Catalog gives unexpected definition of spirituality

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Local Columnist

I got yet another catalog in the mail recently. Nothing unusual about that. Like most folks, I get lots of them. And, like lots of folks, I occasionally enjoy just thumbing through the pages of an interesting catalog.

I don’t know if anyone has a contest for catalogs, but I’d probably vote for Land’s End and their oft-mailed offerings (Christmas is best, I think) as among the most imaginative, well-written, and just cozily fun. A cup of hot tea or hot chocolate, a nice fire in the fireplace, a comfortable chair, warm slippers, and a few minutes meandering through a Land’s End catalog-well, maybe this is weird, but I find a little time of that sort kinda relaxing (just don’t look too closely at some of their prices).

But the catalog I’ll describe to you here is a cat of another breed. It’s evidently put out by the book club who baited me some months ago with a free book offer. (Yes, I bit.) I’ve not ordered any more books, but I do now have this little catalog in hand which its producers have christened “One Spirit.” It claims to be filled with resources for my “total well-being: spirit, mind and body””

Great! A Christian minister should be excited about a catalog chock full of resources designed to encourage and enhance spirituality, right?

Looks like I can even get over 150 of books on spirituality for just $1 each if I want to join this very spiritually-minded book club spinning off of the club I originally joined.

So I flip through the pages. Hmm. I doubt this is put out by the Southern Baptist Convention. This catalog’s definition of spirituality is a tad south of what I expected when I saw the title “One Spirit.” Oh, Christianity is included. Right along with self-discovery, yoga, homeopathy, psychology, ayurveda (what’s your veda?), Buddhism, astrology, Zen, mindfulness, inner work, sacred sexuality, Qi Gong, tarot, native religions and spells and enchantments. The catalog plops prayer right into the midst of the list. I’ll betcha a prayer covering all of these bases will pretty much have to be a pseudo-prayer of the “to whom it may concern” variety.

I don’t want to be too critical. This catalog’s got some really practical stuff stuck between its pages. One book offers 168 ways to use Feng Shui more effectively. If I buy that one, I can cross ineffective Feng Shui use right off my list of weaknesses and worries.

And Michael Jordan, presumably not the rebounding basketball star, has written the “Encyclopedia of Gods,” listing more than 2,500 deities. If you’re deity-shopping, and if you’re not finicky about breaking the first and probably the second of the Ten Commandments of the God whose name is Jehovah, well, it may take a little time, but you can pick your own god. In a nut case —I mean, in a nutshell — that’s probably the biggest advantage of this kind of “spirituality.”

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at
ckshel@aol.com