The Reverend Robert Willoughby used to be a Methodist minister; then he preached in a Unitarian church; now he has resigned from the church altogether. He does not believe that Jesus was literally the son of God, or that he rose from the dead. He believes in "the worth of the Bible, as I believe in beauty, great art, music, and literature."

But Willoughby still considers himself a Christian, and he wants other Christians to accept gays and lesbians, to fully integrate women into leadership positions, and to "embrace the creative role of controversy" in church affairs. He describes Jesus as "history's greatest revolutionary," argues that the church should take a greater role in political life, and also offers a defense of the United Nations. Clearly aimed at theological and social conservatives, Willoughby's book raises some troubling questions about how much religious teachings should change to reflect a changing society. Yet at the same time, readers may wonder why, if he's rejected the basics of the Christian creed, Willoughby bothers with the church at all. Maybe he should just go out and engage in secular activism?

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