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Hymns to an Unknown God


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About the Author

Sam Keen is a noted author and lecturer who has written thirteen books on philosophy and religion. He earned graduate degrees from the Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University, and spent twenty years working as an editor of Psychology Today. Keen coproduced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Faces of the Enemy, and was the subject of a PBS special with Bill Moyers entitled Your Mythic Journey with Sam Keen. When not writing or traveling around the world lecturing and giving seminars on a wide range of topics, Keen cuts wood, tends to his farm in the hills above Sonoma, takes long hikes, and practices the flying trapeze.


Keen (Fire in the Belly, LJ 2/15/91) provides a wonderfully celebratory guide to spiritual growth. He charts the spiritual path as beginning with psychological cleansing, "peeling away the myths and illusions that have misinformed us," a phase wherein "men and women follow opposite and complementary paths to recover what was denied in their adolescent sundering into gender." Next there is a journey common to both genders toward "the Unknown God to whom we may surrender," a journey increasingly outward from self to God, to other people, to the ecological commonwealth, to global community, to the terror and trust of death. His final chapter provides rituals for consecrating our days so that they become hymns to the mysterious God. Highly recommended for public and seminary libraries.

"Sam Keen is one of our liveliest minds. It's a joy to go with him as a guide to the byways of the soul in the search for greater meaning in life."
-- Daniel Goleman, author of The Meditative Mind

"Sam Keen breathes pure life into the spiritual void we all may feel at times. . . his hymns and philosophical groundnotes contain the power to help heal the split -- that nameless separation -- that divides us from our world and from ourselves."
-- Clarissa Pinkola Estes, bestselling author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Defining the quest to unlock spirituality as ``the reverse of the religious pilgrimage,'' bestselling author Sam Keen ( Fire in the Belly ) nonetheless sets out immediately to blend Eastern and Western religious traditions with philosophy, psychology and autobiography. The result is a New Age-ish ``now-and-then spiritual journey'' whose indirect path may result in confusion for questers seeking less amorphous guidance. Ambiguity is implicit even in Keen's naming of the unknown god--``some missing value, some absent purpose, some new meaning, some presence of the sacred''; and Keen sees a constant questioning of religious authority as essential to spiritual transcendence. ``A soulful life,'' Keen posits, ``is more about getting rhythm and tuning into the music of the spheres than it is about getting the words correct.'' To further aid this quest in an era emerging from the 20th century's frayed ``technological-economic myth of progress,'' the author offers a ``spiritual bull-shit detector'' as well as rituals for consecrating sex and work, family and other relationships, local communities and the global environment. (July)

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