I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego

I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego

by Lawrence Kushner


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Flashes of insight—surprising, entertaining, inspiring—from one of the most creative spiritual thinkers in America.

"The goal of all spiritual life is to get your ego out of the way—outwit the sucker; dissolve it; shoot it; kill it. Silence the incessant planning, organizing, running, manipulating, possessing, and processing that are the ineluctable redoubts of the ego. Not because these activities are bad or wrong or even narcissistic … but because they preclude awareness of the Divine. To paraphrase the Talmud, God says, 'There ain't room enough in this here world for your ego and Me. You pick.'"
—from the Introduction

Tapping the experiences and wisdom of his career as a spiritual leader, Lawrence Kushner delights, surprises, challenges and inspires us. With his signature candor, wit and compassion, he helps us reconnect with the why and how of our spiritual lives. He encourages us to find new perspectives on the "life-stuff" that shapes them, and gently reminds us of the Source of it All.

These inspiring—often startling—insights will warm you during the dark times of your own doubts even as they brighten your quest for meaning, faith, identity, community—and holiness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580235136
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 03/15/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Lawrence Kushner, author, lecturer and spiritual leader, is regarded as one of the most creative religious thinkers and writers in America. A commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, he has focused us on spiritual renewal with wisdom and humor. Through his books and lectures, people of every faith and background have found inspiration and new strength for spiritual search and growth. It has been said that some spiritual leaders blend religion and psychology to help us walk better on the ground, but Lawrence Kushner draws on the wisdom of the mystics to help us dance better on the ceiling.

Kushner's acclaimed books include I’m God; You’re Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego; Honey from the Rock: An Easy Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; and In God’s Hands, an inspiring fable for children, with Gary Schmidt (all Jewish Lights).

Kushner served as rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for almost thirty years; he is currently the Emanu-El scholar at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, and an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He is fascinated by graphic design and computers (designing most of his Jewish Lights books). He enjoys Mozart, hanging around sailboats, and making his granddaughters giggle.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Rabbi

Who Am I? 3

We'll Wait Back Here 8

The Calling 15

My Other Father Died 18

The Tent Peg Business 22

The Human Pyramid 30

The Rabbi Business 38

Being Somebody Else 47

The Last Gift 49

2 Judaism

Why I'm a Jew 55

Filene's Basement 59

Intermarriage 61

Getting More Jews 67

Customs as Sacred Text 69

Two Jewish Mothers 73

(Re) Thinking Shabbat 75

Kosher 78

The Life of Torah 84

3 Family

Visiting Your Children 89

Understanding Your Parents 91

Telling Kids the Truth 99

Boompa 101

And Unto Us a Child Is Given 103

Babushka 107

Turkey Shoot 109

Generations 111

4 World

What Israel Means to Me 115

My Lunch with Jesus 117

Cardboard Sukkah 120

Bill Novak's Questions 122

NYPD Blue 143

Resurrection of Flowers 145

5 Mysticism

What Is Kabbalah? 149

Reading Music 156

Bosque del Apache 159

Physician of Tsefat 162

Spell-Checker 170

Midrash as Hypertext 174

A Kabbalah Lexicon 175

6 Holiness

Open My Lips 189

Spiritual Greed 191

Silent Prayer 193

A Blessing for the Czar 195

Biking with Pelicans 197

The Zen of Airline Tickets 199

Memory and Redemption 201

Death without Dying 210

The Band on the Titanic 214

Afterword: "Our Town" 217

Sources 224

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