Several months ago, in one of those occasions of serendipity, I made Amos Smith’s acquaintance via social media (first LinkedIn, then Facebook). We discovered, almost by accident, that we shared a common interest in power of the Paradox of Jesus, as articulated by Christ followers in the early Church, to heal the divide between various versions of conservative and liberal Christianity. While I plumbed the depths of the early Pauline and Nazarene Jesus movements, Amos mined the riches of the Alexandrian mystics.
Smith has the heart of a pastor, the mind of a mystic, and the passion of an evangelist and it shows in his writing. He writes in a jargon-less style that is at the same time understandable to average lay person and satisfying for the deepest diving theologian. He exposes both the dualistic thinking of modern day fundamentalism and the wishy-washy, all-religions-are-the-same thinking of New Age spirituality and shows how it may be possible to find a common place to stand by understanding and appreciating the paradox inherent in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Healing the Divide is not a “quick read.” You need to need to allow time to contemplate the questions and issues Smith raises. It would be quite a productive study for books study and discussion group, with reflection question built into the text. Either way, it’s one of those books that the more time you spend with it, the more depths it will reveal..
I strongly recommend it!
Ken Howard is the author of another book about paradox: “Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them.”