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In the summer of 1978, I took a summer course in Biblical Hebrew at Harvard Divinity School. One of the questions that interested me was the Hebrew name of God. This word was clearly a central part of Hebrew theology and practice for more than 2000 years. I wanted to try it as part of my daily spiritual practice. The first thing my instructor told me was that no one is sur In the summer of 1978, I took a summer course in Biblical Hebrew at Harvard Divinity School. One of the questions that interested me was the Hebrew name of God. This word was clearly a central part of Hebrew theology and practice for more than 2000 years. I wanted to try it as part of my daily spiritual practice. The first thing my instructor told me was that no one is sure how to pronounce that Name today. He said that while the King James Bible used the word Jehovah, this pronunciation was almost certainly wrong. Looking further, I found that a few hundred years before the time of Jesus the use of the Hebrew name of God became more and more restricted until only the high priest was allowed to use it. He did this only once a year, during the High Holy Days, while standing alone within the innermost room of the temple. How and why did this disappearing act occur? I looked further still into this question and I found an interesting statement by Jesus: The Bible has evidence in John 17:26 that Jesus took a different path concerning the name of God. He said "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." This quote clearly shows that Jesus, acting contrary to the trend of his time, not only knew how to pronounce this name of God and used the name himself, he taught this name of God to his disciples. What has happened since? Why was I not taught this name and its proper use in the catechism of my youth? With further research, I found more that provoked my curiosity. What is the explanation for the mysterious blessing of Jesus found in John 20:22? Here we read; "With that he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit." Questions like these are answered to the best of my ability later in this book. I was raised as a traditional Christian. I was fully engaged from an early age with the sacraments, parochial school and, service as an altar boy. During my first year of college, I learned to meditate. A few months later, in the summer of 1971, I was transformed by what I can only call an irresistible force that delivered a peace that truly passes all understanding. The transformation of that spiritual breakthrough has never left me. Its significance only becomes more vivid as time passes. I have tried to follow up on that event and, along the way, met some fascinating people. I learned to teach meditation. My meditation teacher then sent me to India to teach and represent him there. Returning home, I worked with a courageous Civil Rights' activist, Robert Pritchard, who was locked in a struggle to turn back a resurgent Ku Klux Klan. Robert took the time to befriend me and counsel me. One day Robert took me aside and recommended I "take a second look at Jesus." I respected Robert and took his challenge to heart. To a great extent, this book is the result. Traditionally, Christianity has not recognized the validity of spirituality if it is not closely tied to its own doctrine. This attitude was simply not an option for me. The ongoing miracle of the surging life that was and is animating me could not be denied. Instead, I have closely reexamined contemporary and historic Christianity. I searched for evidence that my experience and the methods that triggered it were consistent with my Christian heritage. I have found what I was looking for. What I uncovered convinces me that Jesus intended we all partake in the ongoing miracle of life with an intimacy and intensity far exceeding contemporary Christian standards.


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In the summer of 1978, I took a summer course in Biblical Hebrew at Harvard Divinity School. One of the questions that interested me was the Hebrew name of God. This word was clearly a central part of Hebrew theology and practice for more than 2000 years. I wanted to try it as part of my daily spiritual practice. The first thing my instructor told me was that no one is sur In the summer of 1978, I took a summer course in Biblical Hebrew at Harvard Divinity School. One of the questions that interested me was the Hebrew name of God. This word was clearly a central part of Hebrew theology and practice for more than 2000 years. I wanted to try it as part of my daily spiritual practice. The first thing my instructor told me was that no one is sure how to pronounce that Name today. He said that while the King James Bible used the word Jehovah, this pronunciation was almost certainly wrong. Looking further, I found that a few hundred years before the time of Jesus the use of the Hebrew name of God became more and more restricted until only the high priest was allowed to use it. He did this only once a year, during the High Holy Days, while standing alone within the innermost room of the temple. How and why did this disappearing act occur? I looked further still into this question and I found an interesting statement by Jesus: The Bible has evidence in John 17:26 that Jesus took a different path concerning the name of God. He said "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." This quote clearly shows that Jesus, acting contrary to the trend of his time, not only knew how to pronounce this name of God and used the name himself, he taught this name of God to his disciples. What has happened since? Why was I not taught this name and its proper use in the catechism of my youth? With further research, I found more that provoked my curiosity. What is the explanation for the mysterious blessing of Jesus found in John 20:22? Here we read; "With that he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit." Questions like these are answered to the best of my ability later in this book. I was raised as a traditional Christian. I was fully engaged from an early age with the sacraments, parochial school and, service as an altar boy. During my first year of college, I learned to meditate. A few months later, in the summer of 1971, I was transformed by what I can only call an irresistible force that delivered a peace that truly passes all understanding. The transformation of that spiritual breakthrough has never left me. Its significance only becomes more vivid as time passes. I have tried to follow up on that event and, along the way, met some fascinating people. I learned to teach meditation. My meditation teacher then sent me to India to teach and represent him there. Returning home, I worked with a courageous Civil Rights' activist, Robert Pritchard, who was locked in a struggle to turn back a resurgent Ku Klux Klan. Robert took the time to befriend me and counsel me. One day Robert took me aside and recommended I "take a second look at Jesus." I respected Robert and took his challenge to heart. To a great extent, this book is the result. Traditionally, Christianity has not recognized the validity of spirituality if it is not closely tied to its own doctrine. This attitude was simply not an option for me. The ongoing miracle of the surging life that was and is animating me could not be denied. Instead, I have closely reexamined contemporary and historic Christianity. I searched for evidence that my experience and the methods that triggered it were consistent with my Christian heritage. I have found what I was looking for. What I uncovered convinces me that Jesus intended we all partake in the ongoing miracle of life with an intimacy and intensity far exceeding contemporary Christian standards.

33 review for A Second Look at Jesus: The Experience of a Christian Mystic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert Martin

    The book is fascinating and complex yet has a very armchair friendly tone to the writing. I loved the humility in which he exposed all the episodes of his life good and bad. He writes with honesty and passion. The author has firsthand experience with many spiritual leaders such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the Transcendental Meditation Movement as a TM teacher living and teaching in India to Pir Vilayat head of the Sufi Order of the West. I myself practice TM and found his experiences and insight The book is fascinating and complex yet has a very armchair friendly tone to the writing. I loved the humility in which he exposed all the episodes of his life good and bad. He writes with honesty and passion. The author has firsthand experience with many spiritual leaders such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the Transcendental Meditation Movement as a TM teacher living and teaching in India to Pir Vilayat head of the Sufi Order of the West. I myself practice TM and found his experiences and insight into the TM movement and Maharishi fascinating. I found him always respectful of each spiritual path he encountered, and I read with special interest how his experiences lead him back to Christianity and Christ. It is painstakingly developed, and he writes with his heart. The most exciting realization of the book to me is how John’s stories and life lead him to Christian based spiritual techniques. Meditations that enhance ones spiritual life that are Christ centered and bible based. His journey is an artful telling leading up to practical spiritual techniques to enrich one’s life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichol

    Like the author, I was of college age in the Sixties, and I had more than one acquaintance in those days who explored Transcendental Meditation as a means of self-realization. At the time, I did not know any of them closely enough to get a feel for the '60's TM scene. This book has observations and insights that shed light on a little-understood aspect modern history; I would recommend it to anyone with an historical or casual interest in youthful lifestyles of the period. Like the author, I was of college age in the Sixties, and I had more than one acquaintance in those days who explored Transcendental Meditation as a means of self-realization. At the time, I did not know any of them closely enough to get a feel for the '60's TM scene. This book has observations and insights that shed light on a little-understood aspect modern history; I would recommend it to anyone with an historical or casual interest in youthful lifestyles of the period.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J. Wesley

    John Evans takes the reader along as he travels his very personal path toward knowledge, enlightenment, and an understanding of Christianity. His path is not likely one that many persons have shared, because few of us take the time or devote the effort to explore the recesses of our spirituality. This book is much like a travelogue of one mans's life, with an invitation that that the reader join the author in experiencing aspects of that life both as an observer and participant. It is definitely John Evans takes the reader along as he travels his very personal path toward knowledge, enlightenment, and an understanding of Christianity. His path is not likely one that many persons have shared, because few of us take the time or devote the effort to explore the recesses of our spirituality. This book is much like a travelogue of one mans's life, with an invitation that that the reader join the author in experiencing aspects of that life both as an observer and participant. It is definitely a journey worth taking. Christianity as we know it today is most often defined by "the Church." Such designation does not refer to the collective of individual believers. Instead, it refers to some authoritative body of religious leaders, to whose judgment and opinions the self-defined "faithful" tend to defer. That view of Christianity is significantly removed from the individualized spiritual religion of the early church. Jesus' own teachings called upon those early adherents to question existing religious authority and to acknowledge that there is no singular path to rightness or righteousness (e.g. the "Golden Rule" and the "Sabbath Ass"). In this light, religion is a series of guideposts rather than fixed formula or definitive recipe for salvation. In living our respective lives, challenges arise as each individual must successfully blaze a path through sometimes inhospitable environs situate between those widely spaced guideposts. While the perfect path, may be straight and narrow, each life is fraught with numerous detours and diversions. The question is never whether one will wander from the preferred path, but whether he finds the next guidepost without suffering dangerous pitfalls or becoming irrevocably lost. John Evans dares to highlight the turns and to point out the pitfalls that he encountered in his quest to find spiritual peace, and he describes how he came to embrace a Christianity, which may seem foreign to the less traveled.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Louise Coggins

    I thoroughly enjoyed John Evans' book, A Second Look at Jesus, and as a psychotherapist and clinical social worker for forty years, I found his story to be a deep, honest, and intimate accounting of a spiritual journey across several continents and many decades. I identified with this fellow traveler on the road of faith and seeing God in all people and places. I found the suggested readings and reference materials to be an excellent, broad resource for seekers. I think it is a powerful Christia I thoroughly enjoyed John Evans' book, A Second Look at Jesus, and as a psychotherapist and clinical social worker for forty years, I found his story to be a deep, honest, and intimate accounting of a spiritual journey across several continents and many decades. I identified with this fellow traveler on the road of faith and seeing God in all people and places. I found the suggested readings and reference materials to be an excellent, broad resource for seekers. I think it is a powerful Christian witness that John came back to his faith in Jesus after taking a "second look" at His teachings, especially after studying and practicing many other faith traditions. I believe it is important to embrace Mysticism in Christianity, and not to leave this just to Eastern religions! This would be a helpful Apologetics book for someone struggling with faith issues, as it is easy to follow John Evans' journey through years of questioning and searching for truth to his present day involvement in the Episcopal Renewal Movement.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matagiri

    I haven't actually finished this book yet, but I wanted to encourage you to read it. I've been trying to follow an interfaith path, which pretty much has led me to Eastern mystics. So I'm excited to find a contemporary author making a sincere exploration of Christian mysticism. Scholarly, articulate, but most of all it's deeply felt. I haven't actually finished this book yet, but I wanted to encourage you to read it. I've been trying to follow an interfaith path, which pretty much has led me to Eastern mystics. So I'm excited to find a contemporary author making a sincere exploration of Christian mysticism. Scholarly, articulate, but most of all it's deeply felt.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Loewen

    John writes with fluidity and intelligence without condescension. I appreciated his interesting and new insights into Maharishi, and his segue into his rebirth into Christianity. The book is a fascinating read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Macgill

    a very thought provoking book about one persons spiritual journey through several faith traditions. If you are sincere in your own discernment of your faith,it is a book that is a must read. The Rev. Dan Macgill

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michal Mahgerefteh

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emma Baird

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Doll

  12. 5 out of 5

    Drew Gallacher

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andy Atkinson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gaylord

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Senick

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Robertson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob N.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Evand

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

  21. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Fantom

  23. 4 out of 5

    Miles

  24. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Cole Marie Mckinnon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alesha

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna Tea

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melitta Cross

  31. 5 out of 5

    Toni Mcintire

  32. 4 out of 5

    Ian Wooder

  33. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

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