Methodist minister Prather dedicated his 1970 book, Notes to Myself, to Carl Rogers, the father of the human potential movement. The book went on to sell five million copies. Now, 27 years and several books later, Prather renounces such "preoccupation with ego enhancement." He preaches instead a life of selfless service to others and a sense of "oneness" with all other people. While claiming that his way requires no religious affiliation or practice, he refers often to God and Jesus. Like Notes to Myself, this is a collection of brief musings, some lovely, others humorous. Despite the overall wisdom of Prather's message, a few of the musings reveal what seems to be an underlying anger and impatience toward people struggling with such problems as codependency, addiction and divorce. Perhaps if Prather had fleshed out his thoughts in longer sections of prose, his points would have been made in a more complete and understandable way. It is not helpful to simply proclaim that "love does not participate in madness," without explaining how one might identify madness, or to instruct readers to "Forget this doormat stuff," ridiculing the terms "enabler" and "codependent," or to announce that healing one's inner child and nurturing one's own child can't be done at once. These are complex issues deserving of more compassion and respect than Prather provides, particularly as he preaches universal love. 40,000 first printing. (Mar.)
Best known for writing the self-actualization notebook of the Seventies, Notes to Myself (LJ 7/71), Prather is back with the same quirky sense of humor, now coupled with a more mature wisdom that takes the self lightly and gently laughs at the ego's demands. His latest reflections turn away from the theme of self-fulfillment to the awareness that love and service are the way to heal our separation from God and one another. The Methodist minister touches briefly on issues such as gossip, money, marriage, parenting, prayer, and dying with thoughtfulness and humorous practicality. Sure to please many readers with its timeless wisdom presented in a fresh, simple manner.
Another attempt in the self-help genre to reduce the spiritual life to a few simple precepts and to eliminate from it all deep paradox, doubt, and question. In 1970, Prather, a Methodist minister, wrote a bestselling book of personal reflections, Notes to Myself. Since then, he has published a dozen works of popular religious psychology, including this, his latest, which patterns itself after its predecessor. Short, untitled paragraphs, separated by pairs and triplets of leafy graphics, succeed one another, grouped informally around unannounced themes: marriage, children, parents, time, death, fear, prayer. The central exhortation is to inner peace and a sense of unity with all things. The author might have achieved a humbler, less portentous tone if he had acknowledged the lineage of his ideas, for example, in 19th-century romanticism, which, in some of its expressions, believed along with Prather (and, for that matter, the Wizard of Oz) that everything we need to be we already are, if we could but see it. Prather wants to smooth a path that is, by nature, rocky. Nondenominational seekers of the spiritual depths will do better with the grandfather work of this genre, Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy.