Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Review: The Search for Spirituality

The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for a Spiritual Life
by Ursula King
New York: Bluebridge, 2008

Ursula King, professor emerita of theology and religious studies at the University of Bristol, is to be commended for tackling such a far-reaching topic as spirituality from a global perspective. In the introduction to "The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for a Spiritual Life," King acknowledges that this book is intended as a "modest introduction to very large, complex realities and experiences."

King attempts to define spirituality by what it does as opposed to what it is. Spirituality is a "lived experience . . .which seeks the fullness of life - a life of justice and peace, of integrating body, mind, and soul, a life that touches the hem of the spirit in the midst of all our struggles of living in a world that has become even more globally interdependent, yet is so painfully torn apart."

King explores spirituality in light of several factors that influence one's experience of the world. Among these are religious traditions, life stages, education and health, gender, and ecological concerns. For each of these, she offers a brief overview of the historical contributions to understanding spirituality from these various perspectives, and then proceeds to describe and investigate the state of understanding today. There is also a discussion of the challenges that remain.

King succeeds in her mission to offer an introduction to global spirituality. The "Search for Spirituality" offers more questions than answers and should be used as a jumping-off point for further discovery and discussion. To assist in that end, King has provided a lengthy resource list which is very helpful.

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