Neale Donald Walsch gets a mention very early in the piece (and he is the last to get a look in at the end). He’s one of of those who have developed a take of their own, so it’s appropriate that Neale makes his mark so early in my own M.O.
Early in the millennium I first came across his books. The Conversations With God oeuvre was instrumental in weaning me away from a belief system in which had ‘contained’ me, shall we say, for the previous twenty years. Was I grateful to the man? Is the pope catholic?
In edition one, Neale featured more prominently. As I say, I felt indebted to the man. What he had expressed in his writing was at the time closer to my own philosophical cogitation than that of any other. I spent some time describing the relationship that developed between us.
A side effect of spending time on philosophical musing is that a lot of what you read will naturally have a bearing on what’s on your mind. Thom Hartmann’s Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century was definitely in that camp. The book meshed in so well that I wrote the author a letter (not sent).
I manage to squeeze in another introductory paragraph or two before quoting Mark Kingwell on the process of writing. What he says is on the money, but it took a while before I was able to heed his advice and remove screeds of unnecessary agonizing from the first edition. So much aggressive-defensive posturing—you wouldn’t believe! Let’s heave a great sigh of relief. Good riddance.
The sentence ‘Don’t be surprised if they crucify you for thought crime,’ provides a clue for my fears. They may be baseless, but they are not groundless. I believe that they stem from that Christmas when I turned six. I’d just been exposed to a book that showed in graphic detail scenes from the crucifixion. Right away I grasped the message: that if you ever give the crowd a reason for regarding you as different—by thinking different thoughts to theirs, for example—then you had better watch out for your life.