Holy Rascals: Advice for Spiritual Revolutionaries

Rami Shapiro. Sounds True, $16.95 ISBN 978-1-62203-746-9
Shapiro, a rabbi and self-described holy rascal, writes about the divine and the role of spirituality in contemporary life with refreshing zest in his latest work (following Accidental Grace). Shapiro outlines his definition of a holy rascal—a spiritual figure who steps outside established traditions to challenge and adapt them—by outlining his own life story of seeking truth across traditions, from his Jewish upbringing to his explorations of various Buddhist Zen practices. Shapiro provides the reader with examples of how to engage in this kind of exploration by transcribing his conversations with his spiritual mentors (such as Zen Buddhist Sasaki Roshi and “mad kabbalist” Rabbi Reuven) and presenting key spiritual principles—such as knowing God directly and distinguishing between religiosity and religion—while drawing from a wide range of sources, including Seneca, Czeslaw Milosz, and Monty Python. “God isn’t a thing or a being or even the Supreme Being,” he writes. “God is being itself. God is the Happening that is happening as the happening. God is process. God is Goding.” Shapiro dedicates the final third of the book to aphorisms, which are disappointing compared to the anecdotal writings that personalize his sometimes opaque, generalizing statements. Nevertheless, Shapiro’s emphasis on creativity and play make this book joyful as well as meaningful. Agent: Scott Edelstein, Scott Edelstein Literary. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/09/2017
Release date: 12/01/2017
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