God is No Laughing Matter

God is No Laughing Matter
Julia Cameron
2000, Tarcher/Putnam
3.5 out of 5

I picked this book up for $5 (a bargain bin discount from its normal $20 price tag) at a local Books-A-Million. I liked the cover art and the title, and that’s basically all I needed to get me curious. For $5, how can you say no?

We’ve been trained to think by Amazon.com, magazines, and so on that anything below a 4 is abysmal; a 4 is “ok” and a 5 is “reasonably good”. Not me, friends. If I say “5”, it’s a must-have (for the topic, of course); a “4” is really very good, while a “3” is worth reading.

This book earned it’s 3.5 with wit and humor on a topic too often taken deadly serious. Julia Cameron provides some lovely insight into numerous different topics of spiritual interest. Her experience is mostly colored by her Catholic upbringing and her New Age sensibilities, so be warned going in. Those factors do not discolor the experience, but instead make it more vibrant and lively. She does not hide her perspective, but puts it front-and-center for context. Everything from too-stern spiritual teachers to learning to relax in God, this book covers a lot of ground.

There are three issues I have with this book. Only two of major, but the minor one is a bit of a pet peeve.

First, while I liked the fact that she put her own spiritual background on the line, it at times becomes a problem because she assumes that everybody shares her Catholic “God-as-Big-Cuddly-Parent” theology. While I feel that the Divine can manifest in this way, to paint everybody else’s spiritual experiences in this way is to miss a lot of depth.

Second, the exercises she provides are… pretty much the same every time, and not terribly deep or revealing. “Answer five questions” or “fill in some columns on a chart” and *BOOM!*, your relationship with God is fully defined and your work here is done.

The pet peeve is, as and have pointed out, endemic to occult, Pagan, and spiritual literature: they don’t cite their freaking sources! Cameron makes references to numerous books, poems, films, and so forth but never actually tells you which book she’s referring to!

In general, this book was a worthy purchase and a good, quick read. As the 3.5 attests, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but look for it used or in the bargain bin.

Published in: on September 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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