Review: ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path

ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path
ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path by Joyce Higginbotham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I figure, you know authors are good when they write a book on a topic that you don’t care about and you read the book anyway because they wrote it and you trust they’ll find a way to make the topic interesting somehow. I’m happy to say that my hopes were well-founded and that the book was much more thought-provoking than I expected.

The book’s title is a bit misleading. Most of the book isn’t about a single path called “ChristoPaganism,” but talks about Paganism and Christianity as two separate religions. The authors focus more on Christianity than Paganism for the first two-thirds of the book, probably because their audience is primarily Pagan and because they already discussed many of the Pagan aspects in their earlier books. ChristoPaganism is divided into three parts. The first part covers the basic beliefs of Paganism and Christianity along with a historical overview of both religions. For Christianity, the authors summarize the findings both of scholars who believe Jesus really existed as a historical person and those who don’t. In the second part, the authors examine how practitioners of Paganism and Christianity experience their religions. Here they tie ChristoPaganism to their previous book, Pagan Spirituality: A Guide to Personal Transformation. In both of these books, the authors use a model called Spiral Dynamics as well as the works of Ken Wilbur and other scholars to examine how people learn to look at faith and religion from broader perspectives.

The third part of the book best fits the book’s title. The Higginbothams interview fifteen people who practice both Paganism and Christianity, sometimes blending them, sometimes keeping them separate. Unfortunately, this part fell flat for me. Despite the authors’ best efforts to describe the participants, they all ran together, like badly-delineated characters in a novel. I found myself wishing they had just transcribed the interviews in script-format rather than write them out as prose, because their efforts to find new ways to say “Michael says” became distracting (“Michael comments,” “Michael observes,” “Michael notes,” “Michael states,” “Michael answers,” etc.). I was planning to give the book five stars, but this section is almost half the book and not up to that standard. Overall, though, I happily recommend the book for people interested in interspirituality, blending religions, or just seeing Christianity from a different perspective.