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About the book and author



Looking for God in All the Wrong Places
by Marie D. Jones

Paraview Press, 2003
ISBN: 1931044422
Spirituality, 188 pages
Trade paperback, $14.95

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Excerpts from Looking For God

  My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad Any Day
It's the old schoolyard battle cry all over again as modern religions fight for recess ruling rights. Christian leaders argue with Islamic elders over who has access to the "real" God. Jews and Muslims blow up opposing forces in suicide bombings in an attempt to out-Holy each other. Meanwhile, everybody picks on the Wiccans, and the Buddhist monks must consider taking up Uzis to protect their monasteries from hostile Westerners anxious to wipe out pacifism.

All this because one group of people is convinced that they and only they know the right way to God. Just like the next-door neighbor who insists his weed killer is better than yours, or the parent-to-be at your birthing class who insists that the Ferber method outweighs the Sears concept. Or the gas station attendant who swears on his mother's grave (even though she's still alive) that the only way to get to the Grand Canyon is to take a right when going left would be a heck of a lot faster, at least according to the map you purchased from said attendant.

The problem is, there's more than one way to read a map. Furthermore, on the road to the Divine, there's more than one map.

Think of what Jesus said about His Father's house having many mansions within. Even Jesus knew that all routes ended at the same truck stop. Some of those routes even share the same viewpoints and rest stops.

Why then do we continue to look for God in all the wrong places, or insist that we know where God is when in our hearts we don't have a clue? My guess is that we will really only know when we actually visit those wrong places. We need to check them out for ourselves to see what the attraction is. It's like when you were a kid and you thought the local carnival was to die for, only when you finally convinced your parents to take you on that warm summer's eve, you couldn't believe how dirty and grimy the whole place was. The cotton candy was stale, the rides were all down for repairs, and those awful, horrible, misshapen freaks gave you nightmares for weeks -- and I'm referring to the other kids and their parents, not the sideshows! Personally, I found those carnivals really frightening.

By exposing the people, places, and things we mistake for that which we really seek, we can finally figure out the Mystery of Mysteries. The key to a successful search is to take our time, have some fun, and keep our eyes open wide for clues along the way. And there will be clues. Plenty of them.

Just don't get so caught up in looking for God that you miss finding God when you finally get to where God is. Remember the Biblical saying, "Be still and know that I am God." The key phrase is "Be still." Slow the pace, enjoy the ride. Too much movement often leads to confusion, exhaustion, and discouragement, unless you're a ballroom dancer or a one-armed man on the run from the FBI.

It's the process that counts, not the destination -- because in this case, the process is the destination. This probably sounds confusing now, but you'll see what I mean as we go along.

We've got a lot to cover, so let's begin without any further ado. I hope you will enjoy this journey we are embarking on together. There will be roads that take us to serious places, and roads that take us to silly places, because life, like God, is both serious and silly. I will speak of things reverent and irreverent, relevant and irrelevant, but rarely will I be reticent in my revelations, as we motor along the highways and byways of life.

Marie D. Jones 2003

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