Grasping Christian doctrine: 2-15-12
Congregations meeting in gyms: 2-17-12

Help for caregivers: 2-16-12

Because my wife chairs our congregation's Pastoral Ministries Committee, on which I serve, I'm pretty attuned to the need to support people who wind up as caregivers to people they love.


It may be a situation that gets thrust upon them suddenly because of an accident or diagnosis of a serious illness or it may simply be the need to care for fragile, aging parents or grandparents.

In early January I mentioned a helpful guide for caregivers in this post.

Today -- along with mentioning several other books that might interest you -- I want to highlight an excellent new book for caregivers called Leaning into Sharp Points: Practical Guidance and Nurturing Support for Caregivers, by Stan Goldberg.

I'm giving you a heads up on it now, though it won't officially be released for a few weeks. But you can preorder it at the Amazon link I've given you in the previous paragraph.

The author has been a hospice volunteer and caregiver for a long time, and he draws on that experience to offer many practical bits of advice for people who find themselves -- or choose to be -- caregivers.

What caregiving amounts to, in the end, is a living out of the profoundly religious notion that every individual is of ultimate and inestimable worth. And although you won't find much that's overtly religious in this book, Goldberg writes from a Buddhist perspective.

Among his best advice is to lean into the sharp points, which is to say, don't avoid the obvious pain and difficult issues you'll confront as a caregiver. You'll be much more useful if you deal with all of that head on.

The book is rich with good ideas and practical help -- even for those who will never be caregivers but who may be served by one.

In keeping with my previously stated commitment to spend less time doing full reviews of books, I nonetheless want you to know about the books that I'll list here now, with links to help you discover whether you'd be interested in reading any of them.


* In the Shadow of the Buddha: One Man's Journey of Discovery in Tibet, by Matteo Pistono. The author is founder of Nekorpa, which works to protect sacred pilgrimage sites.

* The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist's Search for the God Experience, by Kevin Nelson. The author is a neurologist who teaches at the University of Kentucky.

* Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath, by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche. The author, born in the Himalaya Mountains, is a Buddhist teacher in many parts of the world.

* Ordinary Sacred: The Simple Beauty of Everyday Life, by Kent Nerburn. The author, a Ph.D., in religion and art, completes a trilogy with this book. The other two are Simple Truths and Small Graces.

* Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief and Everyday Joy, by Tobin Blake. The author teaches meditation and spiritual awakening. For more about him, click here.

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New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reports that exorcisms are back in popularity in the Catholic Church. I gather she doesn't put much stock in them. I have a pretty low demonology, too, but I'm perfectly willing for others to think exorcisms are good and necessary.

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P.S.: Have you signed up yet for the 7-9 p.m. March 1 worshop on "Writing Persuasive Essays" that I'll lead at the Writers Place in Kansas City? The link I've given you gives the modest price and details for Writers Place members. Here's the link for nonmembers. Tell your friends. Let's have a good crowd and some fun as we learn.


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