Beyond the Gates of Time: The Emerald Scepter of Prester John by Robert F. Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
To quote the back cover "This book is a re-imagining of the New Age of the Holy Spirit, making use of the Medieval legend of Prester John. As such, the book is also about us and about the kind of world we want to live in."
As with all of Robert's books, it is a work of depth with numerous references, citations, and quotations which evoke in the reader many thought-trails to pursue. Due to space I can only provide two of many passages especially meaningful to me.
(1) "One needs to understand that religions – each and all of them – are created in time. They each have their gift to bring. Spirituality, on the other hand, is primordial. It is global and it has always existed. Discern that and connect with that. The Christian faith is best understood as an expression of the primordial spirituality." page 41 and
(2) "As I write these words, on a mid-August day in the American Mid-South bio-region, I can hear the cicadas in the trees, praising God in their own language. The constant roar of the cicadas can be regarded as the continuous rattle of a cosmic shaman taking us on a collective journey." page 80
Other passages that made me think which are not in the review but for which I have space here:
(3) "In thinking about what is called Christianity, we don’t want to essentialize Christianity (by providing a definition), but rather to imagine its further evolution – what it will become in the future. This is, however, a conventional way of speaking, whereas the reality we are striving to discern is the timeless, changeless, life-giving radiance of the Holy One beyond all knowing." Page 15
(4) "Here is a vignette, a tiny story, that seems to me to encapsulate all the wonder and mystery of the Kingdom. This morning, from our kitchen window, I saw a tiny fluttering moth caught in a spider’s web. I walked outside and, with my finger, released the moth and it flew away. Of course the spider needs to eat. Of course the moth loves its life and wants to fly away. Of course, a human being desired to release the moth. There is wonder and mystery enough in this tiny story that leaves me speechless when I think of it. Behold a great mystery! So it is!" Page 23-24
(5) Our individual well-being is bound up with the well-being of all other beings. With this understanding, a simplified notion of practice can be characterized as awareness and attention in the moment to what is, because that’s where God is, where peace is. Page 61
(6) The “good” (or “true”) emperors, such as Michael II and Prester John, rule by their inherent (moral) power – not by the exercise of force. The distinction drawn here between “power” and “force” is that the exercise of force creates reaction, whereas moral power elicits cooperation because of its evident goodness or rightness. Page 78-79