What Have Reviewers Said About Tantric Jesus: The Erotic Heart of Early Christianity?
I welcome this book with open arms, and I am pleased to be invited to pen a foreword for it. As an elder, now living my seventy-fifth year on this planet, one looks to the upcoming generations for hope and for leadership that will make a difference in our world where strife and self-centeredness, the reptilian brain and mindlessness, so often dominate. One looks for signs that rigid religion need not perpetuate itself and space is made for justice and compassion to assert themselves in all our relations whether that be with one another or with Earth and her marvelous creatures.
This book offers such a vision in both a theological and a practical way for it presents many insightful breakthroughs in the Western grasp of the person of Jesus while it brings the wisdom of the East and West together, enlivens body and spirit, and moves us beyond a world of dualisms and antimatter philosophies to a consciousness that opts for a sacred marriage of the divine feminine and sacred masculine. It also offers concrete practices to get there from here. It warms this creation spirituality theologian’s heart to know that a new generation is coming along not just to carry on the tradition but to offer genuinely fresh rapprochements in all these important areas…
And so I do not just welcome this book, I also rejoice at its existence and the history it represents.
~~ from the Foreword by radical theologian Matthew Fox,
author of Original Blessing, Coming of the Cosmic Christ, and more
Episcopalian priest Reho peels back the Platonic influence on Christianity to uncover a radical rearticulation of spiritual practice in this engrossing guide. Using a comparative lens to bring together tantric Hinduism with writings by church fathers, he shows how the body-shaming, change-fearing goals of contemporary Christianity run counter to its original message. Reho gently challenges the popular notion of tantra as exotic sexual mastery while showing how eroticism can be holy. He lays out five key roots for a tantric Christian theology: the world is inherently good, activity (not repose) is divine, the body is a holy vehicle for transformation, erotic energy and unexpected behavior are required of the faithful, and Christ meets the definition of a guru. He then offers clear, simple guides to spiritual practices (breath exercises, prayer mantras, using icons, washing feet, and sexual connection) that can open believers up to powerful change. The weaving together of tantric thinkers and Christian theologians is nearly seamless and effectively argues for their compatibility. Some readers might not be ready to fully commit to the complete revision of Christianity, or may balk at the rich theological sections, but the work beautifully serves any Christ follower seeking concrete, simple suggestions for body-based spiritual practice. (Jan.)
~~ Publishers Weekly
“I welcome Tantric Jesus for its potential deep implications for the future of Christianity in dialog with eastern spirituality, in particular the obscure but valuable gnosis of Tantra that is often lost in superficial associations with sexuality. James Reho helps point us in the right direction, one in which our consciousness can be raised higher, richer, and fuller as a result of a conscious and knowledgeable dialogue between the Mystery of Christ and the living tradition of Tantra through the erotic spiritual process of holy longing.”
Author of Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway Between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality
In Tantric Jesus, The Erotic Heart of Early Christianity, James Reho takes to heart the exhortations of the great contemplative masters and mystics of the Twentieth Century, Thomas Merton, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Dom Bede Griffiths, Pascaline Coff, and Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri LeSaux). In this wonderful and inspiring new book, Reho has brought together the deep wisdom of the Hindu and Buddhist tantric traditions with the Hesychastic and Celtic traditions of ancient Christianity which are still relevant and important to Christians today. Sharing with us his deep knowledge of these diverse religious traditions and his personal experience with all of them through years of discipline practice and rigorous study, James Reho embodies for his readers, both in the text and in his own spiritual life, the Interspiritual vision, practice and world that is the future of religion and spirituality as we move more deeply into the twenty-first century and beyond. For anyone who is longing to be transformed by the Divine Energies present in all of creation and the cosmos, Tantric Jesus is required reading, a sound and reliable guide for all who are traveling along the perilous but grace filled path to the Heart of the Divine.
`~~The Rev. Peter Savastano, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of the Anthropology of Religion, Consciousness, Sexuality, Gender & Race
Seton Hall University.
“…Christian mystical theology is tantric in nature, as it is founded upon an understanding of the erotic nature of our spiritual loving and striving.”, from Dr. Reho’s book Tantric Jesus. This is a book for our times. Deeply feminist in nature it frees feminine energy from the dual roles of evil temptress and virginal mistress of a repressed society. In freeing feminine energy it offers the hope of freeing western men and women from the limitations of a sterile understanding of Christ and Christianity. This freedom is essential at this time in history if we are going to heal the divisions in humanity and heal our planet from the ravages of dualistic exploitation. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring their personal experience of Christ.
Mary Ann Whalen
Author and psychotherapist
“A brilliantly written and tremendously inspiring treatise on Tantra. A complete revelation!”
~~ Diana Richardson,
author of The Heart of Tantric Sex, Tantric Orgasm for Women, and Tantric Sex for Men
The ways in which different religious beliefs and practices can illuminate each other is a chief blessing of the this inter-religious moment in history. Religions are not all the same. Each is a distinctive blossoming of deep spiritual insight, but many elements echo each other. James Reho brings out hitherto unrealized parallels between the Tantric mode of the East and Christian practice in the West. East and West, the heavenly and the earthly come together in this fascinating book. As a Christian, I am richer for having read it.
~~ The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, D.D.,
Episcopal priest, Founder of Interweave, Inc
With scholarship as thorough as its topic is controversial, Tantric Jesus infuses the traditions of Christianity with the embodied practices of Hindu tantra, placing the energies of the body front and centre as the forgotten arena of spiritual transformation. Do the practices in this book, and your understanding of the historical Jesus and the path of Christianity will never be the same.
Author of The Spiritual Practices of Rumi and Eyes Wide Open
As an Episcopal priest and a yogi, James Reho is a bridge between cultures and spiritual traditions, between Yoga and Christianity. Tantric Jesus, his insightful and skillful first book, likewise bridges mind and spirit, theory and practice, erudition and accessibility, passion and rationality, the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine. The book is revolutionary without losing heart. When Reho pushes boundaries, he does so with generosity and compassion, drawing on the richness of ancient spiritual traditions as well as personal experience. I am privileged to know James, and he walks his talk with humility, authenticity and heart. I can’t think of a higher compliment.
~~ Christian de la Huerta,
Blogger, Soulful Power
The holiness of wholeness. This is what James Reho calls us into, the marriage of East and West, the conjoining of Heaven and Earth, the pregnancy of Spirit and Matter. ‘Tantric Jesus’ is a courageous call into the frightening and freeing world of oneness.
~~ John Philip Newell,
Author of The Rebirthing of God
Yoga is humanity’s primordial experience of the union with our own reality. The absolute condition of reality is felt to be arising as the pure intelligence and utter beauty of everything arising in the natural world. That is why such utterance came from Christ “I and the Father are One.” Yoga is the root of human experience from which religion arose. Religion, “re-lig” means to “re link.” Later that became codified in various doctrines from different geographies and cultures throughout time in one vast wisdom collective, the Great Tradition. We can say Christ was a Jewish yoga master who restored the great yoga instruction, “to love thy neighbor as thy self.” To love the self in order to love your neighbor is clearly the understanding of tantra. James Reho is truly on to something here. Please read this book. You will understand the great Christ yogi in a new and powerful way. You will make real use of the peace and power Jesus brought to human life.
- ~~ Mark Whitwell,
Author of Yoga of Heart and The Promise