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Emerson's Essays

Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo EmersonSelected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first read a few of these essays when I was a sophomore, which seems like the perfect age to do so. When life is full of newness and potential, and we are making choices as to who we are going to become.

I read a little Emerson again a few years later during one of the anniversaries, when there was some Emerson focused events go on.

This reading comes in my very long project of re-reading through the canon in chronological order. And, this time, some resonated and some didn't. You can't accuse him of consistency. Some ideas seemed immature or disproven by the subsequent centuries, while others remain intoxicating. Clearly reading Emerson is still essential to understanding the American character.

One line that really resonated in my reading today was that there are always folks who think they know better how to do your job. Since he was clergy, that really connected with my own experience.

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The Deep Blue Good-By

The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee, #1)The Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

MacDonald was recommended to me by a new friend. Not my usual reading, but I did enjoy it. I did not expect the intense ending. So the story held some surprises that made me respect it more. I really loved his descriptions of various things. For instance, the scene when Lois crawls into Travis's bed was SO well written. And sexy.

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The Meaning of Mary Magdalene

The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of ChristianityThe Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fascinating and wonderful book, that I wish I had read earlier. Not only does it go a long way to recovering the role of Mary Magdalene, but it opens up fabulous new ways of looking at key Christian ideas and practices, and has many helpful practical suggestions for liturgy and ministry.

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Varieties of Spiritual Experience

The Varieties of Spiritual Experience: 21st Century Research and PerspectivesThe Varieties of Spiritual Experience: 21st Century Research and Perspectives by David B Yaden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About fifteen years ago I remember reading an article about the use of brain science to study religious experiences and was fascinated. I thought then that if I ever went back to get another academic degree, it would be something in that field. But beyond that initial interest I never did follow up.

So it was good to read this review of all the current research and hear about promising ideas for the future.

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