Republished: The Gospel of Falling Down

Jul 18th, 2015 | By | Category: Articles, Book Reviews

jhp5555ca5000f70A review by Nimue Brown

At first glance, it may not be obvious what The Gospel of Falling Down is doing being re-published as a Pagan classic.

“Failure, rather than success, is at the heart of the life of Jesus and his message. He came to liberate us from the “gospel of success”. It is not in “climbing the ladder of perfection” that we meet God, but in falling from it. And it is then that we discover the most beautiful spiritual gold.”

Author Mark Townsend  was a vicar, before he found Druidry and his life became a lot more complicated. His work is at the liminal edges between faiths.

While there are increasing numbers of second and third generation Pagans out there, far more Pagans come to Paganism from another background. Many are Christians. Many who are Christians have more issue with the church as an institution than they do with the teachings of Jesus. Mary the mother goddess speaks to many.

If we look at our more recent ancestry, it’s obvious that pagan folk traditions and Christian belief have lived side by side for a long time. Spells and prayers overlap, and there are a lot of traditional charms that call on angels, and saints. The whole relationship between Christian saints and deities of place is complex as well. For some people, it makes no sense to see separation here.

If you are a Pagan who retains a fondness for the wisdom of Jesus, and you’re trying to work out how to balance that, Mark Townsend is an author who can help you.

There’s no Christianity in my Paganism, but my grandmother was a Jesus honouring woman who had a profound spiritual relationship with the natural world. My great grandmother preferred the hedgerows to the church. I see something of my own ancestry in Mark’s experiences. The Jesus he writes about is one I can relate to. A figure of compassion and possibility, a great teacher. For me, plurality is essential, I don’t want to make any one figure, or story into my absolute truth. I don’t believe in absolute truth.

There is richness, insight and humanity in Mark’s writing that I would invite any open minded, philosophically inclined Pagan to check out. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to find tremendous value in his words.

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