April 16, 2013

I started writing this post just after the Newtown school shootings in Connecticut this past January, and now feel compelled to finish it given the events that just took place at the 2013 Boston Marathon. When something so sinister happens to so many innocent people it begs the question: How could God let this happen? It’s something that may have passed your mind as the news came out of Boston, or perhaps when you first heard the spirit-draining news of the… Read more

March 24, 2013

Who is the greatest figure in the history of American spirituality? If you ask me this highly subjective question I will tell you it’s the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Here’s why. A graduate of the Harvard Divinity School, Emerson serves for three-plus years as a minister at a Unitarian church. But at the age of 29 he decides to call it quits, not because of a crisis of faith, but due to a crisis of dogma. Emerson has issues with… Read more

March 10, 2013

At 53, Eugene O’Kelly was on top of the world. He was Chairman and CEO at one of the Big Four accounting firms, a job he loved. He lived in a penthouse apartment in New York City, had a lakefront vacation home and a happy family life with a wife and two children. Then one day, he went to the doctor for what he thought was a small issue. He had been experiencing headaches and vision problems, probably just migraines… Read more

February 24, 2013

You’ve probably seen one of the many studies in recent years that have found Americans are becoming less “religious” and more “spiritual”. I count myself squarely in the spiritual group, and given that you’re now on the pages of the Patheos Spirituality channel, so may you. For me, being spiritual means a daily commitment to connecting with the divine, and includes prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading. I’ve previously written on these pages about some of my favorite spiritual texts, including… Read more

February 8, 2013

Over the past few years, I’ve written almost 100 blog posts on all types of spirituality-related subjects. But week after week one of my oldest columns gets the most Web hits—double and triple the number of views as my next most popular post. It’s called “The Wisdom of Donald Shimoda”. Shimoda is one of two main characters in the book Illusions by Richard Bach, an author best known for his more popular (and I think less compelling) Jonathan Livingston Seagull…. Read more

January 23, 2013

Last year I moved into a home with large built-in bookcases in the den. This was a treat as my several hundred books were previously scattered on small bookcases around the house and I now could store them in one place. It also gave me good reason to organize my books by category and author. I was not surprised to find the most books I had by any one author were from Thomas Moore. A former monk who lived in… Read more

January 4, 2013

We all start the new year with grand plans. We’re going to get in shape. We’re going to spend more time with the family. We’re going to finally quit <insert your personal vice here>. Some of us will even succeed! But occasionally our best laid plans can bump into a harsh reality. We just don’t have the time, the ability or the will to meet our resolutions in spite of our very best intentions. So I’m going to recommend you… Read more

December 9, 2012

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? ~1 Corinthians 3:16 What do you do when your ordinary prayers stop working? When your praying stops bringing you comfort? When it feels like you’re talking into a void and you’re not getting any closer to God? Well, a very long time ago a group of Catholic mystics had an answer, one that the Catholic church purged from its faith for centuries—but that in… Read more

November 6, 2012

You’ll be reading this post several days after I wrote it, when I again have an Internet connection. I live in an area of the Jersey Shore that was hard hit by the so-called Super Storm Sandy. We have spotty cell service and no power and none is expected for many more days. I live a few miles from the ocean-front town of Seaside Heights, a place I spent every summer during my youth and young adult life. The town… Read more

October 14, 2012

A small Christian church near my home recently made an attempt to bring in speakers from other faiths, most notably a Muslim cleric. But during a contentious meeting of the church board the idea was loudly voted down. A board member told me some of the un-Christian like arguments that took place and let’s just say some of those involved had missed the sermon on the accepting and loving nature of God. Yet, while divisive events like this one cast… Read more

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