Featured Reviews, VOLUME 8

Doug Pagitt – FLIPPED [Feature Review]

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Ultimately this is a book about living a life of integration in God. It is about living as light and not just sharing light. We are one with God without losing our individuality.  In God we live and move and have our being.
Doug is a story-teller.  He’s not afraid to reveal his own struggles and challenges.  He writes for the non-initiated.  He generally stays away from theological language or even religious language.  This makes the book ideal for someone who has little understanding of traditional Christianity and is struggling with the call to faith.  Doug cuts through the jargon and makes this personal.  It might also be a liberating word to those who find themselves trapped in the straightjacket of a narrow version of Christianity.
If one starts with Doug’s book and finds his panentheistic vision intriguing, then it might be useful to move on to a more in depth discussion of panentheism, which often comes in the form of Process Theology.  In that regard, a good brief primer is Bruce Epperly’s little book Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God (Energion Publications, 2014.  Whether one embraces the full vision that Doug lays out, he offers a vision of life integrated into God. It is a vision that invites transformation, while not turning the process into legalism.
Doug’s discovery isn’t unique. Many have found themselves liberated from narrow and legalistic visions of religion and have experienced a conversion of sorts. The theology that Doug has embraced is not new either, but he does offer a different take on it.  It is also helpful to see something explained through the lens of personal experience, and Doug is good narrating experience.  It is, however, not the final book to read on this subject or theology in general.  While we might not all agree with the content of his flip (embracing a panentheistic view of God and reality), he is correct that change is real, necessary, and has to be engaged. Readers of the book will want to be discerning in their engagement. Doug likes to push and provoke, and such persons are needed in the church.
Bob Cornwall is pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Troy, Michigan, and author of Ultimate Allegiance: The Subversive Nature of the Lord’s Prayer. He blogs at Ponderings on a Faith Journey.


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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Reading for the Common Good
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