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Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots by [Smith, Amos]
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Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 26 Apr 2015
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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Healing the Divide is a bold call to understand Jesus according to the earliest lineage of Christian Mystics--a call to transform our dualistic minds and heal a divided Church.

This book is a must-read if you find yourself

•frustrated by the fundamentalist and new age polarization of twenty-first-century Christianity;
•bewildered by religious pluralism;
•searching for Christianity's elusive mystic core.

Twenty-first century Christianity is in crisis, careening toward fundamentalism on the one hand and a rootless new age Christianity on the other. Twenty-first century Christianity is also reeling from the maze of religious pluralism. Smith addresses and tempers these extremes by passionately and succinctly revealing Jesus as understood by the Alexandrian mystics. The Alexandrian mystics are the most long standing lineage of early Christian mystics. Their perspective on Jesus celebrates creative tensions, tempers extremes, and reveals Christian mysticism's definitive core.

"In Healing the Divide, Amos Smith's fresh perspective preserves the integrity of the Christian mystical epicenter from contamination from both the Christian hard right and the sometimes rudderless new age."
--Cynthia Bourgeault, author of The Wisdom Jesus

"This is a foundational work written in a style that will be respected by scholars--yet easily accessible to ordinary Christians and would-be seekers. The Jesus Paradox revealed in Healing the Divide is needed for the foundational reform and reformulation of the Christian message."
--From the Afterword by Richard Rohr

"Read Healing the Divide and eat the mystery. It's a check-up call to your identity and mission."
--From the Foreword by Leonard Sweet, author of I Am a Follower

"This is the most balanced treatment of Jesus I have ever seen. Maybe this book can alleviate the polarizing madness afflicting Western Christianity today."
--Ken Barnes, UCC Pastor

"Amos Smith writes about the incarnation with great enthusiasm. His work is commendable!"
--William Meninger, Benedictine Monk and author of Julian of Norwich

"This is the clearest and most accessible treatment of Oriental Orthodox Christology I have seen by a Western author."
--Abba Yohannes, Ethiopian Orthodox Monk

Amos Smith lived his first ten years overseas and finished his growing up years in Virginia. He has lived in Indonesia, Bolivia, Uganda, Yemen, and has traveled the world since. Smith earned a BA in Comparative Religion from The University of California at Santa Cruz in 1993, an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley in 1998, and a DMin from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2008. He is a lifelong student of three streams: Progressive Christianity, Contemplative Christianity, and Orthodox Christian Mysticism. Smith began his interest in religion when serving as an acolyte and crucifer at Saint George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, VA. During college days, Smith became a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Friends’ silent meetings for worship were Smith’s introduction to Centering Prayer and Christian Mysticism. Smith found his way to the United Church of Christ in 1994, which he cherishes for its inclusive message and social justice witness. In 1999, Amos began his career as an ordained United Church of Christ minister in Montana at the base of The Beartooth Mountains. Smith has since served as an ordained minister for fifteen years in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. Smith is a family man, hiker, amateur musician, seasoned Centering Prayer practitioner, retreat leader, and Contemplative Christian writer. His writing has been published in various newspapers and magazines including The Billings Gazette, The Spokesman Review, Friends Journal: Quaker Thought and Life Today, Chicago Seminary Press, and Wipf & Stock Publishers. Amos and his family live in Tucson, AZ.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3005 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1620323656
  • Publisher: Resource Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers (26 April 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WRR05RM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #640,509 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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I have been amazed that so much "fell into place" as I read. I had long been aware of a growing sense that something was missing from the familiar gospel that I had been taught....even to the point of feeling a sense of being "short changed". I knew in my heart that the Gospel is bigger and better.

To the author, Amos Smith, thanks for inviting me as one of your readers to learn from the Alexandrian mystics and deepen my journey with God. It's like a wonderful vista has been opened to me.

God bless the vital work you are doing.

To potential fellow readers, checking out the reviews, as I always do myself, I warmly recommend this book. No book is perfect, but there are those that fill spaces, and broaden living knowledge in vital areas. I consider this book to be one of these.
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I have read a number of books this year and this one is up the top of preferred list along with Richard Rohrs Eager to Love. The number of ahaa moments and the number of yellow highlights I have peppered through the kindle version pretty much sum up my impression of the book. I was a little wary at first and thought hmmmm I don't know about that, but on reflection it all started to fall into place. I recommend anyone serious about deeper reading on Christology and Christian mysticism should buy this book and take all the time you can to read it and re-read it. Thank you Amos I really enjoyed the ride and intend to track down a hard copy version so I can mark it up and keep it on my bookshelf for reference.

Pax et Bonum, Gordon Hooker tssf
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christ became human so as to bring us to divine 10 June 2015
By David E. Schutt - Published on
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I I am very informed by the depth of Amos Smith's spiritual search and reckoning. It has been and continues to be very good spiritual direction for me. Within the healing that we seek with one another and our persuasions I find a persistent recurrence of our mutual enrichment. That is the mutual equation and unity of the feminine and masculine within our human/ divine interrelationship with Holy Wisdom - Holy Spirit and one another.

In a nutshell, after my real life experience of meeting my other half (as gift of Holy Wisdom) and being "vested" with her feminine, I began to live my life newly begotten in soul / spirit otherness. That being said, otherness demanded a sequence of 6 years of struggle and surrender to Holy One. I was schooled in "L"ove by the Holy Spirit and I truly believeI discovered truth to Jesus statement to "Love one another as I have loved you". I feel there is a paradigm experience of inclusiveness of women and men not only equals but recognized in full unity. I find that I have become fully human with her and Holy Wisdom who dwells within her. I believe we do not become fully human without fully accepting and engendering our opposite.

Our human / divine unity is the link, the missing piece, that mainline religion for the most part ignores. Dualism of masculine and feminine is perpetuated by the Vatican and clericalism in the church I was raised within. It is time that we step forward and fully acknowledge all human beings in unity with no one being held in second class status. Jesus gave us the gift of being both human and divine and surprisingly during Catholic mass when preparing the bread and wine the priest or deacon pours a little water into the wine and recites these or similar words; "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in your divinity as you once came to share in our humanity". For me this is an invocation to the Holy Spirit. The Holy one who already dwells within each of our personal centers. All we have to do is to recognize and begin to celebrate that we already share in that divinity.

Our call today is not to become warriors against the system but to become contemplatives in action, to reform our Eucharistic Community to recognize what it truly means to be the Mystical Body of Christ. This is an all inclusive face of Jesus within which we may recognize fully the Person of Holy Wisdom. (see Ch 8 of Proverbs.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Embracing Christian Vision 2 April 2015
By Martin - Published on
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I very much enjoyed, and deeply learned from, from this book. It was like a wave gaining in momentum, strength and expansiveness as it took its course. I will continue to dip back into it again and again, each time no doubt seeing it anew (also, great footnotes and appendices to continue to explore!). And I loved the stories woven throughout the text, bringing the theology presented to life.

I am not a Christian, and so I did not read this work as a call to arms, but there are many themes in it that powerfully resonate. The progressive, inclusive vision is most welcome. As a Jew by birth, Christianity has always been associated in the most reptilian part of my brain with persecution (strange how this state of affairs has manifested, since Christians should most profoundly understand the nature of persecution). Despite having long studied comparative religion, and with a deep love and respect for the mystical tradition embodied by people like St. John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Poirete and Thomas Merton, to name but a few, still that ancient-bred predisposition, reinforced by the actual dealings – and exclusivity - of many Christian institutions in response to the Other, has continued to generate fear. Many others (sensing that they have been deemed Others) feel as I do, and so the author's message of inclusiveness is extremely important.

The particular, Miaphysite mystical tradition that is presented in this book is new to me and quite compelling. As an outsider, I can see how the approach it represents could become a third way, a rallying banner that could heal the divide within the Christian body-politic between conservative and liberal.

And, as one who practices Zen meditation (which may take a number of forms), I see many parallels with the forms of silent prayer presented.

And I found resonance, in my practice with others, with the Quaker practice of speaking and listening from the heart, so deeply that one may on occasion be opened up, the scales falling from one’s eyes.

I also find the balance between inner and outer practice, between silent prayer and compassionate action in the world, to be laudatory.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Smith's book is a transformative experience that brings back the heart of Christianity, Jesus as both human and Divine. 30 May 2015
By Kim Holman - Published on
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Modern Christianity is at a turning point. Odd as it may seem, many Christians just don't know what to do with Christianity's central figure, Jesus. Some who are uncomfortable with Jesus' divinity settle for understanding his nature as an historical figure. Others more prone to a spiritual understanding, attempt to separate Jesus from his nature as the Christ.

In Healing the Divide, Amos Smith successfully reunites these two sides of Jesus, his human side and his Divinity with a capital "D," by exploring an ancient paradox embraced by early Alexandrian mystics. In so doing, he returns us to the heart of the Christian mystery and gives us a Jesus we can understand as both son of man and Son of God.

I highly recommend Smith's book. It serves to open the reader's heart to the beauty and wonder contained in the divine mystery of Jesus, and it offers the reader practical guidance for living more fully in the Christ light. I don't think you can read this book without being transformed by it.

~Kimberly Holman (author of Pray Without Ceasing: The Transformative Power of a Prayerful Attitude & Founder of
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for those who call themselves Christians. 9 June 2017
By Pamela - Published on
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Healing the divide is a must read for those who profess to be modern-day Christians. While, I myself, was teetering on whether to continue to profess “Christianity” or discard such due to the separateness (the elite Christian club), the violence and harsh judgement associated with the doctrine, Healing the Divide was the true teacher (truth for me) that I was seeking to take me to the next level in my spiritual walk.

Amos Smith thoroughly and meticulously lays out the foundation and the roots of Christianity introducing his reader to the Mystic Christ and His teachings. Smith eventually surpasses dualism, separatism and polarity delivering his reader straight to the heart of the matter: The Kingdom, eliminating extremes and intolerance creating Unity. He leaves the reader eager and hungry to know more.

I have several paragraphs highlighted in my book with Chapter 7: Incarnation: Christianity’s Soul Being my favorite; but, I believe a paragraph in Chapter 17 sums up the basis of this book. “May Christ’s united nature shatter our violent paradigms and lift us from the ashes into a new paradigm, into a new mind. Roll away the stone (John 11:39)! Prepare for the resurrection of the mind. Like the risen Christ, the resurrected mind will create ripples in our relationships and communities, which will have numerous practical applications, such as conflict-mediation, deeper listening, greater honesty, and stamina in the face of messy real world debacles, not to mention affirmation against the odds that yes, life is good (Genesis 1:31)!” –Amos Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Draw Near to God 6 June 2016
By N. L. Brumbaugh - Published on
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This verse sums up this book. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8 (NKJV) Amos Smith has written a tome to drive home a much-needed and much-desired message directed to the passionate believer in Christ. It is his purpose to help the reader discover and then ignite a living, breathing relationship with Jesus. This book could be titled "The Jesus Paradox" since the theme throughout the book is about the Divine (uppercase) God and the human (lowercase) man wrapped up in one God-being. The writing demonstrates much passion by the author for his subject. His journey of faith took awhile to solidify but it eventually led Smith to find something that resonated with him (it was an honest search) which was found in the real, living aspects of Christianity. It took Smith to the Alexandrian mystics who lived during the middle ages. They had a belief that was rich and real, and according to the author, it centered on the God-plus-human Jesus, a fully Divine person. Centering prayer and silent presence with God is part of the daily spiritual pursuit and beckons the Christ-follower to a deeper understanding of what it is to have a close relationship with God.

To be honest here, at first I had some trouble with the author's take on fundamentalism. I thought it a bit harsh and over-stated, maybe even somewhat blaming. The more I read the book, though, the more I began to understand what it is that he dislikes and couldn't help but convey to the reader. I could say, the problem he sees is when form overtakes spiritual process, where rigid beliefs hinder rather than grow an intimate spiritual life. Seeking God is where one is able to find a living relationship with Him takes a letting go of the prior barriers. Fundamentalism can be part of any rigid religious stance that fails to embrace the Jesus Paradox and consequently, it will fail to change the heart. Past and present, spiritual life really is about Jesus. This is not the only area I would not see the same as Smith, but I can say that I truly appreciate his presentation of something so important and life-changing rich that we all would do well to pay attention to it. I enjoyed reading "Healing the Divide" and believe Smith is opening a door to help facilitate an awareness to real enlivening through Jesus which is offered freely to the church of Jesus Christ and to the world.

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