Most of us need to feel that we matter in some way; perhaps this explains the high value placed on titles, corner offices, and even fleeting celebrity. But most of us also need to feel that we are good people. In this luminous yet practical book of spiritual advice, Harold Kushner bridges the gap between these seemingly irreconcilable needs, showing us how even our smallest daily actions can become stepping stones toward integrity.
Drawing on the stories of his own congregants, on literature, current events and, above all, on the Biblical story of Jacob, the worldly trickster who evolves into a man of God --Kushner addresses some of the most persistent dilemmas of the human condition: Why do decent people so often violate their moral standards? How can we pursue justice without giving in to the lure of revenge? How can we turn our relationships with family and friends into genuine sources of meaning? Persuasive and sympathetic, filled with humanity and warmth, Living a Life That Matters is a deeply rewarding book.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Living a Life that Matters|
|Release Date: 12-16-2003|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Living a Life that Matters
The Two Voices of God Like many people, I live in two worlds. Much of the time, I live in the world of work and commerce, eating, working, and paying my bills. It is a world that honors people for being attractive and productive. It reveres winners and scorns losers, as reflected in its treatment of devoted public servants who lose an election or in the billboard displayed at the Atlanta Olympic Games a few years ago: "You don't win the silver medal, you lose the gold." As in most contests, there are many more losers than winners, so most of the citizens of that world spend a lot of time worrying that they don't measure up.
But, fortunately, there is another world where, even before I entered it professionally, I have spent some of my time. As a religiously committed person, I live in the world of faith, the world of the spirit. Its heroes are models of compassion rather than competition. In that world, you win through sacrifice and self-restraint. You win by helping your neighbor and sharing with him rather than by finding his weakness and defeating him. And in the world of the spirit, there are many more winners than losers.
When I was young, most of my time and energy were devoted to the world of getting and spending. I relished competition. I wanted to be challenged. How else could I find out how good I was, where I stood on the ladder of winners and losers? I was living out the insight of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung that "act one of a young man's life is the story of his setting out to conquer the world."
Of course, I was not the only person who did that. Most people lived as I did. For several years, our next-do...