4 out of 4 stars
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Spirituality in the 21st Century is a helpful and encouraging book about spiritual development written by Frank P. Daversa.
The book has fifteen chapters besides the Introduction and is written for those who are starting out on their spiritual journeys and those who are wanting to enhance the spiritual part of their lives. It is designed to provide hope and guidance toward spiritual discovery and, ultimately, toward spiritual enlightenment. It is written based on the author’s Christian faith but does not adhere to any specific religious denomination.
The author defines spirituality as having a close and personal relationship with God and the universe. Among the topics he discusses include default path, spiritual growth, spiritual enlightenment, success, love, relationships, and death. He also enumerates the five fundamental principles of spiritual enlightenment (accept God into your life and Jesus Christ as your salvation; complete your formal education; learn more about yourself, your health, and mental well-being; learn more about the needs of others; and learn more about the natural environment in which we live); the five C’s in marriage (compatibility, communication, compassion, commitment, and compromise), the seven deadly sins (wrath, greed, envy, pride, lust, sloth, and gluttony) as well as the seven heavenly virtues (patience, charity, kindness, humility, chastity, diligence, and temperance).
He stresses the importance of family and education, the difference between karma and spiritual path, and the difference between wants and needs. He cites Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama as real-life models of faith, love, and compassion. Moreover, he offers advice on how to solve the problem of global warming, overpopulation, and environmental degradation.
Admittedly, this is far from what I expected from a book about spirituality. Instead of emotive accounts about supernatural experiences supplemented by Bible verses, this book seems more like an academically written handbook on various issues including environmental issues, social issues and consumerism among others. It emphasizes the need to overcome personal challenges for spiritual growth and the truth behind the pursuit of success as measured in terms of wealth, fame, and power.
Naturally, the most important part of the book is the discussion of the five fundamental principles of spiritual enlightenment. Thankfully, the explanation is comprehensive and by sharing his personal experiences, the author makes the book relatable. The part I like the most is spirituality itself as conceptualized by the author. Oftentimes, being religious is mistaken for being spiritual. I agree with the author that spirituality is knowing oneself, knowing God and having a relationship with Him, knowing what one can do for others, and knowing what he can do for the natural environment.
Though the book sounds a little subjective, I enjoyed it a lot. I find it practical, unpretentious, liberal, accepting, non-judgmental, and applicable to everyone. However, other readers may find the load of information overwhelming. Moreover, the author’s opinion on issues like cohabitation, homosexuality, existence of other intelligent life forms, and reincarnation may be viewed as unorthodox.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is well-written, interesting, informative, and encouraging. I recommend it to readers who enjoy books about spirituality.
Spirituality in the 21st Century
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