I Don't Know What to Believe: Making Spiritual Peace with Your Religion
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Americans—especially young people—are more un-churched and less affiliated with organized religion than at any other time in our history. I Don’t Know What to Believe addresses that decline and presents an insightful examination of authentic spirituality for those who desire answers, guidance, and perspective regarding an important aspect of their lives: their beliefs, and relationship to, a higher power.
Rabbi Ben Kamin addresses questions he has received from real people over the thirty years of his ministry, such as:
Why does my parents’ religion have to define me? Am I God’s child even if I don’t go to religious services? Does scripture include me in its ideology regardless of how much scripture I know? How do I follow my own spirituality while still respecting my parents’ traditions?
Ben Kamin is the award-winning author of ten books and is a scholar on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has led congregations in Toronto, New York, Cleveland, and San Diego since his ordination in 1978.
THAT WE’RE FLAWED Chapter Eleven FROM INSECURITY TO INTERMARRIAGE Chapter Twelve “THE KING SHALL NOT HAVE TOO MANY HORSES” Chapter Thirteen WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S WRONG OR RIGHT? Chapter Fourteen THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE ALL YOU NEED Acknowledgments INTRODUCTION THIS BOOK IS WRITTEN to offer answers, direction, and validation to the many thoughtful people who feel excluded or judged because they prefer a spiritual life over what the organized religions are offering. I am a longtime rabbi,
Christians (to other Christian faith sect members or to Jews and Muslims), as well as the “relatively high rates of intermarriage of American Muslims.” The regulated religious agencies feel threatened even as there is a striking decline in people seeking to become priests, ministers, imams, and rabbis. The Catholic Church, for example, is so short-handed that recruitment literature for priestly careers is regularly found in pews and, all-too-often, untrained deacons or lay volunteers are
or we can do it Monday. I’m sorry, Rabbi, but that’s the way it is.” Oh God, what do I do? Not comparing my own professional anguish over timing to the family’s unspeakable agony over their lost boy, I writhed in despair and confusion nonetheless. I was young then and new at this. I was still honed in by old ghosts, stern Hebrew school teachers, unyielding rabbis pounding on pulpits, the imprint of prayer books I held as a youth, the waning hot wax of holiday candles, and the ancient smell of
in that moment in that place. I prayed to God for the guidance I had not received from a fellow clergyman. I sat and thought things out in the Ramada Inn in Portsmouth, Ohio. I prayed some more—no prayer book, just my own deep and personal supplications. I even rationalized the timing issue: Saturday afternoon in Portsmouth, Ohio would already be late Saturday evening—or after the Sabbath—in Jerusalem. Well, that was trite, I realized. What really mattered, it finally resolved for me, were the
today, a center of industry and aeronautics. The little school eventually expanded into the assembly place of the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of Jewish sages and clerics that produced laws and ideas for centuries. Rome and its centurions are gone. When I walk along the Mediterranean coast near Yavneh, I pick up broken fragments of Roman pottery and dutifully deliver them to the Israel Antiquities office nearby. The waves dance in salty air and freedom. All the horses and chariots of Caesar