New Directions Towards Christian Renewal
Kenneth Bragan believes Christianity is approaching a time of change, one that is under pressure from changing world views. The religion is changing from a largely belief-based faith to one that is more experience-based.
“I present Thomas Merton as an exemplar of the latter and Laurence Freeman as an advocate of meditative Christianity, which increases in importance as it receives support from developments in neuroscience. These new directions may well bring much needed renewal,” he states.
The retired psychiatrist wrote New Directions Towards Christian Renewal because he feels that Christianity is no longer doing what it has the potential to do.
“This latter mode, that of natural spirituality (standing in contradistinction to supernatural spirituality), is the very future of a Christianity that engages with exegesis and matters of faith without the myopia of literalism, instead allowing for the allegorical and poetic dimensions of scripture to rush forward unfettered by the limitations of historical inexactitudes taken as dogma. Kenneth Bragan brilliantly and persuasively sets forth this new paradigm with rigorous scholarship, biblical analysis, and the passion of the faithful. New Directions Towards Christian Renewal is a remarkable and inspiring work, a piece that is both radically insightful and undoubtedly trailblazing.” – Charles Asher, reviewer
The Making of a Saint
The Making of a Saint: A Psychological Study of the Life of Thomas Merton is the true story of the American priest and Catholic writer who lived from 1915 to 1968. Thomas Merton wrote more than 70 books on spirituality, pacifism, and social justice. His words have influenced a generation of men to enter monasteries.
Author Kenneth Bragan asks how a man who had an emotionally deprived and traumatic childhood could find the strength to enter a monastery and become such a spiritual master.
This uplifting and powerful book provides a psychoanalytic explanation for the strength Merton found to rise up out of his difficult adolescence. But the author believes that more than psychology is required to understand Merton’s spiritual growth. Merton’s journals not only display the healing power of Christ, but the healing power of writing. Read what went into The Making of a Saint.
Something has been lacking in our recent understanding of what it is to be fully human, so this book seeks to fill that void. The emergence of subjectivity in psychoanalysis and a psychological reading of Martin Buber’s book on existence, I and Thou, are used to indicate possible future directions for mankind.
The book addresses the important issue of psychology’s failure to embrace subjectivity to any great extent. The book also takes up the challenge of formalizing a subjective science based on living data and sure intuition, as suggested by D.H Lawrence. If you have questions, Subjectivity has answers. View the Press Release
Is There Still a Place for God?
To make his point, he uses a psychological interpretation of the Old Testament story as told by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack Miles in his book God: A Biography. This book describes how Judaism fostered the inner strength of the chosen people. A quantum view of the universe and an understanding of the power of projection are then used to make the case that there is still a place for God.
A psychological understanding of the respective roles of belief and faith in religious practice is offered as a help to answering for ourselves the question: Is There Still a Place for God? View the Press Release
The Rising Importance of Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Legacy
The current renewed interest in mystical experience, which stems in part from the neuroscience claim that there is a spiritual doorway in the brain, provides the grounds for placing the spiritual legacy of Thomas Merton in the context of natural spirituality, where it fits comfortably.
His journals demonstrate clearly the important part that mystical experience (what he called God-experience) played in the amazing spiritual growth and personal transformation he underwent during his time as a Trappist monk.
It is suggested here that as the door to the supernatural world closes, the door to natural spirituality is opening, and Thomas Merton’s legacy could provide great support for such change. If so, his importance as a mystic, teacher, and prophet could go on rising.
Natural Spirituality, Thomas Merton, and Christian Renewal
In this new book, he uses neuroscience to place Merton’s spirituality in the context of natural spirituality and uses this as a way of opening a door to Christian renewal. He writes, “Neuroscience may be offering a new and revitalizing understanding of the basis of Christian faith, particularly belief in the healing power of the risen Christ.
He starts the book by examining the division currently occurring between “belief-based” faith and faith that is predominantly “experience-based,” as exemplified by two recently published books. He then gives portraits of two of the great Christians of the last century – Bonhoeffer and Merton – who demonstrate how different ways of experiencing God can be equally effective.
Finally, he attempts to define a New Direction.
Per Charles Asher’s 5-Star Amazon Review of Bragan’s previous book: “The Rising Importance of Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Legacy is a powerful and compelling meditation on 21st-century spirituality and mysticism … Mr. Bragan’s study excels in its comprehensiveness and insight … For those looking for either a primer on modern spirituality, or a guide for their own journey, this is certainly the book for you.”
About the Author
Born in a small coal mining town near Newcastle, England, Kenneth Bragan now resides in New Zealand, “one of earth’s most beautiful places.”