Hymns to an Unknown God

About a decade ago I found Sam Keen’s book, Hymns to an Unknown God: Awakening the Spirit in Everyday Life at a thrift store, and read it with great appreciation. It probably gets pigeon-holed under “New Age” and therefore, for some people, not taken too seriously. But whatever categories it does or doesn’t belong in, I love the book and have found it really, really helpful. More to come on this soon.

keen sam

Okay, I’m finally getting to writing about Keen’s book a bit.

I’m just going to share some of my favorite quotes from the book.

“I don’t pray to some super-power to make things better. But I open myself to the power that infuses and informs all life and pray to be relieved of the bondage to myself.” (p. xviii)

“[Paul] Tillich was lecturing to us about the importance of understanding that all religious statements were symbolic. They are linguistic lace, allowing only a hint of the fabric of the mystery of being. No religion possesses any literal truth, he said, and warned us against the idolatry of religion. He advised us to look for the presence of the sacred in the everyday secular world.” (p. 2)

“…it seems increasingly clear that the continued effort to build a society on a purely secular myth of perpetual progress will destroy us. … [In addition], the reactionary efforts of fundamentalists to establish Islamic, Jewish, or Christian nations governed by religious authorities threaten the civil liberties, women’s rights, and sexual freedoms we have struggled so hard to achieve and lead back to tribalism, bloodshed, and idolatry. … I can’t go back to traditional religion. Neither can I live within the smog-bound horizon of the secular-progressive faith. … Without falling into mindless faith or surrendering to authority, I want to find a way to lean on the everlasting arms.” (p. 5)

“You will be disappointed if you expect that a spiritual quest will lead to certainty and possession of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Doubt and dialogue will always be with us. … It makes all the difference whether we remain open in wonder to the true mystery or surrender our discrimination and settle for the false religious mystification of cult and tribe.” (p. 7)

I’ll come back to this post again… but I really just love his thinking and writing on spirituality and meaning.

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