Book review by Alan D.D.
I knew, from the moment I started reading ‘The Shaken Path,’ by Paul Cudby, that I would be in a danger zone, not because I consider myself Christian, but the whole opposite: My mind is more than fine considering Pagan oriented ideals and ideas.
There was something that told me I should read this book, and I kind of knew this could be a comparison between the two faiths, but there was still the fear, the doubt. Would I be facing an egocentric priest that wanted to tell me that Paganism was only a misunderstood Christianism, that it was only devil worshiping and that he would save my soul? Not at all.
What I discovered was that there something in common between the Christian Gospels and the Pagan believes, more than what I would have ever thought. Uncomfortable experience, yes, but who said that learning would be an easy process?
We live in a world where everyone thinks their path the only right one that is meant to exist, even I tend to think this would be a better planet if we all started learning about Paganism, but that is exactly when Cudby comes: Nothing could be more wrong than that idea.
Is not like Christians and Pagan are two halves of a whole, or that where one fails, the other prevails, but about the fact that we can all learn from each each faith, that Christ can teach the Pagans and that Nature can help the Christians. Seems we often forget this.
Mr. Cudby goes to the most known branches and concepts related to nature-based religions, explaining them to a Christian reader and offering an honest insight in the earth-based faith, but even if the reader is a Pagan or an interfaith person, they can still discover a few interesting things just as I did.
Although the author admits that he firstly thought his believes would be dismissed when he started exploring Paganism, and acknowledges the reader could feel the same, Cudby still encourages us to keep turning the pages, discovering that faith should not be a reason to be divided, but to get to know each other in a better way.
Cudby also makes it clear that this is not book for proselytism, as he himself felt that the learning process helped him to be more confident about his faith, and wants the readers to feel the very same thing, that their points of view are as correct as his.
Similarities between these two faiths are correctly linked, many concepts are well explained and misunderstood ideas are clarified page by page, leading the reader to have a better image of both religions, trying to build a more tolerant mind and solidify unity among both groups.
The author also shared many experiences he has had during the creation process of this book, the facts he discovered and the stories he was told by other pagans; there are even some childhood memories he includes to illustrate different points and make an idea as clear as possible.
There’s no point in denying that sometimes we all wish to ‘transform’ the other person and make them part of our religion, I think humans need to feel safe in an environment they can identify with, but ‘The Shaken Path’ proves more than once that differences and challenges work way much better than comparing two things.
However, I won’t lie telling that this an easy and light book, as it took me a long while to read it; the chapters on Animism and Shamanism were hard to swallow because of the thick content, the scientific explanations and the amount of information; I should also add that my lack of interest in those areas represented a huge obstacle.
I would only prevent a reader from taking this books if they want to see a religion being ‘better’ than the other, to be more ‘correct’ and more ‘true,’ as if there could be only one faith in the whole world. Such a closed minded person will not enjoy to discover that all those ideals should be dead by now.
The Shaken Path is intended for those who are interested in learning, exploring and discovering about different faiths, about that that could sound alien and supernatural, that that seems to be different and, therefore, dangerous.
If this seems to be more an extensive praise than a review, it is only because Paul Cudby was brave enough to open his mind, and so should we. May Nature never turn their back on him now that he realized that the Divine is in all things and that we can live and let die in peace.
I can only thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book, as it had been a long time since I read something as interesting as this. I’m definitely keeping an eye on the author in case he keeps exploring paganism.
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Christian Alternative (June 30, 2017)
Publication Date: June 30, 2017
About the author:
Paul Cudby is the Bishop of Birmingham’s Adviser for New Religious Movements, spending a lot of time conversing with Pagans. As a vicar he also speaks with Christians, writes about his beliefs, and preaches. Often these interactions become a theme for a paper or, in this case, a book on understanding Paganism from a Christian perspective, a book he has written because no one else seems to have done!
About the reviewer:
Alan D.D. is a writer, blogger and alternative journalist. He has worked with specialized publications on entertainment, comics, witchcraft, Gothic subculture and any other topic that he discovers on the Internet and finds interesting. You can visit him on his personal, bilingual blog: https://tintanocturna.