reviewed by Jack Murray in Sea of Faith (NZ) Newsletter 23, October 1997
"The Good News that Jesus brought into the world was addressed to minds accustomed to thinking in the pre-scientific terms of 2000 years ago. During the next 100 years it was restated in the words of the New Testament. Two or three centuries later it was "re-packaged" to suit the then current neo-Platonic thinking (e.g. the Nicene Creed) and has remained in that form ever since. That packaging is no longer congenial to twentieth century thinking as is shown by dramatically falling church attendance; but the Good News itself is still not only relevant but most urgently needed. Unwrapping His Message addresses this problem."
In introducing his book the author sets out concerns which are very familiar to S.O.F people. "The Christianity we inherit is proving itself unable to enter the third millenium AD -- as both statistics and observation abundantly show.
"For its contents - a Great Person in Charge, all humanity's sins forgiven by one man's death-sacrifice, our 'going to heaven' when we die, and Jesus as God Junior along with God Senior and something called 'The Holy Spirit' - appear grotesque and unconnected with any realities to people whose minds have entered today's psychological, ecological and 'new science' worldview. " He goes on to express a further concern, raised frequently in S.O.F.circles: " but this new world view..... leaves people leading bleak lives and provides them with no vision of where the universe is going that will guide its creatures' lives and warm their hearts with gratitude and a desire to assist it."
This 105 page book sets out to meet this concern, and on the way draws together in simple and arresting terms some of the most significant findings of contemporary thought in the fields of developmental psychology, quantum physics, and the work of biologists such as Sheldrake and Birch. His conclusions are that the universe as we presently understand it is constantly recreating it self, so that our thought-frames -- the spectacles through which we see it, must constantly be abandoned in favour of new ones. But he sees change in the cosmos, and in this planet as positive -- or in his words 'climbing' -- so that we can be motivated to assist this process rather than merely seeking further opportunities for disastrous exploitation. In a very short compass it provides a helpful overview of the culture we inherit, and which provides us with assumptions and techniques which can trap us, just because they add so much to the comfort and excitement of modern life.