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Searching for Your Soul: Writers of Many Faiths Share Their Personal Stories of Spiritual Discoveryby Katherine Kurs
Synopses & Reviews
"Spiritual genius emerges from every facet of God's diamond. All faith traditions share His light, brought forth most beautifully in this lovely volume."
-- Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles
"The spiritual life is often a journey and a process rather than a state of bliss. We might learn more about this essential part of life through honest and spunky stories like the ones told here than from books of guidance and doctrine. This book will instruct your spiritual imagination, and that is what inspires and sustains the work of the soul."
-- Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Soul of Sex
Searching for Your Soul brings together the stories of more than fifty writers who have eloquently explored the spiritual impulses that inform their lives. Whether Jewish or Hindu, Muslim or Roman Catholic, Methodist or Mormon, Buddhist or Pagan, Vodou or Jehovah's Witness, the rich experiences shared here offer a compelling glimpse into the uneven terrain that is often part of the spiritual journey.
Reflections on the importance of religion include contributions by such authors as Margot Adler, Rita Dove, Mary Gordon, James McBride, Kathleen Norris, and Malcolm X.
About the Author
Katherine Kurs was born and raised in New York and graduated from Manhattan's famed High School of Music and Art in 1974, where she studied singing and music theory. During and after high school, she performed folk and gospel music in coffeehouses and clubs in New York and New England, and then, in her early 20s, continued in the music business behind the scenes as an apprentice to the legendary record producer/engineer, Phil Ramone. She was always drawn to the study of religion - she had been meditating since her early teens - and she recalls "sneak reading" Thomas Merton and Eastern philosophy under her desk while planning recording sessions for Billy Joel and Paul Simon.
Ms. Kurs soon left the "round-the-clock" music scene to work as a media producer in order to have more time to pursue a college degree and nurture her love of learning. For eight years, she was tutored by four professors from the city and state universities of New York, completing her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.) in 1983. She then left Manhattan for Cambridge, Massachusetts and graduate school at Harvard University. At the Harvard Divinity School, she studied a wide range of subjects including Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, Jewish mysticism, the history of western Christianity, theology, and biblical studies in addition to receiving extensive preparation for ministry. She completed the three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree in 1986. After graduation, she moved to England for three and a half years to continue her studies, receiving a Ph.D. from the Royal College of Art in London in 1989. While in England, she also served on the clergy staff of the prominent progressive Anglican Church, St. James's, Piccadilly, in London.
Soon after she returned home to Manhattan in late 1989, Ms. Kurs went to work at historic Trinity Church, Wall Street, where she was Director of Communications for its corporation, a position which included the editorship of the award-winning journal, Books & Religion. She left Trinity in 1993 to take up a one year post as Executive Director of the Association for Religious and Intellectual Life, a national interdisciplinary and inter-religious non-profit organization.
Since 1994, she has devoted her time to teaching, writing, and counseling. She teaches religious studies, including spiritual autobiography, at Empire State College of the State University of New York, and is also on the faculty of the Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate college of the New School for Social Research where she teaches spiritual autobiography as a freshman seminar. She has a Manhattan-based private practice as a spiritual/pastoral counselor, working with people of all ages and diverse backgrounds on a wide range of spiritual and religious concerns.
Ms. Kurs served for nearly 15 years as a liturgist, pastoral counselor, preacher, and religious educator at a number of noted Episcopal and Anglican churches including The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine; St. James Church, Picadilly, London; and St. Mark's in-the-Bowery in Manhattan. Committed to fostering inter-religious understanding, she directed the interfaith program of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York for eight years. She is a board member of The Center for Jewish-Christian Studies and Relations of the General Theological Seminary in New York and is a member of the American Academy of Religion. She continues to be involved with the work of the Harvard Divinity School, serving ex officio to the Alumni/ae Council and as a member of the New York Steering Committee of Harvard's esteemed Women's Studies Religion Department.
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