Review of A Handbook for Heretics
   

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Writer's Digest 1Oth Annual International Self-published Book Awards Evaluation

A Handbook For Heretics: From Religion to the Kingdom of God

This a surprisingly good book about a former Presbyterian minister's spiritual awakening outside the institutional Church. His journey is marked by a lucid accounting of those things in the Christian faith and the Bible he feels are wrongly interpreted in light of his experiences. The sad part of this is the author losing his support within the church structure he grew up in. However, he's not bitter, or angry. I particularly enjoyed the honesty and insight the author shares. He continues to believe and practice a faith informed by many sources. His openness and tolerance are hallmarks of a mature and genuine spiritual soul. Many people wounded by institutional churches may well find welcome and comfort within the pages of this book.

My quibbles with the book are minor. First, the word spacing and the smallness of the type make it a little hard to read. Also, the book looks like the very kind of book that someone wounded by a traditional church might shy away from. My first thoughts upon looking at the book were that it was an Evangelical or CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) type of book. I would encourage a different look on future printings, appealing to a nontraditional spiritual readership, and also, redesign the pages with a more open layout for ease of readability. Overall though, I enjoyed the book.

Joe Durepos 5114 1/2 Main Street Downers Grove, IL 60515 e-mail: jdurepos@aol.com

BooksReview.com: Review By Heather Froeschl

I wasn’t surprised when this book came to me to be reviewed…I trust in synchronicity. Having been in the middle of discussion with my spiritual circle about what Jesus meant when he said that he would tell us “much more”, I was glad to find “A Handbook for Heretics” explains it, and the author’s theory is much like my own.

John Sloat was a Presbyterian minister for many years. Then he was enlightened with the concepts of reincarnation and spirituality outside of religion. He was labeled a heretic. Hooray for heretics! In the book, John confirms my belief that the church has gotten way too caught up in the politics of being a church than in the development of its teachings or even in paying attention to messages from a higher power. Has God been silent for 2000 years? I don’t think so. But most religions have ignored any new word. In fact, most religions have decidedly said that new ideas are heresy.

Not everyone is shutting their ears though. There are many people who are hearing, seeing, and paying attention to the signs all around them. Ideas discussed in this book include reincarnation, angel messages, coincidences (synchronicity), near death experiences, church and religion reformation and much more. John suggests that in order for a new age of spirituality to truly come into being, three concepts need to be let go: That Christianity is the only true religion; That the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice; And that Jesus is the only Savior of the world.

Does he dismiss Christianity, the Bible and Jesus? No, but he helps us to understand them better, and to open our eyes that there is more than one path to spirituality. On this we certainly agree.

With the use of personal stories and true anecdotes, John reaches out to the reader’s humanity. In offering the stories, he offers a lesson. It is up to us to adhere to it. The congregations that knew John were certainly graced with a wise man. In his spiritual growth and publishing “A Handbook For Heretics”, John has graced everyone who picks up a copy with a bit of wisdom. Of course, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. A quote from the book says it all to me; “Those who want to move from the incubator (religion) to the Kingdom will always face the malice of well-intentioned people who think they are defending God. But making that move is the only way to spiritual freedom, and those who blaze the trail will open the way for everyone else.” Some will continue to call John a Heretic, while others still will come to know him as a trailblazer.