Tales of Wonder : Adventures Chasing the Divine by Huston Smith with Jeffery Paine, is called an autobiography – but it is more a memoir with travel narrative – and a foreword by Pico Iyer, one of my very favorite writers.
I of course had heard of Houston Smith and his many books on religion, plus his series with Bill Moyers, but had never read him. And this book on the bargain table at Joseph-Beth seemed like just the light summer reading I was looking for. It turned out to be perfect.
Houston, now in his 90’s and in an assisted living facility, mostly because of arthritis, is still an excellent writer, still living an adventurous life. The book is divided into the Horizontal – My Life in Historical Time, and the Vertical – Living in Sacred Time. So the first part is his life story, growing up, marriage, children and grandchildren, plus tracking his career and achievements. The second tallies his birth into Christianity, and his journeys to study and live other religions in a faithful way, while also experiencing spirituality via primal religions / peyote, etc, mysticism, and psychic phenomena. The underlayment is Christian – but a very loving and open Christianity.
I could wish for one more book. He alludes frequently to his marriage, his wife and her psychic / spiritual gifts, and his learnings in that relationship. At the same time, he will talk about a religious experience in a foreign land, and only casually mention that Kendra was along for the ride. If he can see his own marriage well enough, and can get out of his own way enough – and bring Kendra into the conversation – that would be another book worth reading.
A good book, a fast read – watching a white male grow and change, adapt, become more self aware and more caring. All very reassuring, as far as the future of the planet goes.