Throughout, among many heady concerns, Christopher and Barrie both emphasize the distinction between the “two types” of spiritual leaders: “those who spiritually empower others, and those who seek to control others.” As he lays out in clear and inviting language a path of his own that draws on a host of religious and spiritual traditions but is fully indebted to none, Father Christopher reveals himself as the empowering type of leader, one eager to guide others toward a “responsible freedom” and a “wholehearted love for one’s chosen form of God, and unlimited, unconditional love toward others.” Achieving this, he posits, means that one must recognize and respect our place in “the limitless interconnectedness among all things,” pray with ceaseless devotion, and not take the material world and its concerns as “real”—it is instead a “platform where we enact our desires and emotions, likes and dislikes.”
Readers whose minds bustle with questions or objections after an assertion like that will appreciate that, throughout, Father Christopher entertains his interlocutors’ concerns. Admirably, he leans into the complexities and paradoxes of such beliefs, explaining that “one can be inwardly surrendered while outwardly assertive at the same time.” These rich, engaging discussions, alive with fresh insights and challenges, will reward readers eager for connection to “a universal spiritual self—God—that contains all individual souls and every particle of the universe.”
Takeaway: Inviting interfaith colloquies of enlightenment and connection to the universal.
Comparable Titles: Linda A. Mercadante’s Belief without Borders, June McDaniel’s Lost Ecstasy.
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