The God Upgrade - Top 10 Book of the Year (Publisher's Weekly)
I know you’re probably tired of book news but this is really exciting!
The God Upgrade was selected as one of the Best Ten Religious Books of the year by the prestigious Publisher’s Weekly.
What an honor to see my book listed next to Robb Bell’s Love Wins and Rev James Martin's Between Heaven and Mirth. Jim Martin is the chaplain for the Colbert Report. He and Rob Bell are two of my clergy heroes (if one can have clergy heroes.) Both are smart, witty, accessible writers who are creating new pathways to religion. I am honored that my book is on this list and doubly honored to be listed amongst authors I so admire.
My book tour has been going really well. Last night I was the keynote speaker at the Austin Jewish Book Festival, where I spoke to a packed house, which included at least 4 rabbis. Tomorrow I’m off to San Diego, then Friday St Louis.
I’ve added a couple of pieces that had taking most of the vitriol out of the reaction to my presentation.
Now, near the beginning I say:
“I should insert a disclaimer here. If you are fortunate to belong to the 30-40% of Americans who are happily involved with synagogue life if you are never tripped up by the descriptions of God in the prayerbook, if you never feel that the concept of God presented in your Jewish practice doesn’t fit with the world as you experience it this book was really not written for you.
I wrote it for your cousin (or brother or neighbor) who wont come to services with you because he cant get past the image of God writing down our deeds in a big book that we hear so much about on Yom Kippur. I wrote it for your friend who thinks the idea of praying for healing is silly and her reaction makes it impossible for her to get glean anything else from a Jewish experience. I wrote it for the people who will not walk in a synagogue, will not read that stack of Jewish books you have next to your bed, will not engage Jewishly because the God they hear about on High Holidays and on Passover, who reviews our lives and rewards and punished us appropriately, who comes down here with an outstretched are to rescue us, makes no sense to them and so they toss out the religion completely. .
My experience is that people who are comfortable with the way God is addressed in their communities find my talk offensive, and to you I apologize now. It may be this talk and this book are not intended for you, but rather for someone you know who you wish could share your Judaism with you, but to whom God has become a stumbling block.”
This seems to convince people that I am not trying to dismantle Judaism. My concern is truly less with people who are happily engaged Jewishly and more with those who are turned off and feel there is no place in Judaism for them.
Anyway, that’s the news from here. I hope to see many of you in the coming week as the tour continues……