Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | June 9, 2011

A Review of Stephanie Dowrick’s Latest Book, Seeking the Sacred–By Theodore Richards

Before talking about Stephanie Dowrick’s latest work, I’d like to mention that she is not your typical author of self-help or New Age literature.  There are several reasons for this, but foremost among them, for me, is the fact that she is a writer.  It may seem strange to describe as noteworthy the fact that someone who writes books for a living is, in fact, a writer.  But I use the term to describe the full depth and breadth of Dowrick’s craft.  She is no New Age guru who sees writing books as a way to make some money; she writes because that is who she is.  Because she must. Because to be a writer, a true writer, is a way of relating to the world.

Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another is a call for each of us to live our lives in the way that its author has for years.  As the writer of both excellent fiction and insightful non-fiction, Dowrick has had to perceive what is sacred in our world.  After all, much good fiction—and it is true for hers—is an exercise in making the mundane sacred.  This requires the writer not merely to write this way, but to live this way.  We must find the sacred in our daily lives to write about it.

In Seeking the Sacred, Dowrick’s sense of the sacred in so much of our world comes forth not merely in the content, but in the style of her prose.  It is easy to read not because it is dumbed-down or lacks nuance, but because it is written with lovely style and presents coherent and convincing arguments.

It is important to note that, while Dowrick calls upon us to find the sacred in our lives, she is unafraid to take those to task who are unjust, who would oppress the marginalized and exploit the earth.  She is not the sort of self-help writer—again, this separates her from most—who would claim that it is all in our heads.  She remains acutely aware of injustice and believes we heal our selves and the world together.

Ultimately the question of what is sacred, what is of value, is among the most important questions we can ask.  Indeed, at this point in human history, our sense of the sacred has largely been obscured by consumerism, a fact that is costing us much of the living ecology of our planet.  We are, in fact, so blinded that we seldom even ask such questions.  I can think of few writers better equipped to initiating such a discussion than Stephanie Dowrick, and she does so with a graceful style, philosophical subtley, and an acute awareness of the interfaith nature of contemporary spirituality. Seeking the Sacred is what she has done for years, and both the world and our souls would do well to accept her invitation to join her in this pursuit.

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Responses

  1. What a terrific review. Thank you so much, Ted. I deeply appreciate your attention to the writing as well as to the content. I am, first and foremost, a writer – who has also studied and worked with psychotherapy and ministry. But writing is my primary calling and has sustained me through these many years of work, reflection, prayer on the biggest issues of all.


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