'Mark Townsend is a priest whose understanding of God made it impossible for him to live inside traditional religious boundaries. In this book he tells us why in a compelling and provocative way and in the process draws his readers into fascinating new images. This volume will make a major contribution to freeing Jesus for the interreligious and the non-religious world that is emerging.'
John Shelby Spong, Author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World
'There are knowledge transmitters--and then there are "knowledge makers" who have the courage, skill, and experience to put things together in new and revelatory ways. Knowledge makers re-configure our minds, our eyes, and our ears to receive bigger and better things. Mark Townsend is doing just that. We were not ready for Jesus, so some will not be ready for his followers either. Please don't be afraid!'
Fr. Richard Rohr,O.F.M. Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM
'For those of us who have discovered our spirituality outside churches, there remains the question of how to see and relate to Jesus, the man at the center of the religion that has dominated western culture and so infiltrated our sensibilities. Mark Townsend takes on the task of exploring this question as a fellow seeker, as a Christian enriched by Paganism, creating bridges and inviting us to co-create meaning from what has always been true and essential in the stories of Jesus and our own deep knowing.'
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation
'Mark’s book Jesus Through Pagan Eyes is full of mystery and mysticism, with revelations that will mesmerize the readers. I love how he peels back the Christian layers to remind us Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. Whether Pagan, Jewish, Christian or other you will be amazed and inspired by this book.'
Uri Geller – www.urigeller.com
'This is a quite remarkable work, which reveals the figure of Jesus from most unusual and fascinating perspectives, [and it is] likely to have value to convinced Christians, pagans and agnostics alike.'
Prof. Ronald Hutton
'It has often been my experience that Christians think Pagans do not accept the Master Jesus either as a Teacher or even as an historical figure. This is patently not true. Pagans for the most part are more than willing to accept his ministry and his teachings. In fact, many of his teachings stem from the ancient world and the words given from The Sermon on the Mount are quotes from earlier times long before him. Here at last we have a collection of essays about Jesus written by Pagans. From Druids to Gnostics, Shamans to Witches and all between; this fascinating book offers a new look at the Nazarene Master, a collection of viewpoints written from the heart and containing deeply held ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. It is a book that holds out the hope that both Pagans and Christians will recognise that they have a common ground, that both have a belief in the potential divinity of humanity and both are needed in a world that is perilously close to losing all semblance of faith in the Numinous.
Well known writers from both sides have come together to offer their views and ideas from Caitlin Matthews to Philip Carr-Gomm, from Maxine Sanders to our own Steven Critchley; this is book to read slowly and gain a different viewpoint of the teacher we call The Christ.'
'Contrary to common opinion among most Christians, modern Pagans have nothing against Jesus, and most of us admire him as one of the great Wizards of all time. We Pagans feel, in fact, that we are far closer in following his teachings and tenets than many of his avowed followers, and if he walked the Earth today (as he may well be doing), he’d feel far more comfortable and at home in a typical Pagan circle than in any of the great cathedrals reared in his name. Indeed, we Pagans feel that Jesus would be just as appalled by the horrific history of institutional Christianity (holy wars, Inquisitions, Witch-burnings, massacres, anti-Semitism, persecutions, misogyny) as we Pagans are. “Christian” means “Christ-like,” so the question for all Christians becomes “What was Christ like?” Perhaps he was a lot more like modern Pagans than he was like many modern “Christians!”
-Oberon Zell, Founder and Primate of the Church of All Worlds; the first church to claim the label of “Pagan” (in 1967)
'If I am asked to describe our mission from a religious point of view I always refer them to the Charter for Compassion,the initiator is Karen Armstrong. The first sentence says it all; 'The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual l traditions calling us to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves'. Jesus Through Pagan Eyes, with it's words about the Green Man and the Green Christ, enlarges our sympathies and extends our imaginations in our care for one another and creation.'
Revd. Donald Reeves
'My systematic theology professor warned me thirty years ago about "those pagans", fearing that I'd never make it to seminary because I'd have to bow down and worship every tree I encountered. His ignorance and fear of nature-based spirituality, I'm sad to say, still rears its nasty head in our day and age. Mark Townsend displays a remarkable breadth of knowledge, compassion, and common sense in the way he introduces contemporary Jesus scholarship to those who walk the pagan path, and the way he introduces Christians to the delightful, humorous, and loving pagan souls who appear in this book. A must read for any Christian who is open to discovering the pagan mysteries that inform so much of the Christian myth.'
'Mark’s book is humble, searching, faith-filled, and yet risky and creative at the same time'
Richard Rohr OFM
'It rang a whole bell-tower's worth of bells for me'
Trevor Dennis, Vice Dean of Chester Cathedral
'This book will be an opening of the heart for many readers'
Canon Peter Spink - Author and Founder of the Omega Order
'Zest, quirkiness and sheer fun'
James Alison, theologian and author
'Gentleness, wisdom and not a little mischief!'
‘I could not put this book down until I had reached the last page’
‘Once I picked this book up, I only put it down to make an occasional cup of tea, so enthralling was it… this book is truly a spiritual gem!’
'Incredibly difficult to put down… reminds us all to live in the moment and trust that inner voice of wisdom’
‘The postscript alone in my eyes is worth the price of the book’
‘A masterfully written story that both entertains and inspires’
‘Full of subtle insights and wisdom’
Julia Heywood, Author of The Barefoot Indian.
‘This book itself is the wizard's gift’
Robert E. Neale, Magical Creator and Author.
‘Wizards provoke students into a journey that leads within. Mark does this beautifully’
Kenton Knepper, Wizard and Author
‘A mesmerizing tale that is almost impossible to put down once you start reading it!’
Enrique Enriquez, Magician, Mind Reader and Author
A RADICAL NEW BOOK OFFERING A FRESH PORTRAIT OF 'JESUS, FRIEND OF REAL PEOPLE!'
BOOK SIGNING at WATERSTONES Hereford - Saturday 27th September 11am-12noon.
Also on the 27th September, at 1pm, Mark will be demonstrating some of his magical effects / answering questions about his work at
'PAPAYA', 18 Union Street, Hereford. All are welcome!
...you are about to be made curious! You are about to be enchanted. You are about to say “Why didn’t I ever think of it that way?” You are about to be invited to “spiritually think”, and I think that is the true and deepest meaning of contemplation. As we call forth more writers and “magicians” like Fr Mark Townsend, we might just discover a whole new meaning to priesthood.
Fr Richard Rohr, OFM
If these stories and others like them were to be told, or even read, in Church, perhaps in place of sermons, we might see a tide of joyful renewal sweep through the old institutions. Full of fresh inspiration these enchanting stories bring the ancient wisdom to life.
Rt Revd Alistair Bate, Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship
As a magician Mark is well used to connecting people with their spiritual self and in this latest book he works his magic again. He introduces us into the company of some of the characters from the gospels and in so doing we are introduced to a part of ourselves, to a part of our story and are offered the chance to think afresh, to get a new perspective, to see another way through the events and experiences of our unique life.
Fr Gerry Proctor
Published AUGUST 08. Please order from your local bookshop or via the usual internet stores (Amazon.co.uk etc.). You can also contact the author direct on 01568 610886 (or via the contact page on this website) for a signed copy.
The Path of the Blue Raven is being prepared for publishing right now!
CONTENT: The Path of The Blue Raven is the story of a struggling man who all his life has wrestled with questions, searched for meaning and discovered it in unexpected places.
Although representing the beginning of a new adventure in one man's life, this book is not just his story for it also offers a beautiful and breath-taking collection of real-life stories of others who walked a similar path and have found great healing and blessing through nature based spirituality.
To many cultures, the raven was and is a symbol of initiation into a new path. In sharing his own journey, the author introduces readers to a world of like-minded people who have stepped off the mainstream path onto the path of personal magic.
As the ex-Catholic monk Thomas Moore says, ‘The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought.’ This book offers pilgrims (of any path) a way back to the rich and deep inner magic of childhood dreams.
ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS: I LOVED it. I loved the writing and the style. Honestly? I think it is his best yet. There is a lovely, lovely humour in it. I laughed out loud on occasions, and that was one of the things that endeared me to the insights. There are nuggets of pure gold in this book. And Townsend's writing means you don't have to search very hard to find them. A remarkable man with an equally remarkable penetrating insight that is hewn from experience, coupled with the ability to express complex ideas in simple terms. Prepare to look at the world in a whole new light.
Drew McAdam, ‘The Interrogator’ from TV’s Trisha show
I started this book expecting to skim it and found myself reading every page. It is a wonderful quest romance, a story about the nature of religion, magic, England, modernity and many other things as well. Professor Ronald E Hutton.
The Path of the Blue Raven is an extraordinary spiritual journey. It brings to life Jesus' words 'The truth shall set you free'. For Mark Townsend, it is in devastating self-honesty that freedom-giving truth is found. It is this uncompromising honesty that has opened him to the deep flowing currents of mind and spirit. The result is a liberating journey from Christian priesthood, to stage magicianship and the beauty of nature spirituality. It is a journey that is both literally true and profoundly mythic. It is a magical journey. It is a journey that will speak to the hearts of many.
Revd. Simon Small, author of From the Bottom of the Pond
You can't imprison the Spirit in a box or a book or a religion for that matter. It finds a way to break free. The Path of The Blue Raven is a pilgrimage to true spiritual wisdom. There is a hidden music in this world and it is there for all to hear and heed. Mark Townsend followed this music and because he did he found keys that unlocked and opened doors of beauty and enchantment. The magic key is love. The magic is with Mark and with this book.
David Carson, co-creator of Medicine Cards
In the history of the Church reformation has come about whenever someone has dared to step out of the official walls and look for truth in the wide world. Mark Townsend does more than step outside the walls of Christian dogma. He leaves behind the conventions that hold back human imagination. In The Path of the Blue Raven he not only shares his own journey, but illuminates the pathway for others whose spirits refuse any longer to be boxed and packaged within the confines of religious organizations. True believers among Christians or Druids are likely to be offended by his words. But wanderers will find inspiration and hope.
Walter William Melnyk, author of The Apple and the Thorn (with Emma Restall Orr) and Marsh Tales and Other Wonders
Mark has been bravely transparent in his description of his spiritual journey. We could all do with his refreshing honesty about our own doubts, fears and hopes...
Revd. Jonathan Osborne
Inspirational, and touches chords.
Lorriane Munn, Druid
"Jesus Outside the Box" is a re-released, re-titled version of the author's previous book "The Magician's Tale". It a short book of twelve incredible stories written from the perspective of some of the lesser known characters of the New Testament. Each story offers an exciting and radical new portrait of the one we call The Christ. The author's intention was to present a picture of Jesus, without the 2,000 of Christian doctrine and dogma that have put him some great ecclesiastical box (and suffocated him the process). The Jesus of these tales has broken free from that box of Churchianity and will help readers do the same. This Jesus is human yet magical, gentle yet dangerous, distrustful of religion, yet unconditionally loving. He is exciting beyond our dreams. You may just discover that you'd thrown the divine baby out with the holy water.
"Mark is the master of the short story. These are powerful tales which speak directly to the heart and soul, allowing us to eavesdrop on events which were to shape the destiny of the world"
Barbara Erskine, International Bestseller
"If these stories and others like them were to be told, or even read, in Church, perhaps in place of sermons, we might see a tide of joyful renewal sweep through the old institutions. Full of fresh inspiration these enchanting stories bring the ancient wisdom to life."
Rt Revd Alistair Bate