I’m really confused by Psychedelic Christianity: On The Ultimate Goal Of Living, by Jack Call. The author clearly knows what he is talking about, he has a respectable amount of experience to write about the subject, and although he tries to keep his reasoning short and simple, I found it really hard to follow the ideas he was proposing.
I have to start saying that I expected the book to begin with a definition of what Psychedelic Christianity is about as a belief or movement, to tell me what it comes from, but the author skipped this and jumped right into several reflections on what “the ultimate goal” represents, how we can be “in the right relationship with God” and more topics.
Although Jack Call have interesting ideas and I agreed with him in more than one, since he proposes a dialogue and doesn’t actually impose his beliefs in others, opting for a more friendly approach, it was difficult to me to follow his thoughts, not because of belief matters, but because of the absence of a proper introduction in Psychedelic Christianity, which left me feeling I was missing a significant part of it.
As I said before, the ideas that this book proposes are interesting and open the debate on different points. One could feel as attending a conference of Psychedelic Christianity on the topic because of the natural tone Jack Call has. Each chapter is a short or medium-length essay that examines a different idea, although they are all connected in different grades.
However, there are several segments which use a complex language that lost me. I had to reread many pages many times in order to have a slight idea of what they were about, and there were even times when I got so confused I missed the point and had to restart. It was hard to keep a consistent pace because of this, not to mention it was a frustrating reading.
The book tries to analyze different aspects of Christian belief under a different point of view, but I cannot see where the “Psychedelic” part of its title would fit. This seems to be more like the author’s perception on said aspects such as the ultimate goal, the meaning of life, the coming of God’s Kingdom, and so on.
The ideas are appealing, the style is simple in some cases, and the conclusions at the end of each chapter help a lot to understand what the point was in the whole essay. For obvious reasons, they were my favorite part of the book.
In short, I failed to understand what Psychedelic Christianity means as a proposal, and I am inclined to think that Jack Call used this title after he had several ideas and concepts during psychedelic experiences, despite he never explained how these came to him or mentioned how the readers could achieve them on their own.
This could either be because the book may be connected to the author’s previous publications or will be followed by a more in-depth examination of the topic in a future book. Either way, I doubt this could be a correct approach on the subject, since I genuinely thought it would be a basic guide on the matter.
Psychedelic Christianity: On The Ultimate Goal Of Living
Print Length: 88 pages
Publisher: Christian Alternative (July 27, 2018))
Publication Date: July 27, 2018
About the Author
Jack Call is Janitor and President of the Institute for the Advancement of Psychedelic Christianity. He taught philosophy at Citrus College in Glendora, California for nineteen years. He has published numerous essays on the relations between philosophy, religion and social science. He received his PhD from Claremont Graduate University. Earlier, he was a clergyman in a psychedelic church for six years. He is also the author of Dreams and Resurrection: On Immortal Selves, Psychedelics, and Christianity and God Is A Symbol of Something True: Why You Don’t Have to Choose Either a Literal Creator or A Blind, Indifferent Universe.
About the Reviewer
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic Wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy who tries to educate whenever he can. He hopes to succeed in one of them sooner than later.