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The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Dare to imagine a new birth from deep within Christianity, a fresh stirring of the Spirit.

"The walls of Western Christianity are collapsing. In many parts of the West that collapse can only be described as seismic.... There are three main responses or reactions to this collapse. The first is to deny that it is happening. The second is to frantically try to shore up the fou
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 6th 2014 by Skylight Paths Publishing
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Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Important book. Newell's thesis is that Christianity as we have known it in the West is either dying or entering a deep slumber. The question then is what new life is emerging. He paints a hopeful picture of what can be--if we take Jesus of Nazareth seriously. ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this book and began reading it because it was selected for a book discussion at my church. I wound up missing the discussions because of work and family commitments, and I regret that. There is so much here that challenges traditional beliefs and practices. At 124 pages, it's one of the shortest books I've read this year, but Newell presents so much that is new - or was to me - that it's taken more time for me to read it than much longer books have done. ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For one who does not consider myself traditionally Christian, I found this book to be an awakening to a new view of Christianity. It opened me up in a way that does not often happen. Tears and joy. Consider reading it while sitting in nature, in front of a winter fire, with candlelight. It is a depth-filled short read. I highly recommend it.
Glen Grunau
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Newell comes from the Celtic Christian tradition and has a radical claim to make that will come us a breath of fresh air to some followers of the Christian tradition and potential heresy to others. He asserts that Western Christianity as we know it is dying and needs to be reborn.

Newell claims that Jesus' words in John 3:7 "You must be born anew" need to be re-envisioned, that they have been "hijacked by religious fundamentalism to give the impression that we need to become something other than
Ben Edwards
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Theologically I have loved Celtic Christianity for a long time. My biggest complaint (about Newell among others in fact) was the single minded focus on a spiritual teaching that never seemed to quite make it into today's social realities. This book finally begins the process of bridging that gap and for that reason it is something special! ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the introduction to this short book (124 pages) Newell tells of a dream that Carl Jung had.. It was of a giant turd crashing into a cathedral and destroying it. Newell finds this dream relevant to the present time in which he thinks western Christianity is on the verge of collapsing, as evidenced by the lack of membership and commitment shown in most mainstream churches.

His response to this crisis is to redefine "God" as revealed in the Christian resurrection story. Christ is not found wher
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psbc
The author’s subhead and understandings of why and how we need to face “Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings” is expressed on Page 4 with “The time has come for us to make the connection again between spirituality and the earth.”

In preparation for my review, as I skimmed this book’s pages for my underlines, notes, and exclamation marks, I found my page 10 full of exclamation marks beginning with (from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) the “primacy of humility”. I feel that one of our major stum
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I belong to a Congregational/Unitarian church on Cape Cod in MA. The demographic of the community and the congregation is older people, but people who are open to learning new ways, sharing their stories, and establishing new connections and friendships. After many years of being non-churchgoers, my husband and I joined this church because it was so welcoming and it added a new center to our life since we have no family living nearby. We were particularly drawn to the church because of the pasto ...more
Jim Hopwood
Newell contends that Christianity needs to be born anew. No argument there. Each chapter focuses on different aspects of renewal and features a different key thinker, often from a contemplative tradition. Interesting folk, and some good stories, but I found this book easy to put down, hard to pick back up again. Along the way, Newell does offer a helpful tour of the Iona community in Scotland. And a couple of groaners as well, such as when he refers to himself as "an internationally renowned tea ...more
Leanne Hunt
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A deep and profound meditation on the pilgrim's path on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland, this book examines the pillars of Celtic spirituality, as the author sees them. It covers such topics as non-violence, the unconscious, and love, and draws on the example of inspirational people.
Not a book to be read in a rush, but easy enough in style to relax with. I expect to look up more books by this author as his writing opens the mind and challenges one to think differently about commonly
Barbara Tellman
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During this stressful Coronavirus time when we are all operating on a combination of fear and hope this book was a wonderful way to come back to what is all-important in living - living in God. In 8 chapters the author takes readers through the eyes of saints and mystics to find a way back to the spirituality of Celtic thought, by leading a pilgrimage on the isle of Iona to rebirth God through reconnecting with the earth, compassion, Light, Journey, spiritual practice, nonviolence, the unconscio ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Out of the Newell books I have read, this one is the best by far. It's concise but detailed, and has far better structure. Newell's explanation of the necessity of unity in today's Christianity is very well done. There's still a few finer points that need clearing up, but Newell's book is overall a good read- haha- and definitely something I would recommend to other Christians. ...more
T. Michael
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book about spirituality from a Christian perspective. It gently, but forthrightly tells us how Christianity moved off course what needs to be done to change it. A must read for spiritual beings.
Courtney Cantrell
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely essential reading for anyone wanting a deeper look into Celtic Christianity or, at the very least, a refreshing of their own particular Christian tradition. I would recommend it as a comfort to some and a challenge to others.
Kathleen Hubbard
In this year of 2020, I think this is the most poignant book of the many great books I have read. This author is one of my favorites, but this book so hits the world situation of date. I highly recommend this book, it is very hopeful.
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
So many important things to ponder. "We are made of God and this made of love." "We need to open to the treasure of wisdom in traditions other than our own." Reconnect with the Earth, compassion, Light, journey, spiritual practice, nonviolence,the unconscious, and love. ...more
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was excellent. I read it twice this year. It's easy to believe that we are living in the time of the giant turd falling, and this book gives us hope. ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty spectacular in breadth. Probably bears rereading.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Drank this down in one shot. Only made me more thirsty... and fired up/ready to go get some ecumenical/interfaith campus ministry going!!
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readin18
Exceeded my (very high) expectations.
Kieran Ryan
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Contemplative ...
Matt Nixon
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The Rebirthing of God provides a way forward for those who are disappointed with mainstream Evangelicalism today. There’s another way - a more beautiful and simple way.
Karen Cochran
There are interesting tidbits in this book.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
A Christian mystic, Newell takes us on a deep journey to a Christianity that connects us all, a place of connection with the earth, a wellspring of Love.
Barb Kapinus
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring and hopeful look at theology and creation. Reflects Celtic spirituality.
Ed Wojniak
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Although I thought it was a strange title at first, I'm thinking that perhaps Newell could be meaning that it's our perception and understanding(s) of God that rightfully should be rebirthing and/or that God does cause rebirthing in us as we grow in our understanding(s) of Him. It seems to me that what Newell portrays is what I call a "spiral-staircase" experience, i.e., a continuous re-viewing and re-experiencing of things from different vantage points. For example, reconnecting with love (quot ...more
Andrew Ward
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you read enough books of a certain author you can see patterns and recurring thoughts that are important to them. John Phillip Newell has talked about a few of the things is this book but manages to refresh them giving new depth to their meaning much like a painter who gives depth to their work by adding more color.

I am a fan of John Philip Newell and this latest work is some of his best work.
Feb 08, 2015 added it
A quick and concise but illuminating read on the ways old forms of religion are dying to new and more expansive modalities of spirituality. 3.4 Martinie glasses
Bob Nelson
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A must read for anybody who wants a new look at Christianity...well written and optimistic. It moved me several times.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and inspiring book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the world-wide movement ti find spiritual meaning in a complex world.
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JOHN PHILIP NEWELL is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher and popular speaker and the widely read author of several books, including Listening for the Heartbeat of God and A New Harmony. The former Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is the founder of The School of Earth and Soul (A Celtic Initiative of Study, Spiritual Practice and Compassionate Action) and teache ...more

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21 likes · 28 comments
“Too often in the past our approach to truth has been to assume that we have it and others do not. Consequently, we have thought that our role is to tell people what to believe. We are being invited instead into a new humility, to serve the holy wisdom that is already stirring in the hearts of people everywhere, the growing awareness of earth’s interrelatedness and sacredness.” 10 likes
“It was Roland who taught us that there are two types of prayer. One, he said, is the dozing pussycat prayer, purring by the warm fire of God’s presence. The other is the yappy dog prayer, scratching at the door of heaven, imploring God’s help in our lives.” 5 likes
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