Item description for Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism by Jay McDaniel...
Overview How do we fit the life of the spirit into an existence overwhelmed by overconsumption? McDaniel draws on diverse sources, Christian traditions, and the modern world to explore a spirituality that embraces sustainability in day-to-day life. Using stories and images from poetry, he offers an understanding of spirituality through wisdom, compassion, and inner freedom.
Publishers Description How do we fit the life of the spirit into an existence overwhelmed by overconsumption? Using stories and images from poetry, Jay McDaniel offers an understanding of spirituality through wisdom, compassion, and inner freedom.
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Studio: Chalice Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.38" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2000
Publisher Chalice Press
ISBN 0827221304 ISBN13 9780827221307
Availability 0 units.
More About Jay McDaniel
Jay McDaniel is professor of religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He is the author of Gandhi's Hope: Learning from Other Religions as a Path to Peace (Orbis 2005) and Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism (Chalice 2000). McDaniel is director of New Horizons: Center for Study of World Religions and Science and the Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy, both of which are based at Hendrix College
Jay McDaniel currently resides in Conway. Jay McDaniel was born in 1949.
Reviews - What do customers think about Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism?
My highest recommendation Apr 14, 2005
I was fortunate enough to have Dr. McDaniel for several classes in college, and I came into the first class, an introduction to the world's various religions, as a wounded product of a strict Baptist upbringing. That year, Dr. McDaniel introduced me to a way of accepting all religions and all forms of spirituality as part of the same beautiful tapestry. He introduced me to hidden beauty in Christianity, which I had forgotten existed, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judiasm, and places in between. In the years to come, other classes with Dr. McDaniel showed me how spirituality can rejuvinate and enhance our everyday lives. After graduation, I experienced a difficult time in my life, and by chance stumbled upon this book in a local store. I devoured it in once night, making notes throughout. It spoke directly to a part of me that was starved for spiritual food and had been burned by organized religion. One reviewer here noted that it is as if McDaniel is creating his own religion. I think he would take that as a compliment, and in some ways that is the greatest thing you can do with spirituality... make it your own and make it personal. This book rescued me literally and taught me to appreciate the divine in everyday life, and I highly, highly recommend it. If Jesus and Buddha had a conversation, the result would be something like what McDaniel says in this wonderful work. I'm waiting for more, Dr. McDaniel!!!
Not Buddism, not Christianity. What is it? Sep 19, 2003
The author is obviously quite heavily influenced by Buddhism. He often mentions, for example, what are in Buddhism called "The Three Poisons": greed, anger and delusion. You want to stay away from them.
But he certainly doesn't push Buddhism. His main aim seems to be to add meditation practices to Christianity--which for many Christian contemplatives, have always been present--and that makes perfect sense. Trying to be more present with one's children and spouse, slower to anger, more responsive and less reactive--those aren't really "Buddhist" in any sense other than Buddhism stresses meditation, which is the main instrument to attain those goals. So it's not really a Buddhist book, but rather a meditation book for Christians, perhaps (with lots of politics thrown in).
His anti-consumerist argument seems, from a Buddhist point of view, rather beside the point. We can get caught up in all sorts of stuff that isn't good for us. Compulsive shopping is a problem because it's compulsive, not because it's shopping. Granted, television pushes consumerism, but then the problem is really one of watching too much TV. As for the economics in the book, I wasn't impressed. All that "community-owned businesses" stuff is fine for us middle-class folks, for example. But I guarantee that when the poor people want to buy cheap clothes for their kids they don't care whether WalMart is a multi-national or a multi-vitamin: they want cheap clothes. And locally owned businesses don't tend to provide that; that's why they keep going out of business. So he should stick to theology.
My big question: just where is the Christianity in the book? That is, it doesn't seem to be really a Buddhist book OR a Christian book. He seems to be trying to make up his own religion as he goes along, without really telling us what to do with the old religion, or, really, what the new religion has to do with Christianity.
He says several times that he is a "recovering Fundamentalist," which seemed a gratuitous insult, but that's not my main complaint. If he's not a literalist, then what is he? If the Bible is not meant to be read literally, then how should we read it? How are we supposed to read, say, the Resurrection? That's the obvious big question, and he never really addresses it. Okay, let's not read the scriptures literally. But then what? You don't want to end up with some watered-down, cafeteria-tray meal of Christianity (or Buddhism--I'm wrestling with this myself), so what does one do? He doesn't even start to address that. I'm not being fair, perhaps, because that's a big theological question, but he seems to open himself up for just that criticism. So he jettisons rather crucial aspects of Christianity (God, for example), without replacing them with much other than meditation practice.
If I had written the book--the inevitable six words in
any review--I would have said something like this. "Be a Fundamentalist. Be whatever type of Christian you want. But you can benefit from these meditation practices and principles." I'm cheating, because that's pretty much what the Dalai Lama says.
Breathtaking! Mar 13, 2001
Jay McDaniel does the near impossible with this long awaited book on spirituality: he manages to speak to our minds, our souls, our hearts, and our culture in one integrated, beautiful work. He speaks from the perspective of a Christian process theology which lends itself both to the mystical beauty of the contemplative movement and all the loving kindness of Buddhism. His critique of our consumer culture does not end with what's wrong, but offers an alternative that is rich, compelling, and Christian in the best sense of the word. I found his original, imaginative language to describe God (e.g.Open Space, The Freshness Deep Down, Sacred Whole)refreshing in a world of burned out images and buzz words. Like looking at piece of art, there were breathless moments in the reading of this book. A true masterpiece in the field of spirituality!