The Best Spiritual Writing 2000

Philip Zaleski, Author, Thomas Moore, Introduction by HarperOne $16 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-251670-1
This anthology easily lives up to the high standards set by the 1998 and 1999 editions, featuring essays, poems and a few genre-defying pieces that were originally published not only in religious periodicals, but also in literary journals and magazines such as Atlantic Monthly and Salon. While the spiritual orientations of the writers vary widely, certain unifying themes, such as death and a love of the outdoors, emerge. Christopher Bamford's ""In the Presence of Death,"" James Van Tholen's ""Surprised by Death,"" Ann Hood's ""In Search of Miracles"" and Richard John Neuhaus's ""Born Toward Dying"" all examine the spiritual transformation that terminal illness yields for the dying and those who love them. Deborah Gorlin's ""Twice Woods Hebrew,"" Linda Hogan's ""The Great Without,"" Robert Reese's ""Rivers and Mountains"" and Marjorie Sandor's ""Waiting for a Miracle: A Jew Goes Fishing"" are just a few that consider spiritual images and lessons found in nature. The book's timely preoccupation with these physical realities taps into a contemporary desire among evangelicals and Buddhists alike (both of whom are well represented in this book, along with Catholics, liberal Christians, Jews and skeptics) to elicit spiritual insights from everyday experiences and to understand the mind-body-spirit connection. Many essays amuse while they instruct particularly Mary Gordon's ""Prayers"" and Harvey Cox's ""The Market as God""Dwhile others evoke tears (see not only the essays on death but also Jim Schley's ""Devotional""). All of the contributions challenge assumptions and encourage new ways of seeing, thereby feeding the spirit. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Religion
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