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A Place at the Table

Editorial Reviews

Another rediscovering Jesus book? Just when we thought there was nothing left to rediscover, spiritual pilgrim and psychotherapist Elliott (Tying Rocks to Clouds) offers this original, challenging and affecting investigation of the real Jesus. Seeking the answer to one simple question (what does Jesus mean in people’ s lives?), Elliott travels the country in a motor home, interviewing believers. His finished product is an engaging blend of reportage and memoir. Readers will meet a diverse cast, including evangelist Josh McDowell, New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson and theologian J.I. Packer. With representatives from every corner of Christendom, this book is capacious. Evangelicals tell Elliott that Jesus was without sin, died on the cross and had a bodily resurrection, while liberals such as Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong insist that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and interpret the resurrection and virgin birth metaphorically. Moreover, the interlocutors aren’ t just Christians. Some of the most fascinating discussions of Jesus emerge when Elliott sits at the feet of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (who suggests that the Messiah will not be one individual, but rather that we all will become Messiah ) and New Age guru Deepak Chopra. In between the interviews, we gain insight into Elliott’ s own spiritual life. Readers won’ t find tidy answers about Jesus here. What they will find is a heartfelt love poem to a Jewish carpenter from Palestine who had something profound to teach about love itself. (Sept. 17) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Publishers Weekly

A Roman Catholic psychotherapist and motor home pilgrim who wrote the oral history classic Tying Rocks to Clouds: Meetings and Conversations with Wise and Spiritual People, Elliott here undertakes another personal crusade, this time touring Texas, the Bible Belt, the East Coast megalopolis, and Israel to ask spiritual leaders his life’s biggest question: “What does the life of Jesus Christ mean to you?” The resulting 24 full-length interviews with scholars, evangelists, and mystics are laced with Elliott’s engaging, homespun humor, as he faxes letters to the Pope and spots a janitor ejecting pilgrims from the Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher so that he can sweep the floor. Articulating a wide range of views (Elliott’s interviewees include Jerry Falwell, John Dominic Crossan, and Marianne Williamson), this volume offers a suitable snapshot of “the Judeo-Christian state of the art” at the millennium. The book’s long, leisurely ride has something to offer Christian readers at every level of sophistication. Recommended for larger public library collections.-Joyce Smothers, M.L.S., MD student, Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal