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Wide Open Spaces: Beyond Paint-By-Number Christianity

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Jim Palmer's critically acclaimed Divine Nobodies was only half the story - the deconstruction and shedding of a religious mentality that hindered his knowing God. In his next book, Jim takes the reader along into the wide open spaces of exploring and experiencing God beyond religion. Jim writes, "It is no secret that God can be lost beneath the waving banner of religion. ...more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Thomas Nelson Publishers (first published 2007)
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I feel like Jim is helping me articulate things I have always had as a part of my personal theology....but I felt like I never had the language to express it.
Not for everyone. Particularly not for the fearful, sarcastic, reactionary, or those with all the answers. I might recommend this for the "right-brained," spiritually sensitive, adventurous, broken, or contemplative believer who's been in the church for over 3-4 decades ... plus those who found in their youth kindred spirits among A.W.Tozer, F.Schaeffer's True Spirituality, and the likes. It's also for those to whom "abiding in Christ" has a great significance (and sees spiritual fruits as the * ...more
Really different from Jim Palmer's other book, I bought this from him at his yard sale. This takes the subjects of his first book, Divine Nobodies, steps further and talks about how his life, his view of God and his thought patters in general have changed. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around some of the really emergent, almost relative themes, but it opened my mind to a lot. Much of this book met me in what I've been fleshing out on my own.
Another great book by Jim Palmer. I feel I have traveled down a very similar path and it was refreshing to find that others are on this path too. If you are finding the religious institutions, traditions, etc. are weighing you down and confusing you about who God really is, this book will give you the courage to be free of those things and experience God in a real way.
Michael Donahoe
The main point is that God is love, and as Christians we have God in us, along with His love. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and all others as ourselves. Rather than trying to find fulfillment through organized church services, we can be the church and show love to a hurting world and be Jesus to everyone we meet
A sort of sequel to 'Divine Nobodies', but it stands alone. Reflections on God, the wider church, reasons for no longer attending a formal church, and more. Well-written, with interesting anecdotes and an open, honest approach to life and God that I found very refreshing. Highly recommended.
Some believe that you can not worship without a building or some other person telling you what to believe. This book encourages spiritual examination and freedom. And assurance that it is good to color outside the lines.
Bailey Olfert
Jim challenges his readers to consider if their concepts of God have prevented them from really experiencing God. Jim focuses intently on love, and on being an expression of God rather than pointing people to God.

The image of God in me
Honours the image of God in you
Because it’s true we two
Are equal in God’s view

I greet you in that sacred space
As I bow before you
Knowing that our God above
Loves me and adores you
I read this book shortly after leaving the institutional church. It really helped me feel the permission to take a break from the Bible (I know how that sounds) and just affirmed some things I was feeling.
Patrik Olterman
Meeting god outside the organised religion, Love the part about the Bible! Awesome as always @Jimpalmer
So I recently finished reading Jim Palmer's Wide Open Spaces and I have to be honest. I did not like it. Palmer offers a unique take on just about every aspect of the Christian life. Some of these views are challenging and eye opening. Others are so unique that I have never heard them the Bible.

Palmer is a former pastor who has left organized church and is starting to meet with people in his home for worship. I have nothing against this per say, however in the midst of h
Jonathan Pelanne
A refreshing perspective of Christianity that removes many of the burdens imposed by the modern day church. Who would've guessed a pastor of a 'thriving' church would leave and even hide his Bible(s) under the couch for a while? A recommended read for those who feel stagnant within the organized church/religious structures.
Rarely ever am I at a loss for words....this book blew me away. As I read this book, all I could find myself saying was "hmmm". I savor end this book. I'm on my second read of it. It's with me all the time: carry my iPad. The one thing about this book that makes it so different than anything else that I've ever read is that somehow the things that Jim talks about in this book, I know it. I cannot tell you how I know it...but I just do. It resonants within me. I'm usually rather good at expressin ...more
Eric Muhr
Palmer's former life as an executive pastor is a little bit fresh, making his outline of a new kind of orthopraxy both refreshingly freedom-focused and depressingly churchy in its expression. Still, Palmer is vulnerable (and cautious not to overstay his welcome) in sharing his changed perspective on Christ and Christ's message. The result is a challenge to orthodoxy that almost sings (especially his careful explication of American culture's sky-god). If you're fed up with traditional church, rea ...more
This book will definitely stretch your theology. It is a great book and a great read for those who are worn out by Christianity and are searching for the Jesus who has said, "come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Though there are some basic concepts in this book, it was definitely an enjoyable and encouraging read. Continues in the vain of Divine Nobodies. Autobiographical yet biblical. Enjoy.
This is a refreshing read, full of grace, love and encouragement. A great book for anyone who has been wounded by organized religion or emotionally hurting. Having said that, Mr. Palmer's journey from minister to "everyday guy" will benefit anyone seeking an authentic relationship with God and other believers. However, for those of us who are recovering from bad experiences with religion, it is salve to the wounds.
While this is a good book, it does not live up to the emotional movements of Jim Palmer's first book, Divine Nobodies.

Nearing the end of Wide Open Spaces, I felt as though the author was extremely rushed. There were also portions that seemed emotionally forced. However, I feel certain excerpts have a special poignancy that make this a book that people would benefit from reading.
I enjoyed the Prologue, but after that Palmer went into topics completely not Biblical and I gave up after the second chapter. The only value I see in reading this book is to deconstruct it for fun, which I plan to do one day.
Read it. A great book. Reminds me of so many of my friends.
Barb Halaburt
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Feb 21, 2015
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Jim has a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago. He was a successful Senior Pastor before he left institutional church and organized religion to explore new dimensions of his relationship with God.

Since 2005 he has been chronicling his journey beginning with Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you), and then Wide Open Spaces
More about Jim Palmer...
Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the Unlikely People Who Help You) Being Jesus in Nashville: Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (whoever and wherever you are) Notes from (over) the Edge: Unmasking the Truth to End Your Suffering Inner Anarchy: Dethroning God and Jesus to Save Ourselves and the World The Pocket Book of Prayers

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“One of the most freeing discoveries these past few years in my relationship with God is discovering that God is not a belief system or a fixed set of theological propositions.” 13 likes
“People who ask a lot of questions often find themselves at odds with other people, and even institutions and governments. Sometimes questioning types don't fare very well within religion.” 5 likes
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