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Exploring "A New Earth"

A probing look at Eckhart Tolle's wildly popular book

If you've seen the weekly pop culture roundups we do on the Preaching Today blog, you know Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth has rested atop the New York Times bestseller list for weeks. Recent counts have it selling over three million copies—one million of which are due to Oprah's picking it for her book club. Over two million people are participating in a ten-week interactive webinar that Oprah hosts with Tolle (pronounced "toll-ee"). This is what many people are reading as they sip their lattes in Starbucks or close their evenings balled up on the couch. Many may very well be churchgoers.

The book's back matter calls Tolle's work "a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life—and for building a better world." But A New Earth tastes like the warmed leftovers of modernism, humanism, and the New Ageism of the '80s, with hints of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity.     

With a spiritual mix like that, preachers have good reason to address the hopes and promises held out ...

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Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

Michael Stern

May 14, 2008  3:58pm

Thanks Brian, we are sharpened as minister's when we see how crafty men can be in their supplanting of God's loving offer of hope through Christ. Your article is sharpening my discernment skills and I hope to pass this on to those the Lord has put under my watch.

Daniel DeVilder

May 05, 2008  2:58pm

LIving in my cocoon, I had only heard of Tolle's work through my wife: she shared her feelings of the slipperiness of Tolle's work. Thanks to Brian for engaging this topic. I am also reflecting on the whole "spirituality" quest while i read Robert Webbers "Divine Embrace." he may have some perspective on this, too. He contrasts the current desire for "experience" with the Christian spirituality that finds its content in God and his Son. Yet he also exposes how rationalism has eviscerated our sense of Biblical spirituality. John Cassian's Conferences (Ramsay's transl) is an ancient comment on some of this, tho perhaps with limitations to its 4th century desert setting--still valuable. Not sure what some of the above reviewers are saying, and how it relates to their ratings. Having only ca.800 characters does truncate our thoughts a bit, perhaps. Like Adm Stockdale: "who am i ...what am i here for?" "who am i, what is my review here for, what am i saying...uhoh 7 characters left!

Brad Bailey

May 05, 2008  12:07pm

As a pastor on lives in est Los Angeles, Tolle's ideas are simply a continuation of many similar thoughts and changing worldview. I have read half of his new book in preparing to teach about engaging the new spirituality. My own sense through conversations and how the latest voices of that spirituality have framed their ideas… is that simply stating it is different or wrong… will not matter to most… as it speaks to many aspects that they don’t perceive to be a part of the Christian ‘religion.’ Pulled enough thought together to give one message… but it relay took hold of my interest to develop more in this area. What I did develop is at: http://www.vcfwestside.org/files/Sermon%20note%20files/HC5%20Engaging%20Todays%20Spirituality%20Note s.pdf Brad Bailey (Lead Pastor – Westside Vineyard)

Benny Powell

May 02, 2008  7:46pm

Excellently written, intellectually challenging and highly experiencial are characteristics the Christian community can alway use more exposure. The God-Man, Jesus, needs no defense! Truth alway wins the final prize. Respectfully,

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