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TikkunIs there anything new here? Why not just use the old prayers—many of them, frankly, much better written than most of what is in this book?
Because some things have changed. Without doing a formal head count, it's obvious that in Prayers for a Thousand Years the voices of women are fully present. The awareness that the earth is sacred comes in hundreds of the selections, and not just from explicitly "environmental" writers like Joanna Macy, Thomas Berry, and Terry Tempest Williams. I also like the many direct warnings against using spiritual practices or experiences as an escape from our collective troubles. Riane Eisler counsels that "faith is not enough. We must act on our faith. Inner healing is not enough. We must heal our world."
Unfortunately, although I found myself in spiritual, political, social, ethical, and ecological agreement, the book rarely moved me. How hard it is, I think, to write a prayer—to inscribe out of the depths of one's own joy and anguish, ecstasy and grief, words that will move another's soul. How hard to write for that abstract worldwide collection of politically correct spiritual seekers...—all too conscious of all the issues, "isms," and problems we face—instead of for one very particular, very concrete, community. The thoughts are true, the values solid, but the spiritual and emotional power of the 23rd Psalm, the Dammapada, or the Sermon on the Mount rarely arise.