Out of the Depths by Kenneth E. Kovacs is a book for everyone but especially for people like me – those who spent a lifetime studying Christian doctrine only to realize they could no longer tolerate the rigidity of a strict literal view of the text. I lost my stomach for sermons and Christian essays years ago but caught the sweet scent of fresh air in the first few lines of this book. Kovacs’ understanding of theology and Jungian philosophy brings a whole new perspective to the table. Through a clear understanding of the Bible’s use of metaphor, he paints God as infinitely more vast than any literalist could ever hope to render.
Beginning with Jacob’s ‘ramp’, Kovacs leads the reader down a meandering path of themes including God’s purposes, love for self and others, life after death, reformation, and what it means to be a container of the sacred. The book offers a wealth of practical information, but Kovacs is unafraid to tackle the larger intellectual debates as well. Kovacs view of Carl Jung as a prophet pushed him to walk in Jung’s footsteps, to call the church to a new level of reformation.
He who has ears, let him hear.
– Matthew 11:15
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fuller understanding of God than the literal legalist can give. It is my hope that anyone arrogant enough to “speak of the unspeakable” who believes he has “grasped the infinite” will come to appreciate the supreme ability of metaphor and textual nuance to address the complexity of our lives in this world. Out of the Depths reveals a Scripture only properly understood when our long-revered literal views are silenced.
May we all come to say,
I had heard of you with my ears; but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I will be quiet, comforted that I am dust.
– Job 42:5-6
As always, thanks for reading. Please feel free to add to the conversation by posting a comment or six.
About the Author:
Kenneth E. Kovacs, Ph.D., is pastor of the Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Catonsville, Maryland, and has served congregations in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Mendham, New Jersey. Kenneth studied at Rutgers College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. The author of The Relational Theology of James E. Loder: Encounter & Conviction (New York: Peter Lang, 2011), his current research areas include C. G. Jung and contemporary Christian experience. Kenneth is also an avid traveler and has led pilgrimages/tours to Scotland, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland and France.
Praise for Out of the Depths:
“Ken Kovacs’ Out of the Depths is a brilliant set of reflections on the journey of the soul in post-modern times. Drawing upon the wisdom of our ancestors, the insights of depth psychology, and his own thoughtful interpretations, he presents the reader with much to ponder, whatever his or her religious history might be. These essays transcend doctrinal apologetics and get at what the ancient word means to this fugitive world, how it can illumine our days, and guide our ways. Always respectful of the views of others, Kovacs revivifies the tradition and brings its timeless wisdom to each of us.”
— James Hollis, Ph. D., Jungian analyst, and author
“Kenneth Kovacs is a seasoned pastor and a theologian who writes like a poet. What he offers in this collection of sermons and essays is prophetic, in the finest sense of that word. Since his days studying with practical theologian James Loder, Kovacs has dared to explore the importance of authentic experience in the Christian life. He has done this while understanding the suspicion of human experience prevalent in the Reformed tradition.”
— Roy Howard, The Presbyterian Outlook
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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