In Sync with the Sacred, Out of Step with the World: Embracing an Unconventional Life in a Culture of Conformity (2020)
Available at: Amazon
What does it mean to live “in sync with the sacred?” For Tom Stella it means living an authentic life. It means stepping to the cadence of the sacred, which requires a specific type of courage: the courage to be different, to stand out, to be odd and perhaps even considered a threat by those who find their identity, comfort, and security in the status quo, the conventional.
The good news is that we can do this while conducting our everyday lives. Unlike Thoreau, who felt he had to retreat to Walden Pond “to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,” we don’t have to retreat to the woods. According to Stella, authenticity is first and foremost a matter of being attuned and responsive to the sacred within – to an instinct, an intuition, a sixth sense, a deep voiceless voice that can be “heard” even in a crowd. This inner guide may at times call us to live apart from others, but it surely summons us to follow a road less travelled; that is, to turn away from the conventional wisdom of society, those ways of thinking, believing, and behaving that go unquestioned – busy is good, more is better, success equals wealth. Welcome to a refreshing version of spirituality.
“The fact that you are not dead is not sufficient proof that you are alive!”
So begins Wood Lake Publishing author Tom Stella’s latest exploration into the life, death, and rebirth of the soul. In CPR for the Soul: Reviving a Sense of the Sacred in Everyday Life, Stella shares the deep, eternal wisdom that knows the lines separating the sacred and the secular, time and eternity, humanity and divinity, are false. Or, at the very least, blurred.
God, by whatever name, is found in the midst of everyday life, work, and relationships. All people, all creation, and all of life is holy ground. The book is divided into thirteen sections, each consisting of an introduction and a brief reflection and meditation.
This book offers a revival for the soul, a reminder that “we are one with something vast” – a “something” that “is not a thing or a person, but a spiritual source and force at the heart of life.”
“I’m spiritual but not religious” is a phrase no longer voiced by only the young and those who have left the church. It is now a phrase used to describe the spiritual lives of the middle-aged and beyond, as well as those who continue to seek sustenance for their souls within church settings.
Whether young or old, church-connected or not, there is a spiritual restlessness among those who seek an authentic faith life but do not find conventional religious teachings meaningful.
This accessible guide to a meaningful spiritual life is a salve for the spiritually anxious and hungry. It reinterprets traditional religious teachings central to the Christian faithGod, Jesus, faith, prayer, morality and more in a way that connects with those who have outgrown the beliefs and devotional practices that once made sense to them. It helps readers find new ways to understand and relate to traditional, narrowly defined Christian “truths” that honor their full spiritual power and scope.
How can we have an authentic faith when we no longer have “literal” beliefs? Where do we turn to better understand our relationship with God when the simplistic messages of the church fall short” This is a book for all those who are asking the tough questions and are not satisfied with the answers they are receiving.
Using the Baltimore Catechism to structure his exploration, Tom Stella candidly and systematically questions various doctrines of the faith using personal reflections on his religious journey to come to new and more meaningful understandings of traditional truths.
In this simple, elegant, and literate book, Stella shows what can happen when we move from certitude to doubt, from stability to searching. When cherished beliefs, attitudes, and answers come into question. When life experiences seem to tell us that the “right” answers no longer seem so “right.” Such a time is an enriching time, a time when life is no longer a matter of going from “question to answer, but from question to question.” And like the many, many people Stella has encountered in his work he concludes that “life in all its messiness is a sacred affair.”