The Wisdom Jesus
Cynthia Bourgault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind - a New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Boston: Shambhala, 2008)
The reviews I read of this book had led me to believe that Cynthia Bourgault was offering a fresh perspective on Jesus. I think that is an exaggeration, but she does merge Western and Eastern interpretations in a way that is certainly not mainstream. She invites us to step out of our tendencies to over rationalize the Gospels and read them freshly with emotion and passion. Her book, however, is fairly heady - a theological approach without the footnotes. She writes well and the book is a good read, but I just couldn’t bring myself to understand her approach as something radically new in the world of Christianity.
Many of the disciplines and approaches of which she speaks have long been present in the Western Church as well as in Eastern Orthodoxy. She seems to be more educated in Eastern practice than in that of some of the orders of Roman Catholicism, for example.
The third section of the book is a rather elementary introduction to spiritual practices that have been taught and passed down for centuries. My advice to those who have not yet read the book is to skip to that section first. If those practices are new to you and invite you into a deeper relationship with Jesus, then, by all means read the entire volume. It is a good introduction to a deeper faith. If you find very little that is new in those practices, chances are you won’t find too much that is new in the rest of the book.
This book would be a good book for spiritual practices groups or for spiritual direction and is good to have in the library of resources.