Remember that scene from Seinfeld? Where George’s worlds collide? His then fiancé — the woman George would later accidentally kill with poison envelopes — becoming friends with Elaine? Not a good thing! It’s outrageous. Egregious. Preposterous.
But now, the same has happened to me, only this is a “worlds colliding” scenario that I wholeheartedly embrace, rather than confront with fear and trembling.
Allow me to offer the context.
Thirteen years ago, my wife was in the third trimester of her pregnancy, and her doctor put her on bed rest due to something called pre-eclampsia. It can be a dangerous situation so she was confined to the bed, the couch, and any number of other comfy spaces. To help pass the time, Dwight, Michael, Jim, Pam, and all the others from Dunder Mifflin accompanied her and I just about every night for three months straight. Then, after our daughter was born in 2010, they all accompanied us most nights up to the present. Yes, I’m proud to admit — we are super fans (our daughter is now also one of the many young teenage fans out there)
During this time, when I was not watching The Office, I was reading theology books and quickly deconstructing my Evangelical faith. As any theology nerd is wont to do, I read and re-read theologian David Bentley Hart. Not to brag or anything, but a few years ago, we even got to interview him on the Heretic Happy Hour podcast, and let me just say, it was as intimidating as you might imagine. By far, he is the smartest person I’ve ever read or talked to (sorry fellow hosts), and I’m thankful he is on the universalist’s side.
If that wasn’t awesome enough, in 2022, Rainn Wilson — via a mutual friend named Steve Sarowitz — joined us on the show and had an absolute blast of a conversation. Rainn Wilson!? On MY podcast? Wild!
Months went by, and Rainn and I had perhaps chatted a few times back and forth (exchanging social media information to promote the show, and things like that). Then, one sunny day, months and months later, when I was on my way to doing God knows what, I got an email from Rainn that asked if he could send me his new book, Soul Boom. Um, of course! What, am I gonna say “Uh, no thanks. You’re just one of my favorite people of all time, but I’m pretty busy right now.” Are you kidding me? I was on cloud nine. I have no problem admitting that.
A week or so later, it showed up. Signed. With a personal message. From Rainn Wilson. To me. What!
Now, don’t mistake me: Rainn never asked for a review. It wasn’t a wink-wink sort of thing. He just wanted to send me the book.
Because he’s that cool.
Anyway, I read the book. It’s great. It’s what we as spiritual people need — another interesting and relevant voice swimming in the same stream as all the great mystics before them. And what’s more! He not only references David Bentley Hart, but he gives him a special shout out in the acknowledgments. Worlds colliding!
Now, for those who don’t know, Rainn is Bahá’í. Technically. But like all mystics, he kind of transcends labels. That’s why he can quote Hart, or host a podcast with Muslim Reza Aslan, or talk to a bunch of heretics on the mostly-post-Christian Heretic Happy Hour. That’s why, though his home is the Bahá’í faith, he can speak to anyone who is trying to discover the big truths of the universe, of nature, of the big three-letter word: G-O-D. And though Wilson’s book covers some enormous topics (suffering, the Big Daddy of them all, for one), he is adept at guiding his readers gently and with care.
Bravo for that!
Of course, you’ll only know this if you pick up the book for yourself. As I write this, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s the number 1 new release in the Bahá’í category. So, try it out. It’s funny. It’s smart. It’s down to earth. But it’s oh-so-full of wonderful bits of mystical spirituality we have all come to love and appreciate from Rainn Wilson.
So, thank you Rainn. You have a lovely book that I’m confident will help a lot of people out with their spiritual journeys.
Also, if you’ve been digging my work on here, and want to see me be able to continue writing as close to full-time as humanly possible, please take a look at my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/mjdistefano. Even $1 a month helps bigly!