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Transforming Christianity: Ten Pathways to a New Reformation

by staff writer, Jun 1, 1996

by Stephen Glauz-Todrank
Crossroads, 1996
ISBN 0-8245-1525-0

trans_christianity_bk_l“Christianity,” writes the author, “is beginning to undergo a metammorphosis from traditional Roman Catholic and Protestant worldviews into something altogether new.” Transforming Christianity sheds light on the reformation that is happening now.

Glauz-Todrank argues that a global metamorphosis is taking place whereby individuals are open to re-imagining themselves, God, Jesus, the Christian community, and other religions. The author, a United Church of Christ pastor, highlights ten interconnected pathways that are mapping the direction of this new form of Christianity. These changes in direction include:

from exclusivistic to pluralistic;
from God above to God within;
from doctrinal to intuitional;
from sin-based to love-based;
from body-denying to body-affirming;
from enfranchised to prophetic;
from eschatalogical to ecological;
from schismatic to unifying;
from a religion about Jesus to a religion of Jesus.

Glauz-Todrank calls upon believers to see Jesus as “the Living Personification of Loving Kindness” and to recast churches as centers for wholistic spirituality. Glauz-Todrank’s ideas for “a New Reformation” are salutary and visionary. A prophetic presentation of a new way of thinking and believing that is emerging in the minds and hearts of countless Christians.

From Booklist
The emphasis here is more on transformation than on Christianity, and, though the title is cleverly ambiguous, Christianity is the object rather than the agent of the transformation in question. The 10 pathways of the subtitle are developed in detail–from exclusivistic to pluralistic, from hierarchical to democratic, from God above to God within, from doctrinal to intuitional, from sin-based to love-based, from body-denying to body-affirming, from enfranchised to prophetic, from eschatological to ecological, from schismatic to unifying, and from a religion about Jesus to a religion of Jesus. The effect–a spiritual practice more inclusive than traditional Christianity–is likely to appeal to the liberal Christians Glauz-Todrank addresses but not to the conservative ones with whom he is also concerned. The other two audiences he mentions, those who have left the church in disgust and those of other faith traditions, may find the book’s liberal synthesis useful even where it is not particularly original. –Steve Schroeder.

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