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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
A Guide to the Changing Landscape
Paulist Press 01/00 Paperback $11.95
Thomas Hart is a teacher, counselor, and spiritual director in Seattle, Washington. He notes at the outset of this succinct and soul-stretching work: "I would like to enrich the new spiritual quest with the wealth of insight and experience stored in the Christian tradition. At the same time, I would like to prod the established churches to a challenging but exhilarating resurrection."
Hart begins with chapters on the new cosmology and fresh ways of envisioning God. In the latter, he speaks of the Holy One in the depth of things and as the silent presence deep within us. Hart describes Jesus as a trailblazer and a lover who lives for service of others. Defining spirituality as "a relationship with the mystery," the author delineates various ways we can experience God in the midst of everyday life. I was impressed with Hart's view of churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues as spirituality centers. He also salutes the ways in which Christians can incorporate elements from other religions into their own repertoire of practices. A chapter on sexuality links spirituality to this important aspect of our lives.
Hart concludes with the concrete principles for the undergirding of a healthy Christianity including (1) God often appears in a human face, (2) God's will for us is found within our own deepest wanting, and (3) good people are in danger of being destroyed by their own goodness. Spiritual Quest is an invaluable resource for adult study groups in Catholic and Protestant congregations.
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