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God is No Laughing Matter

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In God Is No Laughing Matter, bestselling author Julia Cameron takes a witty, powerfully honest, and irreverent look at the culture of "spirituality" today and offers insight to enable readers to determine their personal spiritual path. The important thing to remember, she says, is that God is both more humorous and more humane than we've been taught.

With her trademark "sparkling prose" (Publishers Weekly), anecdotes, and helpful techniques, Cameron's thought-provoking essays ...

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God is No Laughing Matter

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In God Is No Laughing Matter, bestselling author Julia Cameron takes a witty, powerfully honest, and irreverent look at the culture of "spirituality" today and offers insight to enable readers to determine their personal spiritual path. The important thing to remember, she says, is that God is both more humorous and more humane than we've been taught.

With her trademark "sparkling prose" (Publishers Weekly), anecdotes, and helpful techniques, Cameron's thought-provoking essays paint the spiritual journey in a refreshingly clear light. Addressing the way in which spiritual "experts" have clouded the message, her book shows readers how to improve concentration and how to make conscious choices that heighten their individual autonomy as well as enrich their lives and their communities.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Ellsworth
This provocative and irreverent book deconstructs the culture of spirituality without drawing blood. Cameron offers a refreshingly sassy and sensitive first-hand look at our desperate search for soul and how we can better enrich our lives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585421282
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,406,588
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Blind Date

Most of us don't know where to start with God. We've got a lot of excess baggage and expectations and "God As Told to Us By" and it can feel an awful lot like a Blind Date.

The trick with God -- just like with Blind Dates -- is to suit up and show up. Who knows? God might turn out to be tall and handsome. Or blond and curvy. Someone you might really like. Somebody you can actually talk to and go salsa dancing with. Somebody who gets your jokes and likes the same terrible Japanese monster movies that you do.

The point is that until you try to meet God, you aren't going to know. If your earphones are unspooling the "Here's what God is like" tapes of everybody else, the Spiritual Big Cheeses, you might miss God disguised as the nice trash man who takes your extra load of stuff without making you phone in to bureaucracy hell for another truck and driver. You might miss God as the red-winged blackbird or the shiny river stone. You might miss God, period.

Much of what you learn about God in this country runs along the lines of "God is no laughing matter." I'm not so sure about that. I think God might have a pretty good sense of humor. Look at octopuses, for example. And baboons, with those hilarious bright red asses. Yes, sometimes I think we are the ones who are grim and God is just pacing around cloud nine, waiting for us to lighten up a little. It's possible.


The world of Spirit is open to all who seek it. "My Father's house has many mansions," taught Christ. Yet, many of us remain locked in the room of our childhood. As adults, we may be stifled by our unconscious acceptance of a God concept we have long since outgrown. The following questions are aimed at clarifying God as you understand God.

  1. What was your childhood religion, if any?
  2. What was the spiritual atmosphere in your home?
  3. What did your mother teach you about God?
  4. What did your father teach you about God?
  5. Describe your childhood God using at least ten adjectives.
  6. Is this still the God you believe in?
  7. What is your current concept of God?
  8. Describe your ideal God concept using at least twenty adjectives.
  9. Write a prayer.
  10. Set aside a half hour. Take yourself out of the house. Do something small and festive. Walk, window-shop, enjoy a cappuccino. Sit on a park bench. Be alert to encounter God in any form. This is your blind date.
Copyright © 2000 by Julia Cameron. All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents

God Is No Laughing Matter Introduction
Blind Date
Conscious Contact
Catch-up Ball
Very Spiritual People
Spiritual Cellulite
Spiritual Experts—How Many Angels Can Dance In This Joint?
Extreme Skiers
Higher Companions
Spiritually Correct
You're Too Smart for All of That God Stuff
Parent Bashing
God's Will
Bad Julie
In A Spiritual Kind of Way
Buddha Pests
New Age Rage
The Sound Track
Appropriately Complex
Dunk in the Barrell
My Funny Valentine
Spiritual Vampires
Spiritual Seduction
Spiritual Waifs
The Fame Game
Slick Velocity
New Age Healing
12-Step Programs
Spirituality Salesman
God as We Understand God
Comedy Versus Tragedy
Dope-Dealer God
Drop the Rock
Love Letters
Roots and Wings

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2000

    Lighten Up for Better Spiritual Connections!

    Ms. Cameron gives an excellent introduction to this book when she says, 'You may not find this book you hold in your hands very spiritual -- but you'll probably find it spirited.' She has tried to make the book 'hardheaded, softhearted, and playful.' For example, in one section she wonders if God likes to cha-cha. Some may find her approach irreverent, but I found it informal rather in a way that will make spirituality more accessible to those who spirits are already burdened. For me, the book was very successful and expanded my spiritual awareness. The book is organized into a series of brief essays, sometimes combined with excellent poems, and followed with experiments, exercises and/or explorations. Each of these sections could have easily been expanded into a whole book. So there is enough material here to keep you spiritually engaged for years. I did a number of exercises and found them to be both helpful and inspiring. Many of these exercises provide ways to recapture your spirituality by better connecting to what is going on around you. As she points out, since we have left rural living, we have become disconnected from nature . . . which normally serves to keep us spiritually grounded. Ms. Cameron has been through some pain in her life, which she shares openly. She often disputed what her teachers had to say in parochial school, and spent lots of time in the principal's office as a result. At 29, she was divorced. Now, she is a sober alcoholic. So her advice to lighten up comes from someone who knows the heavier sides of life quite well. To me, the best part of the book is the magnificence of a single summary phrase that she embeds in every essay . . . that totally encompasses the essay. For example, she likens coming closer to God in 'Blind Date' to having to 'suit up and show up' as you would to start off a blind date. In 'Higher Companions' she introduces you to 'believing mirrors.' In 'Kindness' she tells you that 'good is present and active.' In 'Dope-Dealer God' you are encouraged to 'ask for some help.' 'Family' is expressed as 'I believe in helping hands.' 'Faith' is 'oversold' because 'Saints commit.' In 'Parent Bashing' she points out that 'Honoring our lineage honors ourselves.' I wrote down one or two such phrases from each essay, and will keep them with me to remind me how to rekindle my spirituality. These phrases are great gifts within a great book. The book is neatly summarized in her final poem, 'Roots and Wings.' She asserts that all of our various spiritual practices have more in common than we realize. 'The listening heart is home. If you take that word apart, You'll find it's built on 'om.'' (The 'om' reference is to the sound that many use during meditation in Eastern methods of connecting to God.) 'We -- each of us -- are traveling Our own way back home, We are all unraveling The mystery of 'om.'' I especially enjoyed this book for exposing many of my assumptions about God and spirituality that I had never examined before. I suspect that I am one of those people who takes this whole area a little too seriously for the good of my own spirituality. After finishing the book, I walked out to discover a magnificent sunset that pointed me in the direction home. That experience was clearly a message to me that I will heed for some time to come. As Ms. Cameron says in 'Conscious Contact,' 'we just need to be more open.' After you have finished this book and done its exercises, experiments and explorations, I encourage you to write an essay like one of these that expresses your inner sense of spirituality. Include your own exercises at the end. Then share what you have written with a friend. Hopefully, the friend will later do the same for you. Have a wonderful spiritual journey!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2009

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