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The Evolution of Faith: How God Is Creating a Better Christianity

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  245 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
"Noone raises provocative questions about Christianity more kindly than PhilipGulley. " —Diana Butler Bass,author of Christianity for the Rest of Us

“Everyserious Christian ought to read this book, ponder it,wrestlewith it, but above all, be grateful for its presence in today's urgentconversation about what we are and are becoming as a people of God.” —Phyllis Tickle, autho
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books
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David Monroe
Post read Update: As we Quaker's say -- This Friend speaks to my condition.


Anxious to read this from Phil. He's a Quaker paster (some would say that's an oxymoron) and an author of If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person and the Harmony series. In an excerpt of this he asked; "How a book that has been altered numerous times over the decades can now be viewed as God's unchanging truth is a mystery to me." (He is talking about the Quaker book "Faith and Practice" but it could als
Zane Akers
A book by a Quaker pastor that basically espouses Enlightenment-era Deism mixed with some Unitarianism. Gulley, while he clearly knows the Scriptures well, puts little value on them in this book, quoting them only a few times in among his midwesterny anecdotes and generally viewing "revelation" as a bad, war-starting kind of thing. He also insists on the essential impotence of deity in the world and the futility of most kinds of prayer, so much so that I found the title and subtitle to be dising ...more
Cindy Carpenter
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you know, that you know, that you know that what you believe is absolute truth and that Christianity has not changed one iota since it's inception....well, this would either piss you off, scare you to death, rock your world, or maybe say what you've been thinking for a very, very long time....Gulley has been one of my favorite authors for about a decade now and he never lets me down...enjoy...and "stay thirsty my friends"....:)
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely could not have loved this book more! Every page had some sort of idea or tidbit of information that would just floor me, and that I totally agreed with. I really identify with Gully's views on religion, and Christianity today. I myself consider myself spiritual because I don't believe or follow everything that the Christian religion practices or believes today. I felt validated that Gulley touched on this issue, and I didn't feel alone that I am the only one that feels this way. Gul ...more
Hannah Givens
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
This book came just at the right time. It provides a window into an optimistic faith, even if yours will look different and have different beliefs. It shows that different coherent and workable beliefs really do exist. I don’t know enough about the Quakers to say for sure, but perhaps it’s that Quaker background that gives Gulley such an emphasis on community and sharing what he calls the Divine Presence (nothing like “sharing the gospel.”) There’s a strong idea that god loves everyone equally. ...more
Marty Solomon
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I love about reading more liberal authors (which Gulley most certainly is) is that they have this ability to be so truly honest about the spiritual journey and the realities therein. This honesty give them freedom to probe questions that others may not feel comfortable asking and therefore allows them to encounter perspectives that I find incredibly valuable to my own.

This is what I love about Gulley's book here. While I dont share his tendency to lean away from the Story rathe
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though a big part of me wants to insist I'm done with organized religion and I feel suspicious of most things promoted as Christian, it seems I continue to be drawn in by such titles as this.

I found the book helpful as I continue to move further and further from traditional Christianity. Many of Gulley's insights resonate with me and some of his writing brought clarity to unarticulated leanings. He does a great job addressing the major tenets of faith, expanding each one into an inclusive and un
NancyL Luckey
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip Gulley is such a gentle soul. I'd love to sit and talk with him. I'm going to have to really do some thinking and possibly rereading of this book before it becomes as good to me as his others. As Phyllis Tickle said on the back of the jacket "Whether you agree with all of Philip Gulley's theology - and in several places I don't - there is no question about the fact that he has defined her more clearly than perhaps any other contemporary commentator the current truth about the church." He ...more
Tasiyagnunpa Livermont
While I'm not swallowing every bit of his constructs, I do know I hold room for much of what he's writing. As a Lakota Christian, I especially appreciate his realization of God's witness across the earth. I tossed this book as I finished reading to my 14-year-old as he prepares for confirmation in the Episcopal Church. The Quaker understandings are important for our ecumenical understandings and for us to become a prophetic voice to preach love in a world of formulaic prayers in Evangelical Amer ...more
Dave Benson
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Phillip Gulley. Always have. To me, this book is the next logical step in his last few books If God is Love and If Grace is True, I would describe it as a kinder gentler and much more folksy "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" by Bishop John Shelby Spong which was written about 15 years ago. That book caused a bit of controversy, mostly from people who didn't actually read it. The same may be true about a book like this with such a provocative title and cover but I do hope folks will gi ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Bill and Ted, Gulley's religious philosophy is "be excellent to each other." And I enjoy that. I'm left wondering, however, what he actually believes. He seems to dismiss most conventional Christian dogma -- particularly about salvation. I'm not sure what use he gets from the Bible. At several points in the book I thought, "Why doesn't he just accept that he's an atheist?" That said -- I liked his anecdotes and personal remembrances, and his notion of God does appeal to me. I'll be thinking ...more
Sharon Neufer
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very readable book for the average layperson in the church (or out of it). Gulley weaves into it lots of examples from his own experience as he helps the reader see how his faith has evolved over the years and how older ideas of God, Jesus, and the Christian faith are no longer meaningful to large numbers of people in modern society. However, he believes that a new Christianity is possible and that it can help bring about a much better world. He does all this in his usual humorous styl ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Really enjoyed this book. It spoke to a lot of what I'm struggling with as a Christian right now and it made me feel better knowing I'm not the only one struggling and it made be good that I'm struggling.

Need to buy it and re-read it to get everything, I think. It's a tough read (to really grasp all of it... it's an easy read but in-depth)
Joey Dye
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I read it in 2 days, but there is much food for thought that will last me for days. Gulley gives voice to many strands of belief coming from the progressive wing of the Christian family. Its refreshing to read a book and not feel like you're the only one who thinks a certain way or believes a certain thing. I definitely recommend this book.
If Philip Gulley were a minister in Houston, despite my lack of faith, I would be in his congregation every Sunday. He espouses the closest thing to a belief system I could claim. I loved If Grace Is True and If God Is Love so very much as well. I can't understand why more faiths can't embrace his loving, inclusive theology.
Sarah Martinez
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful message presented in a straightforward, unpretentious manner. From the closing chapter: "God is creating a better Christianity. God is doing it right now, through people just like you, who refuse to worship a cultural deity whose compassion extends no further than the horizon..." To that, I can say a hearty "Amen!"
Chris Unterreiner
I love Gulley's books and count more than one among my all time favorites. He always has something to say that makes me think differently, and deeper, about my spirituality. I took too long reading this book and probably will have to go back and read it in less time to get the most out of it.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Philip Gulley for many years now so I expected to enjoy this book and I did. I don't always agree with everything he says, but for the most part I do. If you are a progressive thinker and lean toward universalism, you'll like this book. If not, you probably won't.
Thought provoking and accessible. You don't need a background in theology to appreciate this book. I agree with many of Gulley's ideas and disagree with others, but I am glad to have read The Evolution of Faith.
Tenille Shade
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Once again, Phillip Gully delivers a book that resonates with my spiritual journey. I appreciate his candor and willingness to speak truth that defies tradition.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a refreshing way of looking at the Christian faith. This book should be required reading in theology schools.
Jim Gleeson
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully optimistic description of a changing faith. Lots of historical perspectives. Offers the reader to use an open minded, critical view in examining their beliefs.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Tackled meaty issues of religion and spirituality in an understandable, thought-provoking way. Wish I would have read it much earlier in my faith journey.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gulley says a lot of things that I have thought and felt ... I wish that every Christian would read this. Inspiring ...
Jan 31, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kathleen Wells
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book, written by a Quaker pastor. Although I don't share in all his conclusions, his questions are questions that all serious Christians ask in the course of their lives.
Craig Dove
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quaker
I bought this book after hearing Phil speak at our Meeting... and it more or less is what I expected, given what he said there. I agree with his conclusions, and I really like several of his images - particularly about holding God's revelation like a hummingbird in your hand, very carefully - but his anecdotes are always stronger than his arguments.
I'm glad I read it, and there are several things I'll take away from it, but it isn't a book I can imagine rereading for further insight.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another thought-provoking offering by Quaker pastor Philip Gulley.
Gulley again delivers a thoughtful treatise on faith that breaks with orthodoxy.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fine book from Gulley. If you're wondering what this book is about, I honestly can't do better than the description:

What if God wanted us to grow and change, both our theology and our beliefs?In The Evolution of Faith, Philip Gulley invites us to discard slavish obedience to antiquated faith claims and worldviews and discover our true beliefs, re-examining and re-interpreting Christianity for today’s complex world. Gulley encourages us to seek answers within and develop our own apologeti
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Philip Gulley has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, Gulley is the author of the Harmony series of novels, as well as If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, which are coauthored with James Mulholland.

He hosts "Porch Talk with Phil Gulley" on the Indiana PBS affiliate WFYI television's flagship show Across I
More about Philip Gulley...