here are some great quotes that Barry uses to introduce his chapters that I will use to speak about this wonderful book:
"...At the very cry from the cross: the cry which confesses that God was forsaken by God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods... they will not find another god who has himself been in revolt... They will find only one religion which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist." -G.K. Chesterson: Orthodoxy
Taylor talks about a re-encoding of the message. Taking artistic license, risking and endeavoring to take new routes with stories that have so long been closed to new meanings. No longer can the theological connection point for Christianity be "You are a sinner who will die in your sins unless you repent. You must be born again." Taylor asks "Is it really the only connection with God through the Jesus story? I think not, though I think it is A connection to Christianity and has been the dominant mode of connection in the church post-Reformation." (page 198).
This approach means no pre-packaged dogmas, doctrines, or resting on old answers. Nor is it throwing out all the dogmas, doctrines or old answers. It is a wide net that Taylor is casting... or actually, asking others to cast. It is a multi-disciplinary approach to life that seeks to encapsulate and make room for people "at the foot of the cross... even atheists." It is keeping Christus Victor right alongside all the other forms of atonement and inventing new ones or not having atonement at all! All of these are possibilities depending on context.
"Poetry will reach a superior dignity, it will become in the end what it was in the beginning---- the teacher of humanity." Friedrich Schelling, Philosophy of Mythology
Taylor constantly uses pop culture to talk about his spiritual outlook. He is quite wise to point out the difference between the movies Stigmata and the Exorcist. He then uses movies and art and poetry to classify 4 movements and expressions of spirituality in the world: 1. Zen Culture 2. The Next Enlightenment 3. Retrolution and 4. Resistant Communities. here are some brief descriptions:
Zen Culture: a "westernized Asian Thought" is being seen through the growing popularity of Anime, ancient wisdom, and use of imagery in movies. Think THE MATRIX here, where it is a blend of Christianity, Gnostic, and Mystic western thought mixed with Tao, Buddhist, Zen, and Kung-Fu eastern notions. Much like the music that's produced by Washington D.C.'s own Thievery Corporation:
Next Enlightenment: Rational Mystics Taylor terms them. Books like The Celestine Prophecy and the Golden Compass are about finding ways to connect to the divine and trusting one's self to do that without the traditional support structures of formalized religion. This approach is all about the WHOLE PROCESS of things and emphasizes community, relationality, and level playing field... there is a "serious concern for their inner lives with a strong penchant for social activism, including a commitment to a sustainable future." but Taylor notes that it's equally important to see their dislikes and those are "social inequality, intolerance, and the Religious Right." U2 would be the biggest band in the strain, but then you get Springsteen, Saves the Day, and the Flobots here as well. Here's one of my fave songs by Switchfoot:
Retrolution: Postmodern Gothic, a blend of ancient and modern.. like what we find in The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, and Donnie Darko. These stories "explore the old and a little under the surface deal with the new; past literary forms and present concerns exist side by side." The is also an element of mystery and shock value and no guarantee for happy endings. Think spirituality ala Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. can't count the amount of social and religious imagery found in my fave Manson video (not to mention the cheerleader like chant within it, i LOVE this song!):
Resistant Communities: the religious right, street preachers, and the like. Jerry Falwell style, that is directly engaged and obsessed with "the other". This community has a desire which is commoditized and the motivating factor is fear. The Left Behind Series would be an example here. Of course my bias is showing here... not Taylors.. because i'm rather sick of these communities and i deal with them all the time. they want to rest of "old answers" yet ignore that the answers they're coming up with are new permutations of old things... there is many positive aspects to these communities, it's not all bad.. and there's even some good music coming out of it... well it's been awhile, but here's what I remember being "cool" when i listened to "Christian Music":
I highly recommend this book! I'm all about it! I feel that it perfectly articulates many of the crazy thoughts zooming around in my head. I hope you'll check it out!