I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and Other Disguises of the Ego [NOOK Book]

Overview

Flashes of insight-surprising, entertaining, inspiring-from one of the most creative spiritual thinkers in America.

"The goal of all spiritual life is to get your ego out of the way-outwit the sucker; dissolve it; shoot it; kill it. Silence the incessant planning, organizing, running, manipulating, possessing, and processing that are the ineluctable redoubts of the ego. Not because these activities are bad or wrong or even narcissistic . . . ...
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I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and Other Disguises of the Ego

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Overview

Flashes of insight-surprising, entertaining, inspiring-from one of the most creative spiritual thinkers in America.

"The goal of all spiritual life is to get your ego out of the way-outwit the sucker; dissolve it; shoot it; kill it. Silence the incessant planning, organizing, running, manipulating, possessing, and processing that are the ineluctable redoubts of the ego. Not because these activities are bad or wrong or even narcissistic . . . but because they preclude awareness of the Divine. To paraphrase the Talmud, God says, 'There ain't room enough in this here world for your ego and Me. You pick.'"

-from the Introduction

Tapping the experiences and wisdom of his career as a spiritual leader, Lawrence Kushner delights, surprises, challenges and inspires us. With his signature candor, wit and compassion, he helps us reconnect with the why and how of our spiritual lives. He encourages us to find new perspectives on the "life-stuff" that shapes them, and gently reminds us of the Source of it All.

These inspiring-often startling-insights will warm you during the dark times of your own doubts even as they brighten your quest for meaning, faith, identity, community-and holiness.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a breezy, accessible, and colloquial style, Kushner brings together excerpts from stories, reviews, essays, and speeches written during his 28 years as a congregational rabbi and his current tenure as scholar-in-residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. He has grouped the material into six categories: rabbi, Judaism, family, world, mysticism, and holiness. Although Kushner was educated as a Reform rabbi, he cites Orthodox and Conservative sources as well as a number of other traditional authorities. His interest in Jewish mysticism is a further indication of his deviation from the customary intellectual and spiritual sources of a Reform rabbi. Disguising the profundity of his thoughts by lighthearted presentation, Kushner tackles such complicated issues as the role of the rabbi, intermarriage, observance of the Jewish dietary laws, parent-child relationships, Jewish-Gentile differences, Kabbalah, prayer, and death. In each instance, his wisdom, his realism, and the sources he calls upon demonstrate the depth and perceptiveness of his approach to difficult problems. One essence of genius is to make complex issues simple. Kushner superbly passes this test. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"A window into the heart and soul of a man who models what it means to be a rabbi…. You will be touched by [his] gentle, lighthearted and compassionate ... Truth."
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, co-author, Jewish with Feeling and A Heart Afire;
author, First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit

“A wonderful collection of classic Kushner wit and wisdom. He has a gift for presenting profound ideas in phrase and story that speak to our lives.”
Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus, president, Central Conference of American Rabbis;
rabbi, B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Homewood, Illinois

“Larry Kushner experiences Jewish life with … an extra measure of soul. Where we find closed doors, he finds open possibilities. Where we see endings, he perceives new beginnings. With love and humor, he invites us to see our Jewish lives through new eyes.”
Rabbi Edward Feinstein, editor, Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century:
Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant

“So witty and entertaining that you won’t want to put [it] down. [Its] deep wisdom and clear insight sneak up on you while you’re chuckling.”
Rabbi David A. Teutsch, PhD, author, Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Commitment and Joy

Library Journal
Rabbi Kushner (Emanu-El Scholar, Congregation Emanu-El; Kabbalah: A Love Story) here assembles 30 years' worth of essays and observations, both personal reflections and speeches for congregations. The book is a kind of successor to Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader (1998). Kushner finds one common thread in this compilation of disparate pieces: "The goal of all spiritual life is to get your ego out of the way." VERDICT In this new collection, Kushner supplies a familiar, comforting, yet invigorating assembly of reflections for the Jewish reader, the subtitle notwithstanding.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940000922712
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 739,883
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is one of the most widely read authors by people of all faiths on Jewish spiritual life. He is the best-selling author of such books as Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning; Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; The Book of Miracles: A Young Person's Guide to Jewish Spiritual Awareness; The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk; Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader; I'm God, You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and other Disguises of the Ego; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; The River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness; The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition; and co-author of Because Nothing Looks Like God; How Does God Make Things Happen?; Where Is God?; What Does God Look Like?; and In God's Hands. He is the Emanu-El Scholar at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-El and an adjunct professor of Jewish mysticism and spirituality at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is available to speak on the following topics:

• Jewish Mystical Imagination

• Rymanover’s Silent Aleph: What Really Happened on Sinai

• Zohar on Romance and Revelation

• What Makes Kabbalah Kabbalah

• Sacred Stories of the Ordinary: When God Makes a Surprise Appearance in Everyday Life

Click here to contact the author.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Rabbi

Who Am I? 3

We'll Wait Back Here 8

The Calling 15

My Other Father Died 18

The Tent Peg Business 22

The Human Pyramid 30

The Rabbi Business 38

Being Somebody Else 47

The Last Gift 49

2 Judaism

Why I'm a Jew 55

Filene's Basement 59

Intermarriage 61

Getting More Jews 67

Customs as Sacred Text 69

Two Jewish Mothers 73

(Re) Thinking Shabbat 75

Kosher 78

The Life of Torah 84

3 Family

Visiting Your Children 89

Understanding Your Parents 91

Telling Kids the Truth 99

Boompa 101

And Unto Us a Child is Given 103

Babushka 107

Turkey Shoot 109

Generations 111

4 World

What Israel Means to Me 115

My Lunch with Jesus 117

Cardboard Sukkah 120

Bill Novak's Questions 122

NYPD Blue 143

Resurrection of Flowers 145

5 Mysticism

What is Kabbalah? 149

Reading Music 156

Bosque del Apache 159

Physician of Tsefat 162

Spell-Checker 170

Midrash as Hypertext 174

A Kabbalah Lexicon 175

6 Holiness

Open My Lips 189

Spiritual Greed 191

Silent Prayer 193

A Blessing for the Czar 195

Biking with Pelicans 197

The Zen of Airline Tickets 199

Memory and Redemption 201

Death without Dying 210

The Band on the Titanic 214

After Word: "Our Town" 217

Sources 224

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