Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution

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Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution

Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution

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Listening to Rainn Wilson's book made me smile for nine hours.* I couldn't help but imagine that it was written by Dwight** after having a spiritual transformation. "Soul Boom" is filled with beneficial and quirky wisdom for how to help heal ourselves and our world. The contemplative and eclectic style was perfect for me. I look forward to adding the physical book to my collection. Hello and welcome to a special edition of Five Things. I'm Ralphie Aversa, host and producer of Entertain This for USA Today. Thanks for joining me. Today we're speaking to Rainn Wilson, a man best known for playing the Awkward but beloved character, Dwight Schrute on NBC's long-running hit show The Office. Rainn is also the author of the newly released Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution, a book that explores how spirituality can help us create solutions to an increasingly challenging world. Rainn, welcome to Five Things. When talking about his own search for the spiritual, he notes a "transformative" encounter with his onetime acting teacher André Gregory, the director, writer, and actor who plays a version of himself in the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre. I'm a "None", religiously. On my most enlightened days I'm "Spiritual but not Religious." More often I'm left-brained, data-driven, and annoyed by the hate that purports to be Christian love. And yet... There is some part of me that longs to believe in the message of this book... Some part that wants to believe that we are all divinely connected and that we have a sacred responsibility to our own selves and to our community and world to create the "kin-dom" of God here on earth.

And then there’s the other demon of mental (and physical) health: addiction. After some bouts with drugs and alcohol dependency in my twenties, I was able to quit with the help of the Twelve-Step Program of recovery. Pretty much anything you can get addicted to, I have struggled with at one point or another: food, gambling, porn, work, codependence, social media, and debt. Even caffeine and sugar. (And now it’s my frigging iPhone!) Pop culture references, jokey humor and an entertaining and irreverent writing style keep “Soul Boom” from feeling preachy. Wilson uses “Star Trek” and “Kung Fu” to elucidate the twofold path of any spiritual journey; “Star Trek” representing collective spiritual aspirations (world peace, embracing diversity, etc.) and “Kung Fu,” the inner spiritual journey (wisdom, morality, etc.).

But I was also drawn to these programs because these were families as real, relatable, and flawed as my own. How I longed to not be in my dysfunctional family but instead to live with Meathead and Gloria in Queens, or to be a patient of Bob Newhart in his Chicago practice, or an intern at WJM TV with Mary Tyler Moore. I would even have taken being drafted and having to clean latrines at the 4077th M.A.S.H. unit instead of eating awkward, loveless meatloaf with the Wilson family of Lake Forest Park, Washington. Just ask my wife. (Who, by the way, is far more preternaturally spiritual than I am, believe you me!) Fans of The Office will find a few scattered nods to the beloved show, but Rainn is not Dwight, and this is not a book about the show... at *all*. Instead it is a thought provoking, inspiring call to spiritual growth and reformation, not just for ourselves, but for the entirety of humanity. Hachette Book Group is a leading book publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest publisher in the world. Social Media

It's so not cool to be religious," Wilson says. "And it's so funny because I've always identified as being a dork and a misfit and an outsider. Maybe that's why I played Dwight so effectively, apparently."Now, don’t mistake me: Rainn never asked for a review. It wasn’t a wink-wink sort of thing. He just wanted to send me the book. As an agnostic, I found myself agreeing with Wilson's premises, yet wishing that they were envisioned humanistically, instead of continually chasing a religious structure. That's not Wilson's vision, though. As warm and as inviting as he is to atheists and atheism, he is a person of faith, and that friction will be felt by atheist and agnostic readers.

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