Spiritual Literacy at Midlife


  The Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy describes the key spiritual practices -- from attention to zeal -- that spell the meaning in daily life. Here is the book to share with your children, family, colleagues, and friends as you explore together the bounties of the spiritual life.

-- From the back cover of Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life


This girl I've been dating bought me a book - not my 

birthday, or anything. Just out of the blue, this book 

arrives to invade my home with its 

superior winks, accusatory nods, it's sly, I'm a gift, pal, 

you'll never escape me... It knows its power. It stares 

right through me from the coffee table; its mandorla eyes 

follow me from room to room, its happy rainbow 

cover, humid day by August day, 

curling in a smug, enlightened smile. Spiritual 

Literacy, it hisses as I switch on the tube, Reading 

the Sacred in Everyday Life. I swear I'll read it 

someday, when the laundry's done, the dishes dry, 

the cat box clean, this poem complete, the new Fall Season 

tried and found insipid once again. I have nothing 

against anyone's religion, New Age or Old. But my own 

irrepressibly Enquiring Mind embraced Life's 

Mystery Compleat when I was ten: You, Too 

Can Contact UFOs, Ghost Dog Invades 

Elated Owner's Pantry, Bigfoot Sighted...

just about anywhere. That stuff's too rich 

a legacy to trade for anybody's "Truth." Rub the Buddha 

for Luck and Money! should count for something 

spiritual. I sent my dollar. That book is begging 

hard for a piece of my mind. I'm wondering what it says 

about that girl, about who she thinks I am, or could be 

with training. I'm wondering 

if there's going to be a quiz before sex 

becomes a real possibility. I'm wondering if there's a chapter 

in that book on Tantra... I have my own selective Spiritual 

Literacy, by God(s). And I'm wondering 

why this all, in the end, doesn't bother me more. When I was twenty

I surely would have sweated on this deal. These days, 

I'm barely warming up. At midlife, the deal 

is all too insidiously clear: That book is hungry 

to make a meal of something precious, and that girl 

for even more.  And suddenly I'm wondering 

what that book would see with its Sacred Everyday 

eyes face down in the carrot peels and cans, the scooped-out 

litter clumps that populate my trash. You can bet it won't be 

NASA Photo: Virgin Mary Alive On Mars! I know 

Sacred when I see it. That one 

went straight into my permanent collection.

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