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on 23 April 2016
This book is the theological groundwork to Tomlinson's book on How to be a Bad Christian, I found it very rewarding to read but i think people without a Theology background would struggle with it.
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on 13 September 2008
Dave Tomlinson's Re-Enchanting Christianity is a must-have for anyone with a spiritual yearning, whether steeped in Christianity or from other walks of life altogether. By seeking to separate spirituality from the entanglements of religion we see a fresh perspective on how God is interested in the whole person and their interactions within the community and wider society and not just the soul. "Church is not supposed to be a place of theological `purity' or rigid conformity to certain beliefs and conventions, but a mishmash of believers, doubters, dissenters and malcontents, each of whom is grappling in his or her own way towards a mystery that is God." The reader is encouraged to look beyond the baggage of church and all the images it conjures (e.g. Gnosticism, exclusiveness) towards engaging with other views, not as something to be feared, but in a dialogue where we have something to learn from those of different cultural, faith and spiritual paradigms. Tomlinson believes that the church can pull itself back from entrenched positions to address peoples' spiritual needs in an era of growing spiritual interest, without seeing them only as potential converts but instead as people in God's image. This position is neatly articulated in this view of the gospel's role in the 21st century: "...caring for the earth, making poverty history, combating the AIDS pandemic, supporting fair trade, making peace instead of war, creating social justice, eliminating corruption, and opposing prejudice and bigotry are all gospel concerns."

Re-Enchanting Christianity is a gem, and well worth reading.
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on 7 September 2008
Dave Tomlinson's book The Post Evangelical was hugely influential, helping many Christians to face their doubts and find a pathway forward. Re-enchanting Christianity is a great follow-up. The first book perhaps represented Tomlinson's disenchantment. This new book offers a positive and vibrant message of hope. People may be less religious now, but they are as spiritual as ever. Tomlinson challenges the church to rise to this challenge and provide a place where spiritually hungry people can come with doubts and questions, feel accepted as they are, and become part of a community that is learning, growing, caring, and sharing in a journey of spiritual discovery.
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on 19 November 2008
The Post-Evangelical is one of the most important Christian books of the last quarter-century. The title itself was probably the most important thing, but that was enough: it created a new intellectual space in which one of the most dynamic religious movements in the west is now thriving. In short, it was a pioneering book.

Re-enchanting Christianity is not a pioneering book. It is comfy, safe, a bit like sitting in a favourite old armchair with your best friends surrounding you. And that is no surprise when most of the sources contained in the book come from the previous century.

The best way I can explain my dissatisfaction is by recounting my own experiences as an attender of a radical church group called The Nine O'clock Service. The leader of the church was training to be a priest at the same time that I was studying theology as an undergraduate, and I soon began to notice that he was regurgitating his lectures in a highly unsatisfying manner. There was neither critical reflection on what was clearly new material for him, nor was there any imaginative development or application. I was surprised to see someone I deeply respected swallowing a worldview so uncritically. His neophilia eventually resulted in what I consider to have been a theological dead end.

This book feels similar. By making extensive use of liberal theologians the book may have academic credibility, but lacks any creative spark: it feels too much like a literature review (some chapters make almost exclusive use of one text, rather like a bad undergraduate essay). In addition, these sources - which may be new to many evangelicals, but are far from new to any student of theology - do not suffer the same level of criticism as the evangelical ideas the book seeks to supplant.

Many of the theologians quoted reflect the apotheosis of liberal theology (Moltmann, for example), but surely Dave Tomlinson is aware that there is now a movement called post-liberalism which questions the foundations of the liberal project just as he is questioning the foundations of evangelicalism?

I would recommend this book for any person who can use their own critical faculties and who has not studied theology themselves. However, you would probably be better going straight to Moltmann, Brueggemann et al and bypassing this book altogether.

There's nothing wrong with this book. It just doesn't take us any where new (maybe my expectations were too high?). Having done his pioneering, Dave Tomlinson has found his new home and is busy settling down.
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on 3 October 2008
If you (like me) read Dave's first book, `The post-evangelical,' thinking that it was describing your own journey of faith and got to the last page desperately wanting more, you would have been eagerly anticipating `Re-enchanting Christianity' for many a year! The good news is that you will not be disappointed by the wait. Dave managers to expertly blend his own wealth of pastoral experience with his sharp and insightful theological mind to put forward this clear and coherent appeal for a faith that is inclusive and a church that is warmly embracing and open to the world in which it finds itself.

But whereas `The Post-evangelical' in many ways asked more questions than supplied answers, `Re-enchanting Christianity,' puts flesh onto the bones of Dave's thoughts as to where the church is at and as to where he feels it needs to go.

It will give renewed hope to those of us who do not want (anymore) to abandon the church to it's seemingly relentless decline into irreverence but who seek to re-engage with it in a new and open way, free from the dogma of the past into a bright future, where our traditions are seen, not as straight jackets, but as treasure-troves of experience to inform us on our journey.

No matter from which tradition you may have come, if you are seeking to re-engage with your faith and with the world around you in a new and coherent fashion, this book is for you.
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on 22 January 2016
Church people hate the idea that people want to be ‘spiritual but not religious.’ They blame them for not wanting the discipline that goes with church membership. Yet they cannot see that there is hardly any opportunity for spiritual practice in wordy church services. They also loathe the findings of James Fowler about faith development.

The author quotes theologians as diverse as Brueggemann, Moltmann, Marcus Borg, Dominic Crossan, Hans Küng, Martin Buber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Rahner, Walter Wink, Sally MacFague, Paul Ricoeur and C.S. Lewis

I don’t think he is right when he says that the Lambeth Conference 1988 added ‘experience of God's people’ to Hooker’s 3 fold stool, though Methodism certainly has.

Nor do I think he is correct in assuming that penal substitution nary astonement is the majority view – it is for evangelicals but not for catholics and orthodoxen. He dismisses this view as portraying a schizophrenic god.

These niggles aside, the author presents a holistic Christianity which furthers the kingdom rather than the church.
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on 10 June 2013
for those who have read " how to be a bad Christian" , this is a more detailed look at the material raised. It was actually written earlier and the more recent book was a distillation and simplification of this. It reaches deeper into the thought process and gives you more food for thought .
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on 1 July 2015
Having just re-read this book I think I am even more impressed with it the second time round. Probably because in between readings I have acquired a broader perspective on what Dave Tomlinson is saying through other progressive writers. I think this is an excellent summary of where the church has gone wrong in the past and how it needs to re-engage in the future. If what he is saying is not the future of Christianity I suspect it probably has not got one!
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on 19 March 2015
I bought this book to find out more of the mindset of the liberal left wing trendy Vicar. It is very useful for that purpose and you should find it useful.

For those who are the liberal type 3 (nominal, notional and antichrist) Christians this will thrill your heart and make you believe yet more in your own ideas about how things should be. Dave Tomlinson, whose family I knew in the past, is a typical theologian who is as far from dogmatic as one can get, and positively hates such things as the Law of God, the justice of God, and the exclusion by God of all and everything that does not accord with His character.

For the Lord's people; for those who know and love God, who have heard His Voice, and walk with Him, this book will be a useful insight into how those who are religious, but just do not know God think. The utter darkness and complete incomprehension seen in the book is a veritable blasphemous soup of lies, dirt, and error. Like Jesus Himself you will feel the shock of realising just how much darkness those who are not in God's things and do not know, believe, or obey God are in. You will see the same old thing that the scribes and Pharisees of the past thought and said. You will see with astonishment that no amount of Bible study or theology will ever give you the light of God. You will be stunned as to how Dave Tomlinson refers to others in utter darkness, like Desmond Tutu, no less, psychiatrists, philosophers etc for points of reference. Shocking stuff.

Most useful.
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on 28 September 2013
Very much enjoyed reading this and it gave me a lot to think about. Written in a deeper style than the 'Bad Christian' book I loved so much, so it took me a while, reading in small chunks, but that is me being no great academic rather than the author's fault. On the whole I agree with his view of the church and where it is losing people and how it could an should 're-enchant.
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