Thursday, July 26, 2007

"The embrace of Jesus..."

At Christianity Today, Patricia Raybon reviews The Divine Embrace by Robert Webber.
In his final ancient-future sojourn, Robert Webber, who died in April from pancreatic cancer, took up the rich matter of ancient Christian spirituality. His aim was to fully tell "the story of spirituality from the ancient church to the present day." ....

Webber is never better, in fact, than when defining Christian spirituality in terms of its ancient story. Or as he writes in this book: "Christian spirituality … does not fall into what Newsweek describes as a contentless 'transcendent experience.'" Instead, Christian spirituality "is the embrace of Jesus, who, united to God, restores our union with God that we lost because of sin." ....

... Without apology, he invites believers to return to "the identity" of baptism with water, the Eucharist, and the liturgical calendar—and to worship that spurns the "CEO model" of the church.

As for the big-business church and CEO preachers selling Jesus "to a consumer market," Webber urges a return to "the incarnate nature of the church," which he describes as "a need to rediscover the very nature of the church as the presence of God in the world."

To that end, Webber dares here to promote the ancient vows of stability, fidelity, and obedience—as modeled by the Rule of Saint Benedict—along with orderly prayer, study, and work. Such elements help evangelicals encounter Christ in daily life, he writes. .... (more)
Spirituality Squared | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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