Find­ing Spir­i­tual Awak­en­ing in a Most Im­prob­a­ble Place

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Religion Books—nonfiction / Graphic Nove - KATIE ASHER

Jef­fery Paine, New World Li­brary (MAY) Soft­cover $15.95 (248pp), 978-1-60868-574-5

Jef­fery Paine’s En­light­en­ment Town is a witty, in-depth ex­plo­ration of a unique place and its spir­i­tual in­hab­i­tants. It dou­bles as a hu­mor­ous and en­light­en­ing look at the world’s reli­gions, many of which are rep­re­sented in Cre­stone, Colorado, a moun­tain town where faiths ex­ist har­mo­niously, side by side.

With peo­ple from twenty-five reli­gions liv­ing in its tiny con­fines, Cre­stone emerges as a reli­gious haven—created, some say, due to a vi­sion. Oth­ers claim that the phys­i­cal en­ergy of the town it­self drew out­siders in.

A unique cast of char­ac­ters now share in Cre­stone’s harsh weather, moun­tain air, and ob­scu­rity, and their in­ter­est­ing his­to­ries are shared here, in­clud­ing how they made their way to this ex­tra­or­di­nary place. They in­clude Father Dave, who prac­tices as both a Chris­tian and a Bud­dhist, de­spite vari­a­tions in the tra­di­tions’ struc­tures.

One of the book’s per­sis­tent themes is the open­ing up of dis­cus­sions and the equal ex­change of ideas. It ex­em­pli­fies the idea of a postre­li­gious world­view. The idea of spir­i­tu­al­ity without re­li­gion is em­braced, as is moral­ity without guilt.

Paine’s book cap­tures mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions with Cre­stone’s res­i­dents sans judg­ment or bias of any kind. The re­sult is an open-minded sur­vey of re­li­gion and spir­i­tu­al­ity dou­bling as a loose how-to guide for any­one look­ing to un­der­take their own par­tic­u­lar spir­i­tual jour­ney or reli­gious ex­pe­ri­ence.

En­light­en­ment Town is a lively dis­cus­sion of re­li­gion that ev­ery per­son of faith should par­tic­i­pate in. It poses and an­swers ques­tions, sets up metaphor­i­cal re­ac­tionary sit­u­a­tions, and en­cour­ages liv­ing with ac­cep­tance of oth­ers, re­gard­less of what they be­lieve.

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