The field referred to in the title is the Zero Point Field, which the author understands to be a mysterious energy source that permeates the universe—The field referred to in the title is the Zero Point Field, which the author understands to be a mysterious energy source that permeates the universe—none other than the Holy Spirit by her reckoning. Lynne McTaggart is a journalist, and her book is a series of stories about researchers in the field of quantum physics who have stumbled into the field of parapsychology.
I was hoping the book would give me a better understanding of physics (and parapsychology), but alas, no. All I came away with is this: parapsychology is mysterious, and quantum physics is mysterious, therefore parapsychology is quantum physics.
Charles Shelton is a Jesuit Priest and a psychotherapist. His book, The Gratitude Factor, is chock-full of valuable insights and valuable guidelines fCharles Shelton is a Jesuit Priest and a psychotherapist. His book, The Gratitude Factor, is chock-full of valuable insights and valuable guidelines for nurturing garden-variety thankfulness into a lifestyle of grace and gratitude. The book also contains a lot of filler and does not hold together as a well-integrated work. Even so, I am grateful for it to be on my shelf so I can reference the insights and guidelines, which are of special import owing to the author’s perspective as a follower of Jesus and a healer of souls....more
As a pioneering work, D. T. Suzuki’s Essays in Zen Buddhism (First Series) deserves a five. I’ve rated it a couple rungs lower because I found it tougAs a pioneering work, D. T. Suzuki’s Essays in Zen Buddhism (First Series) deserves a five. I’ve rated it a couple rungs lower because I found it tough to plow through. First published in London in 1927, it contributed to Suzuki’s well-deserved reputation as the foremost exponent of Zen Buddhism in the West. It’s been on my “to read” list since 1969. At that time, I found it impenetrable. But I hoped these many years later to approach it with a greater depth of funded experience, and to take my understanding of Zen, and my appreciation for Zen, to a new level. I was able to stick it out cover-to-cover. But, sad to say, I didn’t gain much in the way of understanding or appreciation—though, to be sure, what I already have by way of Zen understanding and Zen appreciation can be credited to Suzuki round about.
I did discover a line on page 236 which I’ve added to my Goodreads quotes: “It is like driving a cart; when it moveth not, wilt thou whip the cart or the ox?” Nangaku Yejo (Nan-yüeh Hai-jang).
Karl Marlantes has written a good book. Like many a good book (including the Good Book), it raises more questions than it answers. Like many a good boKarl Marlantes has written a good book. Like many a good book (including the Good Book), it raises more questions than it answers. Like many a good book (including the Good Book) it is a prophetic word (“a real deed”)—one that comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.
I’ve been hearing that combat veterans experience Marlantes’ book as life giving, and that many combat veterans have experienced it as a true life saver. I can see how that is so. Marlantes is open and honest about his ego-shattering, soul-crushing experiences related to his service as a Marine in combat in Vietnam—a story that includes his early years growing up in Oregon, his recruitment and military training, his tour of duty, his return home, and his decades-long search for emotional and spiritual healing and wholeness.
I can imagine how a miner trapped by a cave-in, alone in the dark, injured, suffocating, might feel to hear a tapping in the rocks that says, “We are here for you!” And I can imagine that’s how it is for a combat veteran reading Marlantes’ book. It’s a good book. And it’s doing a good work.
It is also a profoundly disturbing book. And that also makes it a good book doing a good work. The book is disturbing on many levels. It is a disturbing unveiling (an apocalypsis) of the systemic evil that is our military-industrial complex. It is a disturbing tally of the cost of war in terms of lives lost and humanity lost. It is a disturbing wakeup call to our society’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the true evil of war, the true cost of war, and (Marlantes argues) the true need for war and our true responsibility to our warriors.
It is also a disturbing gaze into the spiritually bankrupt state of our modern religious institutions. There is the story of an ineffectual Navy chaplain. There is the story of a Catholic priest who attempts to expel demons, only to stir up an evil presence, requiring the urgent intervention of a Native American healer. Furthermore, in telling his story, in living it out, Marlantes has delved into philosophy, depth psychology, mythology (Hindu, Greek, Norse), and mysticism―as if to say, Sunday School isn’t the answer.
But what is the answer? Out of his years of pain and reflection, Marlantes has hard-won wisdom to offer on the subject of equipping a new breed of warrior to meet the horrific emotional and spiritual dangers of modern warfare. But the wisdom he offers is itself disturbing. If our society were enlightened enough to apply Marlantes’ wisdom, we would already have all the wisdom we need to solve our problems without resorting to war. Though Marlantes argues for the necessity of war and the necessity of a new warrior, if you do the math, he is really arguing for the necessity of learning the way to reconciliation and the necessity of becoming a new humanity. And he takes us partway there.
A recurring theme for Marlantes is that to enter combat is to enter the temple of Mars. Marlantes closes his book by taking us to Mars Hill, the Areopagus in Athens, where he wants us to consider how the work of war is also the work of justice and the work of democracy. Marlantes doesn’t mention this, but there was a famous speech at the Areopagus two thousand years ago that includes words that are especially poignant in the context of Marlantes’ spiritual odyssey:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17: 25-28a NIV).
I rate this book a 3 because I vacillate between giving it a 4 or a 2.
A respected pastor and celebrated author commits adultery and is not found out.I rate this book a 3 because I vacillate between giving it a 4 or a 2.
A respected pastor and celebrated author commits adultery and is not found out. He moves from Florida to California to accept a position as the president of a prestigious theological seminary. He confesses his adultery to his wife, is divorced, marries the other woman, enters therapy, and sometime later is found out. Then the guano hits the fan.
This book is that pastor’s account of his wrenching emotional struggle during his passage through the meat girder of public humiliation. His reflections are organized around a series of meditations on the pelicans he observes during his frequent times alone on a Florida beach.
In The Wisdom of Pelicans, Donald McCullough challenges we Christians to face up to our awesome responsibility, when sinned against, to put away judgment and to minister forgiveness and restoration.
How to do that is more fully addressed in other books by other authors: for example, Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes, I Married You by Walter Trobisch, and Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs....more