The Bishop and the Seeker: Wrestling for the Soul of the 21st Century

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Wicked and Evil Isn't that Bad: A Fundamentalist and a New Ager  Wrestle for the sour of the 21st Century, by Teri Murphy  and bishop Philip Thomas

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What focus group members
are saying about the draft

...a love story of ideas and of God.
John S, philosophy teacher

A compelling and timely metaphor for any two groups seeking to understand each other.
Zack Kinchello, High School English Chair, Chico, CA

This changes the way I think about people in other religions. I will be reaching out to them in a whole new way. Sometimes we Christians think we have all the answers, but we would be better off listening more.
Rev. David Lottahall
, Pastor, New Birth Church, Manassas, VA


I strongly disagree with the bishop's doctrine. But his compelling defense of it forced me to have more respect for those who believe as he does. It almost made me jealous of his certainty.
BP, liberal Episcopal priest



I am truly loving the time I get to spend with your book. It is just so different from what I read (novels, biographies, NY Times). Your account of your abortion just devastated me -- honest and penetrating -- like nothing I have read on the subject.
Your adventures with the ladies of Highview and their fundamental views are both fun and peculiar--just when I am ready to hear you mock their backward attitudes, you make me see them in new, sympathetic ways, forcing me to examine my own prejudices.

I loved how you defined clearly what bothers me about Christianity (something I hadn't articulated very well to myself or fellow secularists). However, at the same time, you made me aware of my prejudices. You forced me to examine those same complaints I have, and you made me question how important they were. For example, over the past five years I have watched a young colleague undergo two amazing transformations: he has grown from a clumsy, inexperienced teacher into an inspirational guide of both students and fellow teachers AND he was "saved." Your book has helped me to accept both sides of him.

Z.K., Secularist, English Department Chair


This renewed my zeal for the Lord, which had been flagging. I loved the transparency, like I was eavesdropping on your very private thoughts. This book will touch many lives.

Caroline June, orthodox Christian, Admin assistant

Both these people show extraordinary courage in confronting each other. And the writing is a wacky and wonderful ride. I watched my favorite movie, "Oh Brother Where Art Thou," while reading this book. And I began to see parallels between a bunch of prison escapees who are themselves a mixed bag of country bumpkins, born agains, and thinkers, wandering around a terrain populated by sexy maidens in streams, baptismal ceremonies, cross burnings, country politicians in full tilt, and haunting music, versus what these two are trying to do with Fundamentalism, Religious Science, Ken Wilber, reformed prisoners, Children of Abraham, Muslims, and a skit where Teri's husband drops his pants in church. And furthermore, I think I might have gotten "saved" the next day. I had been working with a mentally ill patient, and it was transforming for both of us. I drove home along the
Parkway, looking at the lights of DC across the river, and I experienced it the way my client had described experiences, except that for me it was ecstatic, and for her those things are fearful. And suddenly I experienced the idea of Jesus in a whole new way. I am not sure what it means, but I am looking forward to more chapters as I try to sort this out.
Ed Preston, Interfaith hospital chaplin

WOW!! Your book is fantastic!!!! I couldn't put it down - and when Mike saw me reading it, he asked "what are you reading" - picked up the first page (I hope
you don't mind!!), sat down next to me, and the two of us sat on the couch and read while the sunset! You can really write!! We love, and I want to stress *LOVE,* the way you intermix such deep ideas with juicy personal stories to keep things lively. We both enjoyed it so much - and look forward to the next chapter!!

Nancy L., agnostic Healthcare CEO and her husband, an atheist World Bank economist


This is really am amazing work. It is such an eye-opening view of New Age thought and may well be the only book some Christians have (or will) read about the subject. I am not sure many Christians will come away with a greater acceptance of New Age thought as something they can embrace, but they will come away with a clearer vision of how the two belief systems both support and challenge one another. This, in itself, is a great accomplishment and has potential to help smooth some of the rough spots between Christians and New Agers.
Laurie Higgs, therapist and Couples Ministry Director for McLean Bible meagchurch outside DC


I was inspired by the grace and patience Bishop Thomas shows in trying to reach Teri. And I guess I was also impressed by her openness in letting him try. I am sharing the chapters with my Bible Studies group, I hope you don't mind.
Sue Bartlett, Bible studies teacher, Annapolis MD



What happens when a left-leaning, New-Age-friendly critic of Christian faith engages in dialogue with a conservative, Biblical-literalist, African-American Evangelical preacher? A shouting match? Insults and damnation? No - something more powerful and hopeful: honest conversation, mutual and respectful listening, and fresh insights for both parties. If you honestly think that people don't think honestly anymore, but just react out of tired old scripts, this book will make you think again. A hopeful sign on many levels, and a beautiful, well-told, and fun story too - this book will do you good, whether you identify more with Teri or the Bishop.
Brian McLaren
, author/activist


I love this Bishop. He really knows the Bible. But why are you asking all these niggling questions? "Fear of the Lord" is just an expression. Everybody knows that. Nobody is actually afraid of Him. I don't understand the purpose of this book. Could you just send me some tapes of the Bishop, please.

Elodie Ling, Anglican, retired Birtish school teacher living in the Bahamas







By Teri Murphy and Bishop Phillip O. Thomas