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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping: Edited By: Alice Peck: 9781594732140 Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping: Edited By: Alice Peck: 9781594732140


At some point in everyone's life comes the time to clean up. It might be your kitchen after dinner; it might be your community after a crisis.
One way or another, it must be done, and a considerable amount of time is spent doing it.
This spiritual anthology gives the process of cleaning house depth and resonance while exploring the point where a multitude of belief systems intersect that place where clean and holy meet.
Drawing from religious texts, personal narratives, fiction, and verse, this inspiring collection finds a common thread: cleaning as a spiritual path. 

In writings as diverse as those of Rumi, Allen Ginsberg, Gandhi, Tillie Olsen, Zen Master Dogen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Starhawk, James Baldwin, Kathleen Norris, the Dalai Lama, and the Bible, dozens of the world's best writers and thinkers illuminate what is holy about cleaning house.

Named to the 2007 "Top 10 Spiritual Summer Reading List" by the Detroit Free PressExplore the place where clean and holy meet---and chart a new course toward discovering sanctity.

"I've always sought solace in cleaning.... As my husband and I packed up our apartment and cleaned the profound dust of the Twin Towers from our books and pillows, we used this shared ritual as an opportunity to reflect and heal. As my neighbor once said, 'Cleaning house is my church.'"
-from the Introduction

Be they our kitchens after a meal or our communities after a crisis, we all face the times---and opportunities---when we must clean up.

Through a beautiful, diverse and eclectic array of personal narratives, fiction, sacred texts and verse, this inspiring book offers new perspectives on the unique ways we can reach out for the Divine within the simple acts of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, making a home and more.

Giving the process of cleaning house depth and resonance, these writings will speak to your heart and allow you to see beyond the task at hand and into a greater undertaking---to realize the sacred in all that we do.

From sweeping the home, to organizing the office, to cleaning up the more daunting "Big Messes" in our communities, this engaging book touches upon every facet of our lives.

Contributors include:
  • Gaston Bachelard
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Joan Chittister
  • Billy Collins
  • John Crawford
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Homer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Cheryl Mendelson
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Kathleen Norris
  • Louise Rafkin
  • Otagaki Rengetsu
  • Marilynne Robinson
  • Rumi
  • Starhawk
"Lovely.... Articulates what many women know but hesitate to admit: housekeeping has a unique spiritual quality, if only we will tap into it. Simply read and enjoy whenever you need to find the sacred in housekeeping once again."
-Marcia Ford, author of Finding Hope: Cultivating God's Gift of a Hopeful Spirit
Alice Peck is an innovative editor and writer who serves as a consultant to many published authors and produced screenwriters. She has spent years writing, developing and acquiring material for broadcast and cable television as well as feature films.

 In recent years Americans have had a renewed love affair with their homes, so it's no surprise to discover new attentiveness to cleaning them.

This collection of tidbits from essays, fiction and poetry that reference housecleaning, compiled by an editor and producer in the television industry, explores everything from Booker T. Washington scolding Negroes who kept house poorly to the "big mess" made by the attacks on the Twin Towers.

The book, from a multifaith and multicultural perspective, includes everything from the obvious and well-known (Thich Nhat Hanh and Brother Lawrence on washing dishes) to the less expected (Jarvis Jay Masters writing about cleaning his cell on death row). 

Some pieces have only the most tenuous connection to housekeeping, much less what's sacred about it, such as the excerpt from Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, where cleaning serves primarily as backdrop.

While many excerpts are intriguing, the collection is largely unprocessed, with only brief introductions to the sections on washing dishes, laundry, sweeping and so forth, and no introductions to the individual excerpts. While each piece includes some aspect of housekeeping, the reader is left not quite knowing what to make of the whole. 

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