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ALREADYSHIFTING

SHIFT HAPPENS. YOU'RE NOT CRAZY AND YOU'RE NOT ALONE.

ACTUALLY, BE ENCOURAGED - QUESTIONS ARE PART OF WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE FAITH.

Shifts (or deconstruction) can feel incredibly unfaithful. There's a real sense of stepping into a place we "know" is out of bounds - fearful that we too might be 'side-lined' or worse, the 'outsider'. Shifting can feel 'disloyal' to the tribe. Questions and doubts do not render you unfaithful - the opposite of faith is not doubt – it's certainty. 

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Doubt is sacred. Doubt is God’s instrument, will arrive in God’s time, and will come from unexpected places— places out of your control. And when it does, resist the fight-or-flight impulse. Pass through it—patiently, honestly, and courageously for however long it takes. True transformation takes time.

– Peter Enns, Sin of Certainty. Pg 164

Choose one; read, digest, pray, repeat.

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The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs

– Peter Enns

TOP PICK

Highly recommended.

Love this guy!

Enns is one of my favourite authors and podcasters (The Bible for Normal People). When faith has no room for the benefit of doubt, we are just left with religion, something that takes its place in our lives along with other things—like a job and a hobby. Doubt is God's way of helping us not go there; though the road may be challenging and long, it is also transformational and freeing. Enns is compelling, considered, charmingly self-deprecating, and humorous. You'll have many 'aha' and 'oh blimey' moments that will make room for Holy invited Shifts. I double dare you...

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How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers―and Why That's Great News

– Peter Enns

TOP PICK

Highly recommended.

The title says it all! Unfortunately, the Bible became a how-to manual filled with 'literal' truths and 'instructions' about belief and behaviour that must be strictly followed for too many of us. But the Bible isn't static, and it certainly was never meant to be stagnant. It doesn't hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our lived realities - it's not that kind of book. Instead, the Bible is dynamic and moving - offering an abundance of surprising insights - provoking and inviting us to find our own answers to spiritual questions - cultivating God's wisdom within us. But first, we probably need to Shift how we read and find meaning within it. 

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Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again

– Rachel Held Evans

TOP PICK

Highly recommended.

Rachel approaches Scripture that is engaging and inspiring - she is not afraid to wrestle with the messiness found in lived realities and within Scripture. Drawing on the best in recent scholarship, Rachel Held Evans uses memoirs, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay to retell and examine some of the ways we have been taught to interpret Scripture and Bible stories. She presents the Bible, not as a static or stagnant mahi but helps us rediscover God's living, moving, captivating and transforming love as our faith grows and Shifts.

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Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe Is Coming Apart

- Kathy Escobar

Highly Recommended

Highly Rated

Not sure where to turn? Want some honesty? Can you handle the honesty? (sorry - channelling 'A Few Good Men' there). Faith Shift is filled with honest stories and practical insights that gives language to what many experience as their faith grows and evolves. Escobar offers an inviting blend of vulnerability and hope. Addressing the losses that come with spiritual shifts, she tangible practices for rebuilding a free and authentic faith as it shifts or even after it unravels. Faith Shift includes personal reflection and group discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

This offers hope for spiritual refugees, church burnouts, and freedom seekers. It's been described as bittersweet, liberating, courageous, realistic, authentic... but don't take other people's word for it - check it out for yourself.

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Wholehearted Faith

– Rachel Held Evans

Highly Recommended

Highly Rated

Rachel's book is for the doubter and the Shifter longing for a sense of spiritual wholeness and who can't seem to let go of the story of Jesus. 'Held Evans is widely recognised for her theologically astute, profoundly honest, and beautifully personal books, which have guided, instructed, edified, and shaped Christians as they seek to live out a just and loving faith.
Through theological reflection and personal recollection, Rachel wrestles with God's grace and love, looks unsparingly at what the Church is and does, and explores universal human questions about becoming and belonging. An unforgettable, moving, and intimate book.

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Questions Are The Answer: nakedpastor and the search for understanding

– David Hayward

Highly Recommended

Insightful and Visual

‘a graffiti artist on the

walls of religion’

Need something other than just words on a page? Need something visual to accompany your Shift? Hayward is just the ticket to 'helping people undress religion to the core essential of their own unique spirituality'. His immediately-recognisable images are shared by thousands across social media every day.

Hayward's cartoons and accompanying text tell his own story from being a 'Closed' Christian, with a black and white, fundamentalist view of the world, to the freedom of becoming an 'Open' Christian - with the courage to ask questions and wrestle with some of the more formidable challenges of faith. His Shift also challenged his relationship so check out Til Doubt Do Us Part, The Lasting Supper: Letters for Deconstruction, and for poetry and art - The Liberation of Sophia. Also, check out nakedpastor.com 

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Twenty One Elephants:

Leaving Religion For The Reckless Way Of Jesus.

Scottie Reeve

Home Grown

Insightful

Easy Read

Reeve is a deep thinker and a practical activist.
Reeve challenges unhealthy belief systems as an advocator of Hope - breaking the barriers we attempt to lock God into. It's a book of undoing and Shifting the elephants we are too afraid to face. Twenty-One Elephants is about what we all know to be true but are too scared to admit. It's about a whole-of-life spirituality that messes with our relationships, reputation, families, money and living situations. It's about the darkness of our world and the darkness within. It's about the joy and the grief of embracing the reckless way of Jesus.

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Before You Lose Your Mind: Deconstructing Bad Theology in the Church

– Keith Giles

TOP PICK

Highly recommended.

“With all of this focus on “Deconstruction”, there is apparently very little

attention paid to the need for “Reconstruction”.”

There are many reasons we find ourselves shifting. It doesn't matter whether you question hell, penal substitution, or the end times. Perhaps you're troubled by how politics has invaded the pulpit; or you're uncomfortable with the way Christians treat people in the LGBTQ+ community; or you're just not convinced that the Bible is really inerrant, infallible, or inspired. This book is beneficial and thoughtfully researched, with many credible voices throughout its pages. It's worth your investment of time, head, and heart - and let's face it - soul.

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The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are

– Jenell Williams Paris

 

TOP PICK

Highly Recommended

Insightful - Easy read

Ok - don't get squeamish about the title - this is a book worth reading. Anthropologist Jenell Williams Paris offers a Christian framework for sexual holiness that accounts for complex postmodern realities. She assesses problems with popular cultural and Christian understandings of heterosexuality and homosexuality. The End  of Sexual Identity moves beyond culture-war impasses to open up new space for conversations in diverse communities inside and outside the church.' 
There is so much we are yet to learn - and Christian anthropology has so much to offer our Shift. Practical and informative, there will be many "aha' moments.

Shifts are honest signs of a

deeply desired faith;

the blessed conduits; the channels;

the Holy encounters;

the way through the waters to

the other side – transformation.

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Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It

- Brian D. McLaren

Highly Recommended

Highly Rated

I've loved all of McLaren's work. Accessible, thought-provoking, and readable. His story, and the stories of diverse others struggling with faith and shifts, speak and show how old (or not so old) assumptions are being challenged in nearly every area of human life - science, theology, spirituality and much more. McLaren offers a four-stage model of faith development ―Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony― in which questions and doubt are not the enemies of faith. Instead, they become conduits and invitations to a more mature, honest, and fruitful kind of faith. Offering a helpful, sincere, and thoughtful path forward, McLaren invites people to leave behind unnecessary baggage and rediscover their commitment to what matters most.
Check out his podcast 'Learning How to See', and his interview with Peter Enns 
Episode 174: Brian McLaren – The Four Stages of Faith

Shifting awakens us to see the cracks

already present in our seemingly ‘solid’ foundation. In truth, shifting and discovery

are healthy signs of growth - releasing our

need to 'control' our image and

understanding of God.

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Accidental Saints:

Finding God in All the Wrong People

- Nadia Bolz-Weber

Highly Recommended

Highly Rated

I adore this woman!

Sassy theologian, pastor and speaker Bolz-Weber is a truth-teller that offers few apologies. She brings Scripture to life in simple and profound ways that invite Holy and transformative encounters - new ways of experiencing God. Did I mention I'm a huge fan? What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? —a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA - and what if that's the point?' Accidental Saints dem­onstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with Scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believers and sceptics alike. She cuts through assumptions and the regurgitation of old rhetoric.
Also, check out: The Confessionals podcast and www.nadiabolzweber.com to find 'The Corners' and other cool stuff to add to your Shifting.

Also, check out her interview with Peter Enns 

Episode 157: Nadia Bolz-Weber – Being a Christian in the Messiness

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The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why

– Phyllis Tickle

Highly Recommended

Highly Rated

“… every five hundred years or so, the church has an epic, theological, doctrinal, ecclesial, and spiritual rummage sale.” 

And Phyllis Tickle claims the next 'rummage sale' is happening now. Shifts are indeed afoot. As a renowned religion expert, editor, and speaker, Tickle reflects on our pivotal time in Church history and describes an exciting path for the future. This is an insightful read as you gallop through profound history - the Greats (and not so Greats), the Schisms, Reformations, Transformations... and other spiritual and social upheavals. Anyone interested in the Church's future, no matter what their personal affiliation, will find this book a fascinating exploration.

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The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

– Peter Enns

Highly Recommended

Easy Read

Yes - another Enns book

'The Bible Tells Me So' chronicles Enns's spiritual odyssey, how he came to see beyond restrictive doctrine and learned to embrace God's Word as it is actually written. Yes, you will be challenged - but in the very best way. As he explores questions' Shifting' people of faith and readers of Scripture commonly face yet fear voicing, Enns reveals that they are the very questions God wants us to consider—the essence of our spiritual understanding - Holy wisdom - lived realities.
You may find yourself sitting back like you've just had come sense slapped into you - and you might even find yourself saying thank you so very much! 

We'd love to hear from you if you have a resource you'd like to recommend - reach out.

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Once we recognise we are beginning to Shift, freaking out, and the temptation to back-track into our safety zone can be enticing - we find ourselves on that 'slippery slope' we've been warned against. But a Shift, a slope, isn't a decent away from God and others - it's the upward slope, a Holy invitation into justice and mercy - and an inward slope into seeing ourselves (and others) as God see's us with authentic humility.

B.T.Harman talks about Taboo and climbing shaky ladders; from a 'women's uterus falling out if they run marathons' to 'you should never blow your nose at the dinner table' and the 'Taboo' of 'LGBTIQ+ and faith'.
Also, check out his story here  with what he calls the "... The Netflix of blogs."

Maybe you are the listening type - thank God for brilliant Podcasts! Check out some of the following...

In this episode of

The Bible for Normal People,

Cheryl B. Anderson joins Pete and Jared to discuss ethics, law, and how we read the Bible.

"I was just so fascinated by how we

tended to pick and choose which of

the laws we would follow, and also,

how we tended to not see that

these laws specifically exclude

certain perspectives."

@CherylBAnderson

As what we have known 
as shifts 
beneath our feet
may we come to trust
that doubt 
is not our enemy
and uncertainty 
is not our undoing

Spirit, present
like the wind
no one knows 
from where it comes
or where it goes

For those of us 
who feel
restrained
stuck
in the concrete of a faith 
contained


Who have come 
to believe 
that we need to hold ourselves in
for fear of what "they" have told us

May we experience 
the liberating mahi of the Spirit
and may our joy 
be a movement

of revolution
against all stories 
that reduce us
down to objects
and against ideologies
that limit
our imagination

Spirit 
and source of life
will you open up the seas
and skies
to past
and present
memories and future
And lead us out 
to wide-open spaces.

Michael Frost

A Blessing for you 
Put your feet on the ground,
breathe deeply -in -out -repeat...

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