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Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Christ of the Celts

"I explore the Celtic image of Christ as the Memory of what we have forgotten. He remembers the dance of the universe and the harmony that is deep within all things. He is the Memory also of who we are."
--from the Prelude

"Diagnosing the human soul with a longing for peace in the face of fear and fragmentation nurtured by global pol
Hardcover, 139 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Jossey-Bass (first published November 30th 2000)
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Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
I checked this book out from the library because 1) I am part Celt and thought it would be interesting and 2) I was interested in the argument made by others that the Celtic church had Eastern strands distinct from Latin Christianity and maybe this guy could elucidate. The book failed miserably on both points.

Have you seen the movie "Meet the Robinsons?" In the movie the frog tells the bad guy, after one of his plans fails, "I just don't think this plan was thought throug
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love Philip Newell's writing; I often feel that we are kindred spirits. Additionally, I am deeply drawn to Celtic Christianity. Two themes that recur in Newell's writing is the reframing of the doctrine of original sin and a new understanding of what the Cross of Christ means for us today. The doctrine of original sin is damaging to both humanity and creation. It is the root of so much human suffering in the world and has caused incredible damage to millions of folks trying to follow the spiri ...more
Kate Davis
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A beautiful exploration of the re-birthing of Celtic spirituality in our world today. Christ, here, is not one a sacrifice, but a manifestation of love. This is a spirituality that recognizes the links between God and the earth, states that the word 'God' is a metaphor, and embraces other faiths as pointing to the same truth.

I'd highly recommend the chapter "Paying the Piper" for a small sample of Celtic spirituality; I cried all the way through that one.
Pam I.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: celtic
At several points in this book I wept. This is a "read again" book for me. I found affirmation in Newell's gift of words.......affirmation of humanity and divine love.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I have been reading this book along with a church discussion group. I've made my thoughts about the book known there. I have struggled with a review because I see that so many persons have liked the book. So . . .

What is good about this book? Well, it made me think more deeply about our natural goodness and "Edenic" nature as opposed to our natural badness through original sin. Mr. Newell opts for natural goodness. OK. But he's unable or unwilling to explain the badness (i.e., sin).
Dougald Blue
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you consider yourself a "mainline Christian," this book will challenge your presumptions.
John Philip Newell -- who, incidentally is a regular guest at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va. -- is the former Warden of the retreat center on the island of Iona. He is today considered one of the most adept proponents of Celtic Christianity in the world.
His premise is that while mainline Christianity developed alongside the imperial presumptions of the Roman Empire, the Celtic p
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is an extremely interesting book. I admit to having been skeptical that it would achieve any depth when I started it, but found myself drawn into J. Philip Newell's engaging and insightful (to me) discussion of Celtic Christianity and the ways that it differs from the standard western Christian traditon.

I found Newell's discussion of Celtic notions concerning original sin and substitutionary atonement to be particularly interesting. If you have ever wondered about Celtic crosses, this book
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because my church is sponsoring a book group discussion of it through Lent. It was a fast read, and didn't go much in-depth to any one topic. The author seemed to rely a lot on personal stories and experiences sprinkled with quotations from early Christian writers. It was very affirming, and I enjoyed thinking about concepts such as substantiary atonement in a non-dominant way. I would have been interested to learn a bit more about the history of Celtic Christianity and how it migh ...more
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Do you struggle with traditional theological teachings, especially doctrines like original sin and substitutionary atonement? Does it bother you that Christianity has historically devalued creation and even supported its destruction? Are you concerned about a gospel that only centers itself in salvation of the human soul?

Then this book is for you. If you let it, this book will help shift your thinking about those and other issues, hopefully setting you on a path of recovering a whole
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I felt myself drawn to Celtic Christianity without really knowing much about it. This book did a good job of explaining what Celtic Christianity is and really spoke to some of the problems I have felt with traditional Christian teaching. For example, I have always felt at odds with the concept of original sin. Newell explained how that doctrine led to an excuse for empire and conquering peoples (think Crusades and forced baptisms). The doctrine of substitutional atonement is also examined, how i ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book to be read slowly and again. Newell reveals Christ in ways that feel mystical and natural at once. Seeking unity with the earth and others using rythmn, heartbeat, drum beat and song. Drawing upon the ancient Celtic traditions, interweaving the feminine spirituality and masculine tradition and the teachings of George MacLeod and Teilhard de Chardin as well as ancients Irenaeus and Eriugena -- we are challenged to reconcile the church with the earth. A bold and old calling to our original ...more
Aidan Owen
An outstanding rereading of Christian spirituality, which is actually an old reading. If you're looking for Christian spirituality that is earth-centered, celebrates the creation, and doesn't rely on the pagentry of empire for its glorification, this book is a good place to start. Does Newell perhaps romanticize Celtic spirituality? Sure. Does he use the phrase "the high desert of New Mexico" about 1,000 more than he needs to? Absolutely. But the beauty of this book and the spiritual vision it o ...more
David Gamble
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I thought when I picked up this book that I would be reading a historical account, well researched, like some of this author's work. That's not what the book is. Instead it's more of a collection of experiences, mostly based on how the author feels about his family, that helps a person 'feel' Celtic Christianity. This wasn't really what I came for and so I wasn't completely happy, but if you take it for what it is, it's done well. After all, what's more holy than the family?
Debra Waites
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I find it interesting that as I was reading this book, I also began reading on October 9 Matthew Fox's Original Blessing, which dovetails nicely with Christ of the Celts.
This book tells in a succinct way how the Celts worshipped the Christ in a creation theology. It recognizes the unity of what many of the mystics espoused. An easy read. Was not life changing, but an encouraging affirmation of a path that I have tended to walk more often than not.
Kieran Ryan
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down from the time it arrived in the post box.
Resounded with my heart and challenged the head and constructs I have allowed myself to be indoctrinated with.
Have ordered another copy and sent to my father.
Mary Kathryn
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Helped me to identify that I was raised with Celtic theology, and to celebrate again what I find healthy about it.
George Wallace
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and a testimony to what is possible when Christianity recovers its mystical tradition.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Challenging. Beautiful. Inspiring. Clarifying. Helpful. <3
Tom Helmick
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Challenging and wonderful.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marvelous explanation of how creation is tied to God.
Iris Van Den Bergh
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
In January I thought I had decided on a book for our Lenten study at church, when I came across this at a Soul Desires bookstore display during our denomination's Winter Convocation for Nebraska clergy. Our Lenten theme has been "A Healing Spring" and this books focus on healing and on some of the doctrines related to Lent--sin, atonement, salvation--seemed a very good fit.

The book generated lively discussions among our church members, some of whom never liked Newell's feeling-orient
Bob Price
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Christ of the Celts is not exactly what I thought it was. While that is generally ok, here I believe there is a bit of misleading information.

I generally believe that the Celtic vision of Christianity has a great deal to offer to the church and the world. There are things we can learn from going back to reading some of the ancients. In particular, the Celtic tradition has a great deal to say about the unity of creation and the completion of salvation.

The problem with Christ of
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm not sure at all how to review this book. Parts of it touched on deep, forgotten joys and secret hopes. Other parts set off all my warning bells and made me tense.

Philip Newell offers a great summary of Christ of the Celts in the final pages of its "postlude":
Throughout this book, I have been pointing to a way of seeing that has characterized the Celtic tradition over the centuries. Particularly, it is a way of seeing Christ that is distinct form most of our Western Christian inheritance. It/>
Fr. River
Mk. 1:29-39 Book Review: Christ of the Celts by J. Philip Newell

"Jesus healed many. ." it appears that some where not healed. Last night I gave out 150 meals--but many others went without. In Christ of the Celts Newell talks about an inclusive spirituality--that brings our relationship to Christ into the wholeness of all creation. He summarizes that for me in his reflection on the cross:

“The cross is the greatest showing of God. It discloses the first and deepest im
Katherine (Kat) Nagel
Enjoyed this, to a point, but was disappointed. I liked the emphasis on "God within all," and the importance of the personal connection with both God and the earth. I was hoping for something a bit more substantial about the history and development of Celtic Christianity, though. The historical information was fairly sparse and fragmented. The personal notes were interesting, but the book felt…twitchy, with all the jumping back and forth between historical Celtic Christianity and Newell's person ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very different way of thinking about Christianity than what I was raised with. The differences between the Celtic line of thought and the Roman line of thought is vast. Instead of viewing the world as inherently sinful and trying to move away from the sin, it's a call to return to our original nature and inherent goodness, with kindness, intentional love for our neighbor and goodness in all.

Hard to process sometimes still, a little like drinking from a firehose. But what will probably linger th
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this for the first time about two years ago and didn't respond well to it, heresies and such. But I just reread it and Newell has pretty much exactly put into words where I'm at with what I believe these days. I don't know if what he said seeped into my subconscious and resurfaced as what I thought were my own thoughts, or if I'm onto something here and he gets it too....I'll read it again in a few years and see how I feel then.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
If some aspects of Christianity leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, they might be explained by the author of Christ of the Celts, who looks at some deep differences between Celtic theology and Western theology. A satisfying read, though it starts strong and kind of fizzles as you near the end. Nevertheless, it's a breath of fresh air, and I recommend reading it.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this for my book group at church and really enjoyed it. It speaks to the idea that Christ is in all things. It is an easy and peace bringing book that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested.
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