God at the Edge: Searching for the Divine in Uncomfortable and Unexpected Places (Paperback)
Here is a book about adventure, raw experience, and facing inner demons. Niles Elliot Goldstein is a young rabbi who sets out to find God in tough and often scary situations: dogsledding above the Arctic Circle, taking the Silk Road into Central Asia without a visa, being chased by a grizzly bear, cruising with DEA agents through the South Bronx, and spending a night in jail in New York City's Tombs. He explores the connections between struggle and growth, fear and transcendence, and uncertainty and faith, seeking the boundary where the finite meets the Infinite.
Goldstein is not alone in making this kind of pilgrimage. There has always been a strong tradition of seekers who looked for revelation outside conventional religious settings and encountered God in moments of anguish, terror, and pain. Goldstein juxtaposes his own experiences with those of some of the great historical figures of Judaism and Christianity -- Jonah and St. John of the Cross, Moses Maimonides and Julian of Norwich, Nachman of Bratslav and Martin Luther -- as well as lesser known mystics and preachers, and he discovers, as they did, that it can sometimes take a journey to the edge to recognize God's presence in our lives.
About the Author
Niles Elliot Goldstein is the founding rabbi of The New Shul in New York City's Greenwich Village. He lectures widely on Jewish mysticism and spirituality and has served on the faculty of New York University and the Hebrew Union College -- Jewish Institute of Religion. Goldstein was the voice behind "Ask the Rabbi" on the Microsoft Network and can now be reached at "Ask Rabbi Goldstein" at www.ifaith.com. He is also the National Jewish Chaplain for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. His essays and poetry have appeared in Newsweek and many other publications, and he is the author or editor of four previous books.
"Wonderfully lively, engaging, and instructive -- a powerfully wrought spiritual evolution of a soul's journey toward faith narrated personally and tellingly."
-- Robert Coles, Pulitzer Prize-winner
"With engaging and absolute honesty, Goldstein tells the story of his arduous search for faith and writes with clarity, empathy, and insight about the Christian and Jewish mystics whose quest for enlightenment he himself so movingly emulates. He is a clear-eyed and intelligent seeker who knows that men and women find God in the shadow as often as in the light, in pain as much as in ecstasy."
-- Derek Lundy, author of Godforsaken Sea: Around the Globe Alone Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters
"This is a book for a new generation of seekers, a book that is not afraid to venture into the darker dimensions of the spiritual life. Few today dare to tread where Goldstein has."
-- Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president, Jewish Life Network
"Real life is messy. Most books on spirituality try to clean it up or cover it up. This one is different. Goldstein takes us into the heart of the raw and savage moments of life and provides a much needed balance to the all too often pollyannaish pretensions of contemporary American spirituality."
-- Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, author of Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity
"In this spiritual journey, real travels, vividly reported, are paired with lives and thoughts of religious figures, classical and marginal, to provoke the reader to think about what might constitute a vibrant religious life today."
-- Wayne Proudfoot, professor of religion, Columbia University