Katherine's Reviews > An Emerging Spirituality

An Emerging Spirituality by Ricky Maye
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: religion
Read from May 17 to 28, 2012

- I received a copy of this book from GoodReads' First Reads program in exchange for an honest review-

I found this book to be quite refreshing. I know, I often say that of books that offer ways of thinking that aren't wrapped up in the same dogma many of us are tired of, but I really do mean it. To have an author open one's mind to possibilities, instead of using faith to limit them, is always something I find to be like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale place of faith. And this book really was no exception.

The chapters in this book are quite short, so it makes for an easy read. And I understand, or think I understand, that the point of the short sections was intended to allow room for the reader to think, instead of the author to impose his own views upon us. I just would have loved to have been able to get a deeper look at his thoughts, at what he has to say, because for me, when I read, it's like a dialogue, and it's easier for me to think and respond when there is more to respond to. Not that what is there wasn't sufficient, because it did offer a lot to look at (it just means that I'm an avid and intense reader, and that I'll have to keep my eye open for his other works). For example, I really did love his take on sin, salvation, revival, the way he emphasized personal need and personal relationship, his thoughts on the phrase "in vain," and many, many other thoughts he shared.

The phrase, found on page 28, that "your spiritual life is not a destination, it is a journey," is something that I have always felt and thought myself, seeing it not as a moment of conversion, but instead as a continued process of cultivation, of growing and serving and loving. I also loved his saying that "discussion is a journey" on page 30. He goes on to say that "Conversation isn't about proving a point; true conversation is about going on a journey with the people you are speaking with." I loved that. It was like he was writing things I have felt and believed, in his explanations of how he sees the idea of a journey, in comparison to a quest. I love various quotes throughout the book that tie into this idea, of spirituality as a journey, like on page 42, where he says "It's not a location, it's a direction. It's not a place to end up, it's a life of enduring," and "We don't want to focus on a moment, but the momentum." I love how, on the same page, he stresses that even though we may be on different paths "we are all on that journey back to God; the journey back to what we have heard of, what we feel inside of all of us." Of course, I might take that in a hyper-universalistic sense he doesn't intend, as I believe even other faiths are valid paths back to God, but even if not intended as I naturally take it, based on my beliefs, it is refreshing to hear what he's saying on any level, even if just on the most basic kind of different versions of Christianity.

I enjoyed his section discussing the difference between religion and spirituality, and in that section is perhaps one of my absolute favorite quotes of the whole book. It's found on page 46, and he says "I find it weird that the hope and wish of God's salvation to everyone is a revolutionary thought in Christian circles. It will get you in trouble if you think the Love of God is open for everyone in some churches. We still have a long way to go." He goes on to talk, in the next few pages, about how Jesus "didn't see legalism or laws. Jesus saw people and pain and real situations."

In probably one of my favorite sections, the author talks about salvation, and about how it is "more about the quality of life and our ability to function on this earth" than getting into heaven (page 117), and goes on to show how Jesus offered salvation to various people based on their individual needs, through this different understanding of salvation, this idea of wholeness and healing. I must admit, that's the way I think of salvation. I do believe in heaven, but for me salvation is so much deeper than that, in a way that I wasn't even sure if I still liked the word, because of all that is usually attached. But salvation the way Ricky Maye talks about it is one way I can find the word redeemable. And I love that he takes that idea and uses it as a way to call us to think of how we can bring salvation to those we see in our lives, based on their needs - how he calls us, as I believe Jesus did, to a life of service and restoration for those who are our neighbors.

Another of my favorite quotes can be found on page 129, where the author says "Sometimes, I think when we look through the scriptures we haven't learned anything from the mistakes of the Pharisees and scribes. We still seem to categorize the scriptures between sin and not sin, rather than looking at is as a chronicle of unique divine relationships." It kind of goes along with the way I think about atonement - not as acceptance of some sacrifice, but as at-one-ment between individuals and God, focusing on the relationship between the two, as well as being at-one-with our fellow man. He goes on to talk about the idea of condemnation and judgment, about how much of a priority needs to be made of not throwing stones at others. He uses the example of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery to make his point, and he brings that chapter to a close by saying, on page 134, that "Throwing stones hurts. If you don't get the metaphor; judgment by you and me, never wins. It's not our job, it's not our responsibility and it's not our place. If Jesus didn't judge that woman, then we sure as hell can't."

I love the way the author looks at the way Christianity represents itself, expressing "how we wish Christianity would be known for love, generosity, and acceptance," (page 138) then going on (on the next page) to discuss how "Christianity is not known for good fruit," and how "the media, the world, isn't ragging on us because we love too hard," but instead because of the negative and unloving examples of Christians.

As long as this review already is, and I do apologize for that, there is so much more that this book contains, so many other ideas that I could mention and express complete agreement with, but I guess I need to be wrapping this up. All I can really say that this is a book that really did resonate with me, and has left me wanting to read whatever else the author has written or writes in the future. I think it's important that these kinds of voices are heard and represented within not just the Christian community, but the world in general, and I would recommend this book to any Christian with a mind open enough to consider what is to be found within the pages, and even any non-Christian yearning to see evidence that not all Christians are the way Christianity seems to represent itself. I really did enjoy the book, the engaging style in which it was written, and the fresh perspective it has to give. It is one that I am glad to have added to my growing collection.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read An Emerging Spirituality.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-1 of 1) </span> <span class="smallText">(1 new)</span>

dateDown arrow    newest »

Ricky Maye Really enjoyed the review. Also got some great points for new works.

back to top