Finding God in All the Wrong Places
Spirituality is full of rules. You need to find your own way straight through them.
Will tattoos and convertibles keep you from finding "true" spiritual fulfillment?
Some people claim that you cannot truly achieve spiritual fulfillment if you’re not a vegetarian. Some say you’ll never find the path if you don’t learn yoga. And some would insist that any display of vanity—cosmetic surgery! hair mousse!—is a sign that inner peace is way out of your reach.
With great candor and humor (much of it irreverent!), Dan Wakefield’s Spiritually Incorrect shows that there are as many ways to find spiritual fulfillment as there are individual seekers. Part memoir, part essay, part whimsical illustration from his own life, Wakefield’s reflections break down the barriers that lie in the way of spiritual fulfillment, showing you that rules were made to be broken, and how it’s possible—and imperative—for you to discover a rewarding spiritual life that fits your own personality, your own path.
In this age of political correctness and watching what we say, award-winning author Dan Wakefield dares to ask the risky (and sometimes hilarious) questions about spirituality:
Why is poverty sacred, wealth profane? Can a coffee house be a sacred space? Does yoga make you a Hindu? Can a man pray in public and still be "macho"? Does eating a steak really taint your soul? Who in our lives and our modern day world deserves to be canonized as a saint?
Wakefield’s creative exploration of these questions is a quest to free the spiritual world from pretension, anxiety, and the seemingly endless rules that can dictate how you identify (or don’t) with religion. Humorous stories from his own spiritually incorrect journey to God punctuate Wakefield’s ultimate revelation that spirituality is not about conforming to a set of rules, but rather discovering the practices that uniquely work for you.
Although Wakefield culls these essays from, among other sources, his Beliefnet column "Spiritually Incorrect," the titular concept remains rather vague throughout the book. In his introduction, he gives several examples of being spiritually incorrect, such as getting a facelift, owning a convertible and having a tattoo. His explanation of who finds these practices spiritually incorrect is a bit labored and confused; at times, he seems to be rebelling against "my fellow Christians who are of the fundamentalist persuasion" and at other times he seems more interested in scandalizing yoga-practicing vegetarians. Most chapters are very brief; they introduce an idea (some of which, such as the spiritual correctness of taking Prozac, are no longer very controversial), include a few observations and then simply end. For example, in a chapter that rather curiously employs a question-and-answer format (it's not clear if this is from an advice column he has written), Wakefield discusses whether or not it is "spiritually incorrect" to eat steak. He begins by decrying the rigidity and judgment of some vegetarians and then meanders into a comparison of the relative merits of low and high carbohydrate diets, and then the chapter ends. Several other chapters in the book suffer from a similar lack of focus and substance. The final third is a gem, however, with several profiles of spiritually incorrect "saints" such as Dorothy Day, Henry Nouwen and Reynolds Price. These are people Wakefield knows or has known personally, and his insight into their lives is the strongest element of the book.