Spirit Matters by Michael Lerner

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Synopsis

Stock options and high earnings are no replacement for a sense of meaning and purpose for one's life. Living in a society whose "bottom line" is "looking out for number one" has undermined friendships, made relationships difficult, produced alienation and loneliness-and has been used to justify corporate social irresponsibility and environmental destructiveness. Selfishness and materialism permeate our relationships in work and in personal life, while we are taught to keep our spiritual life and our moral vision away from the public sphere.

Spirit Matters shows how deeply we've been hurt personally, emotionally, ecologically, and politically by living in a world that systematically represses our spiritual needs-and how we might create a personal life and society that embodies what Michael Lerner describes as an Emancipatory Spirituality. It is a spirituality that affirms that there is enough, that generosity, atonement, joy, and celebration of the grandeur of the universe can be basic building blocks in constructing our own lives together. Spirit Matters demonstrates that the time is now to stop compromising with a world whose fundamentals are so far from our own highest values and begin to create the world we privately tell ourselves we really believe in.

Don't be misled by the easy and accessible style of Lerner's writings: Spirit Matters is a profound new contribution to social theory and spiritual practice, and a new framework for thinking about childhood, loving relationships, the world of work, politics, law, education, and ecology. It is on the cutting edge of contemporary thought and yet speaks to the heart and soul.

Spirit Matters speaks both to people who have tended to think that "spirit" is an empty category for religious zealots or a reactionary tool of repression, as well as to those who take spirituality seriously in their personal lives but who have yet realized that their spiritual practice could be the basis for a fundamental transformation of the world.
 

About Michael Lerner

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Michael Lerner is the editor of "TIKKUN "magazine and rabbi of the neo-Hasidic Beyt Tikkun Jewish Renewal synagogue in San Francisco. His most recent book, "Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul," was selected as "one of the most significant books of 2000" by the Los Angeles Times Book Review and won a PEN award. His previous writings include "Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin," a dialogue with Cornel West, and "Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation" (described by Conservative Judaism journal as "stunning, miraculous and faith-renewing"). Rabbi Lerner, designated by "Utne Reader" as one of America's 100 Most Important Visionaries, has been featured in the "New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, "and "Newsweek," He holds Ph.D.s in philosophy and clinical psychology.
 
Published May 31, 2000 by Walsch Books. 385 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Philosophy, Self Help, Education & Reference, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Too many of Lerner’s fine sentiments and proposals (for sharing resources equitably, forcing corporations and nations to be accountable for social and environmental sins, and reforming law and education) are hortatory rather than specific, and his spirituality in general has too many syllables to...

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Publishers Weekly

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His theoretical arguments are compelling and well considered, particularly as he traces the history of the horrors we have reaped from collectively denying the Spirit, and readers will no doubt appreciate his exercises in becoming more open to the Spirit.

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Spirituality & Practice

In the closing pages of Spirit Matters, the author outlines a Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, sets forward his ideas on a new political party, and presents his efforts to create a network of spiritually oriented professionals from all walks of life to work together on th...

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