do so to be closer to God, this may not sit well with many readers.
My biggest reservations come from their views on miracles (which is a somewhat generously applied term) and healing, and while they do not openly enter prosperity gospel territory and claim guarantees of tangible mortal benefits from their beliefs, they do not rule out that these are possible in any explicit sense. This strikes me as borderline dangerous from a theological perspective at best.
Most of the text is a personal sharing of their own views and life history. In fairness, the author freely admits they consider their writing to be "their truth", not "the truth". They encourage being open-minded and freely accept criticism and examination of their takes on Christian beliefs and doctrine, and the book is presented as a "make up your own mind" text for the reader.
In summation, this is cautiously recommended. If you are willing to engage the above positions with an open mind and accept the possible theological reservations I have noted, then this may be worth your time. Otherwise, this may not be the best book for Christians who heavily dissent with the above views, especially if you are not theologically well-grounded. It can be bought in hardcover, softcover, and e-book formats.
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