Tom Harpur was a religious writer. A minister, journalist, thinker and theologian who was highly accessible and readable. His work Pagan Christ written 12 years ago when he was 75 years old opened up a debate in some circles around historicity of the mystical Jesus story and the overlay of other mystery religions onto Christian life in the early days. Water into Wine was the follow up, and yes his Born Again (Journey from Fundamentalism to Freedom) were inspiring works in the later part of my spiritual journey as I went deeper into my own Franciscan formation and metaphysics.
On January 2 his joined the Holy Mystery for the next revelations at age 87. Another great voice of critical and progressive thought in spiritual journeys transitioned.
I mentioned to the wife that Born Again was akin to my own spiritual journey, and she quipped back except you started just left of the United Church on the spectrum.
Yet there is something about the progressive journey to remove oneself from the constraints of an institution designed to prop up the establishment of bureaucracy, wealth and real estate instead of actual experience.
But for those who are unfamiliar with his pastoral road, this quote of Harpur’s eulogy article from the Toronto Star January 6, 2017 sums it up:
“I feel a deep compassion and pastoral concern . . . for the untold thousands right now who want to express the new ways in which they are experiencing God today,” he wrote in 2007. “What is needed, I believe, is not more ‘renewal.’ . . . The time has come for a radical rebirth of the Church.”