- The journey of enlightenment in any religion involves shedding not collecting; it is a constant process of letting go of more and more defences until you are spiritually naked.
- The cure for anyone’s sense of emptiness, loneliness, and shame is to feel God’s unconditional love and acceptance.
- Overall, evolution’s direction is from pre-personal to personal to transpersonal; from pre-rational to rational to trans-rational; from id to ego to spirit. For example: from subconscious (dog) to conscious (human) to superconscious (divinized human).
- The problem with scientific methods is they can seduce us to think that all truth can be reduced to observable data, and therefore God and the great religious traditions of the world are irrelevant – humans are self-sufficient. However, these methods cannot penetrate the intimate, personal meaning of essential experiences of life such as suffering, sex, death, and the search for meaning itself. Nor can they give us answers to life’s biggest questions such as why are we here? where are we going? Is life and the universe essentially trustworthy?
- Nine seemingly good things that can become key temptations if you overdo them: striving for perfection (where nothing is ever good enough); helping others (to the point of burning yourself out); efficiency (when you ignore the needs of those right in front of you); authenticity (sharing too much of yourself when it is not appropriate); knowledge (dwelling only in your mind); security (being afraid to try anything new); idealism (to the point of losing touch with messy reality); striving for justice (to the point of always being angry about everything); self-deprecation (to becoming a doormat).
- The Church, rather than being, as Karl Marx wrote: an “opiate of the masses,” should be a radically counter-cultural force challenging the prevailing ethic of consumption that is destroying our planet.
- Religion is for those afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have been there.
2. Henri Nouwen saw dogma as peripheral to his task of spiritual renewal of all Christians. He appeals to both conservatives and progressives because he focuses on everyone’s deep spiritual longing: to live a life centred on God.
3. The new cosmic story, where humans are at the centre and cutting edge of cosmic evolution, calls us to wake up from the despair and meaninglessness of the postmodern era.