Opening the Doors of Wonder: Reflections on Religious Rites of Passage

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University of California Press, Oct 18, 2006 - Religion - 294 pages
This bold, pioneering book explores rites of passage in America by sifting through the accounts of influential thinkers who experienced them. Arthur J. Magida explains the underlying theologies, evolution, and actual practice of Jewish bar and bat mitzvahs, Christian confirmations, Hindu sacred thread ceremonies, Muslim shahadas and Zen jukai ceremonies. In rare interviews, renowned artists and intellectuals such as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, holistic guru Deepak Chopra, singer Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), actress/comedienne Julia Sweeney, cartoonist Roz Chast, interfaith maven Huston Smith, and many more talk intimately about their religious backgrounds, the rites of passage they went through, and how these events shaped who they are today.

Magida compares these coming of age ceremonies' origins and evolution, considers their ultimate meaning and purpose, and gauges how their meaning changes with individuals over time. He also examines innovative rites of passage that are now being "invented" in the United States. Passionate and lyrical, this absorbing book reveals our deep, ultimate need for coming-of-age events, especially in a society as fluid as ours.

Conversations with: Bob Abernethy, Huston Smith, Julia Sweeney, Roz Chast, Harold Kushner, Ram Dass, Elie Wiesel, Deepak Chopra, Robert Thurman, Coleman Barks, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), And others
 

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Rites of passage like coming of age ceremonies are an important part of culture and religion. How have these evolved? Will these rites survive in the future? Are such things important? Read full review

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Rites of passage like coming of age ceremonies are an important part of culture and religion. How have these evolved? Will these rites survive in the future? Are such things important? Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE
1
SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS
11
SOLDIERS FOR CHRIST
19
WOULD ANND FRANK SING KARAOKE?
89
COMING TO BRAHMA KNOWING NIRVANA
169
ORIGINAL PERFECTION VERSUS ORIGINAL SIN
195
SEVEN ESSENTIAL WORDS
221
WOULD ANYONE RIDING BY ON A HORSE EVEN NOTICE?
257
NOTES
271
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
291
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Arthur J. Magida is Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and author of The Rabbi and the Hit Man, Prophet of Rage, and How to Be a Perfect Stranger.

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