SPIRITUAL MATURITY: Stories and Reflections for the Ongoing Journey of the Spirit

Joseph Sharp, Author, M. Scott Peck, Introduction by . Perigee $14.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-399-52679-4

One might expect a book on spiritual maturity to be dull, tedious and heavy, but Sharp (Living Our Dying: A Way to the Sacred in Everyday Life) manages to speak of spiritual maturity with refreshing lightness and an easygoing manner. One of Sharp's main goals is to encompass all religious sensibilities, leaving the initial impression that this primer is too simple, perhaps even shallow. At second glance, his stories and reflections start to gently grow on the reader like a Zen koan. He speaks of the importance of being spiritually incorrect, embracing outrageousness, becoming intimate with one's fears, taking on personal activism and enjoying the contradictions and ironies of life. In Sharp's view, spiritual maturity is a continuous and progressive journey in which one claims one's "sacred individuality" by learning to become more loving, truthful and compassionate. He writes, "authentic spirituality has much more to do with acceptance, recognition, and exploration, and less to do with avoidance, denial, and escape.... In a maturing spirituality, we begin making room for the possibility that pain and other fearful emotions may sometimes be the manner in which the sacred is speaking to us." Spiritual maturity, for Sharp, is not so much an attainable goal as a lifelong journey. Sharp shares freely from his own background as a friend, student, spiritual teacher, hospital chaplain and HIV-positive gay man. This warm, loving book feels like a chat with a cherished old friend. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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