Resources to learn about Amber

I’m looking for audiobooks, courses to help me learn more about Amber and how I can properly integrate this stage into my own life.

I’m currently listening to the Great Course, “How to Think Like a Stoic,” and I have another called, “St. Augustine’s Confessions,” lined up.

I’m primarily looking for audiobooks because they allow me the time to really get into this stuff given my other projects.

Thank you so much for the suggestions!

Bit tangential perhaps but I’ve been thinking about how the Integral stages have been defined. We then reexamine the structures used in the definitions reconfirming the definitions, without reassessing neither the structures nor the definitions.

As a practicing Catholic, I see continued reiteration that Christianity is X, Catholicism is X-1, Buddhism is X+3. But in my experience of practicing at some level of depth I see a gross oversimplification to the lowest possible altitude by the Integral community. And this pick and choose decomposition then characterization is done with a weird glee.

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Funny enough I did start my education by listening to the Bible, as it is a foundational Amber text as far as I understand. I realized though that as a text it is far more valuable in terms of the mystical wisdom within it and I really wasn’t giving it the respect and attention it deserves. I was conflating my desire to dive deeply into Christianity with my desire to simply learn about Amber. I’m setting aside the Bible for now and am going to return when I can do it fully.

Instead, I think learning about the history of world at Amber is far more what I’m looking for than, as you say, making a gross oversimplification of a religious tradition merely because it was born of that stage.


Would you have any recommendations for study on Catholicism and Integral Theory?
I think this is something I need to spend some time working on :slight_smile:


Off the top of my head I just know about Paul Smith’s Integral Christianity.


Also be sure to check out Rollie Stanich’s new book. He is a very old friend, and I hope to be doing an interview with him soon.


I’d be interested to know how the organizational / bureaucratic levels of various Christian Churches are reviewing these kinds of works.
Periodically through my life I’ve looked at the requirements of being a Pastor in various Christian Churches, and the thing that drove me to other spiritual traditions and away from organized religion is that they require statements of faith before enrolling in their programs. One statement of faith that is almost universal and also a great obstacle for me personally is declaring a belief that the events in the Bible literally happened as written. The last time I checked, one has to swear to Literal Mythic beliefs in order to be ordained in most Christian Churches.
I might be mistaken, but I think Ken has said that one of the biggest problems in the area of spirituality is the the Literal Mythic.
So I wonder how accepted these kinds of books on “Integral Christianity” are with Christian Churches’ Organizations, or if as I suspect someone like your friend Rollie Stanich faces fierce criticism or even personal attacks from the Christian Community?
For example, I went straight to the one-star reviews and found these:
This book is about another Jesus, not Jesus Christ. Compare the bottom of page 246 in the book to ohn 1:29 and you will see exactly what I mean. If this is higher Christian education, I will remain thankfully simple. As for Pastor Smith and his Church of the Magical Mystery Tour, they’re dying to take you away.

I have long read, critiqued, and written about Ken Wilber’s worldview (some of which is on line). It is nondualism, or pantheistic monism. This worldview, which inspires the book under review, is logically incompatible with Christian Theism, which teaches that God is ontologically distinct (as the personal-finite Creator) from the cosmos (which is the contigent creation). See Romans, chapter 1.
Thus, any attempt to reconcile Wilber’s nondualism and Christianity is surely doomed to intellectual and spiritual failure. It is better to reject orthodox, biblical Christianity as false than to try to force it into the Procrustean bed of an antithetical (and deeply illogical) worldview.

Or, here is a three star review alleging some kind of drama that I would expect to be true:

The most remarkable (and admirable) thing about Paul Smith is that during his 50-year pastorate of a Southern Baptist church, he managed to make it evolve to an ‘Integral Model’ church (in the process, it was ejected from the Southern Baptist Convention)! Using Integral terminology, that was an evolution of at least 3, if not 4 (out of 7+) stages. Otherwise, the book is just an extension of Ken Wilber’s Integral paradigm applied to Christianity. I find that it has much less depth than the latter’s The Religion of Tomorrow, Jim Marion’s Putting on the Mind of Christ, or various books by Bede Griffiths, Raimon Panikkar, etc.

These reviews hint at a fundamental issue with Christianity - that the Organization and official theology of Christianity, historically and at present are completely different from actually following Christ (who I suspect was Integral). Church Organizations and Christ may at times follow in parallel, but often are completely divergent and sometimes directly at odds.
When we look at Gnostic texts like the Nag Hamadi or Dead Sea Scrolls there is even more of a divergence because in those cases eye witness accounts of Christ’s works seem to differ greatly depending on who edited or re-copied the texts. There are no texts that we know of that are verifiably written by actual eye witnesses.

I’m not sure I want to invest $50 - $100 in books and several weeks reading to answer this question, so if anybody can give me a spoiler, I would appreciate it:

  • How does a 21st Century Integral Christianity deal with issues of shadow, evil, sin, Satan and not obeying clear commandments?
  • How does a 21st Century Integral Christianity deal with the entire Old Testament & “Law of Moses”.
    Edit / add
  • Where is the feminine in Integral Christianity (besides being limited to roles of virgin, mother or whore)

Here is an article by the author of the book I mentioned. I read it a month or so ago and enjoyed it. It may answer several of your questions. He also has a few other articles so if you click on his name you may find more!

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I don’t think church organizations concern themselves with Integral Theory, much less review the works. They have their own development plans, theories, strategies, teachings.

Every organization has rules and beliefs, particularly for those that intend to teach or lead. If you want to be a Professor of Intersectionality of get a PhD in Integral Theory, you would have to “commit deeply” in order to make it through the program and into the ranks of leader/teacher.

Being “Integral” does not mean you cannot also hold earlier stage beliefs. Just reading posts here on Integral Life there is much discussion on Spirituality. The community might want to use language that doesn’t reference Religion or God, but the belief systems don’t appear to be so different (to me that is). We even see posts like “New Axial Age” with reference to the start of the “first Axial Age” 2500 years ago. Is this so different from say the second coming of Christ? If anything it smells a whole lot like co-opting Christianity and Buddhism to lend a bit of credibility to IT.

The New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are also different perspectives on Jesus Christ’s teachings. It makes perfect sense that others would have different viewpoints. The Bible was written before video cameras, so not sure how you could ever get irrefutable proof. LOL I’m a big fan of Gnosticism (not that I’m a scholar) and wonder if the Church left them out in order to get the bureaucracy a leg up on the population. Maybe I’m not that good a Christian after all. LOL

One thing that I keep pondering is that Integral Theory was developed from assessments of the real world, including religions, societal structures, developmental psychology, etc… We then then loop back on these very same structures used for the definition of Integral Theory (levels, etc) to assess them in an Integral Theory framework. What’s odd to me is I don’t see the Integral Community modifying the definition of Integral Theory nor the level definitions of say “the Church” based on these circular reassessments. I also see little/no reassessment what level “those people” or “those structures” are now at. Yet the Integral community is proudly climbing the ladder of enlightenment.

What I can see though is that, as in this example, the Catholic Church is very slow moving compared to a handful of Integral thinkers. But to not acknowledge that, sticking with our example, the Christianity is changing is in my mind intellectually bankrupt, unfair, and sadly ineffective. To also equate “all of those people” to a given level (e.g. “Literal Mythic”) is also intellectually bankrupt, unfair and sadly divisive.
To let you in on a secret. Many people (most?) that identify with a religion have no thoughts at all one way or another on all the points anti-theists use to denigrate the religion and it’s adherents. It’s like the bad joke that no one gets. LOL

Conversely it might behoove the Integral community to acknowledge that large scale structures just might be the best path to a glowing Teal Noosphere.
I’m not optimistic that the 17 (or 17,000 or 1.7M) of us on Integral Life will be able to make much impact. I know chances of me developing in my home office a “new religion” that’s “way better” isn’t something I would bet the farm on (or my Soul). LOL

Thanks for the link. Great article that hits directly on one of my current ponderings :+1:

I think the thing here is that I don’t believe people are “at a level”, really. I personally think people go up and down or in and out of different “colors” during the course of a day. When dealing with bureaucracy, I have to accept that world view, but it does not define me as a person. I can work in an “Orange” career, but not be “Orange”.
I see people can have Literal Mythic Beliefs, but I don’t think that defines them - unless they are talking about that 24/7. Just like a person can vote for Hillary Clinton and not be defined as liberal.
I think this is the whole problem with people at both extremes these days - they try to put everyone into two categories. It’s complete B.S.
So I personally do not think someone who believes in Literal Mythic is “intellectually bankrupt”. But I do recognize they might have difficulty respecting other people’s beliefs as being just as legitimate as theirs.

I understand this COMPLETELY.
Please review and realize I was talking about organizations above, not individual people. For example, I did NOT say there is a fundamental issue with Christians, but with Christianity - as various assorted organizations. These Organizations force people to swear they believe in the Literal Mythic story of the Bible. What I see is many Pastors kind of fudge on this oath when I ask them about it. So a Pastor is forced by Churches to either believe in a Literal Mythic interpretation of the Bible, or compromise on his own integrity. Christians who want a church scholarship or something similar may also be placed in a similar dilemma.

In my experience spiritual leaders not only respect but expect each of us to have our own internal struggles with what and how we believe. No where has force or adherence ever been a concern of mine.

Perhaps belief isn’t an end-state, but a journey for each of us to explore?

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

You have to make a statement of Faith in order to be a member of the National Association of Christian Ministers.
Article I - We hold all 66 Books of the Bible as the only inspired word of God

This not only means members agree to accept the Bible as the word of God, but not accept other non-Christian beliefs as equal to yours.

Article IV - We believe Jesus was literally conceived and born as flesh and blood of a virgin named Mary.

This is fine whatever people believe, but it is an example of how Pastors have to agree to believe the Literal Mythic, and if they do not then they are not accepted in Christian Organizations as legitimate Christians. There are other examples in other Articles.

I’m not seeing an article that addresses this. I don’t see any qualifications that they can be starting on the journey - but even then the implication is that the Pastor is inferior in some way because he does not believe in Literal Mythic, while the Organization of Christianity has the complete truth and is not willing to budge at all.

It seems like you are complaining that this organization has rules, standards, and expectations but you look to cleverly point out that this Literal Mythic group is well, Literal Mythic. Why can’t you let them be and find something that does work for you? Or if you have the energy, create you very own Ray’s Church of Integral Thinking?

What article? “In my experience”, religious leaders are quite ok with Ray having Ray’s doubts along Ray’s journey in Ray’s life.

Have you tried a Unitarian Universalist Church? They’re almost non-religious, non-theistic in my layman’s estimation. Even the Paul Smith article that @WillE posted ranks them much higher on the Integral score card. Could be what you’re looking for.

No, not complaining

Because the topic of Integral Christianity came up and I am curious how that works when almost all officially recognized Christian organizations have policies that directly conflict with Ken’s work.
And it’s not a question of ME letting THEM be - it’s a matter of Christians letting other people discuss Christianity even if they don’t believe in literal mythic. Why can’t you just let discussion happen without trying to make some kind of conflict about it? I think Jesus was at least as good of a man as Gautama or Vivekananda or a dozen other men. Why is the topic of Christianity restricted to discuss unless we are in the flock? Why go against the person rather than discussing the topic openly?

Yes, I have - they are more of a “Every contribution is important, every idea is valuable, every child gets a star” kind of ideology.

To your question from 3 days ago, there is also this:

How many branches of Christianity are there? How many have you reviewed?

How can anything in the world not be part of the Integral system? Counter to Integral?

I’d add Richard Rohr for a Catholic perspective & Cynthia Bourgeault. My fave go to is the Integral Theology site :blush:

Many thanks @Imago_Inocente. Love the name :+1:

Looks like Mr Rohr has moved on from what Catholics would consider Catholicism but I’ll check him out.

Did lead to several additional possibilities. Fr Keating being one.