Victor Parachin is a Disciples of Christ minister and author of a dozen books including Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds, which we named as one of S&P's Best Spiritual Books of 2007. He has written another paperback that impresses with its interspiritual flair and its deep appreciation for mysticism.
Parachin quotes the French philosopher Louis Claude de St. Martin who said: "All mystics speak the same language, for they come from the same country." That could certainly be said for the eleven spiritual mentors he has chosen. They are:
• Dorothy Day (Social Conscience of American Catholics)
• Thich Nhat Hanh (Engaged Spirituality)
• Ben Salmon (Catholic Conscientious Objector of the "Great War"
• Bede Griffiths (Christian Guru)
• Abraham Heschel (Militant Mystic)
• Oscar Romero (Voice of the Voiceless)
• Etty Hillesum (Concentration Camp Mystic)
• Caryll Houselander (Neurotic Mystic)
• John XXIII (Mystic Pope)
• Thea Bowman (Soulful Mystic)
• Eknath Easwaran (Inter-religious Mystic)
There are so many mysteries that we encounter in our lives: God, human nature, the ties which bind us together, the goodness that brings tears to our eyes, and the disasters and catastrophes which lie beyond reason. Not to mention the uncertainty of weather and the complications of all our technological toys. Parachin has delivered us into the hands of eleven twentieth-century mystics who know how to blend contemplation with action. They model for us the commendable life of service and the joy of spiritual practice with others.
Parachin presents a brief portrait of each person along with a selection of quotations from their writings and, best of all, actions we can take to be like them. For example here are the actions you can take to follow in the footsteps of Pope John XXIII:
1. Live with a sacred optimism.
2. Ask others to pray for you.
3. Curtail criticism.
4. Practice self-restraint.
5. Read biographies of spiritual lives.
6. Practice what you preach.
7. Be kind.
8. Observe yourself.
9. Remember: you are a role model.
10. Don't take yourself too seriously.