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My Own Growth and Inner Conflicts

Glenville Ashby Author Interview

Glenville Ashby Author Interview

In your book In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology you provide insight into death, the afterlife and the purpose of life itself using your knowledge. Why was this an important book for you to put together?

For close to a decade my column on religion, philosophy and culture has enjoyed tremendous success. Over the years my views have changed, a refection I believe, of my own growth and inner conflicts pertaining to life, God and spirituality. The book conveys this conflict and what I refer to as, the evolution of spirit. I selected some insightful articles that are sure to evoke strong reactions in support of, and against my beliefs. Scores of articles have been left out but I do feel that this work, despite its paradoxical tenor is systemized and thematic.

Given the growing spirit of individualism in the face of excesses by the so called religious, I think the book is very timely and in many ways, a product of the cultural zeitgeist.

This book was about faith, but wasn’t directed at any one faith, and I appreciated that. Was this intentional or is this where your understanding leads?

Spirituality, religion, faith in something bigger than self, or faith in one’s own strengths, are part of our constitution. It is important for us to recognize and respect the divers opinions out there. Uniformity of thought in any discipline or pursuit, is counterproductive and an enslavement of the human spirit. More than ever, with the revolution in communication, we have a unique opportunity to learn from each other.

This is a collection of selected writings. What was the process like in selecting and putting this book together?

Great question. I could have looked at readers’ response to articles when they were first published and selected those that were most popular. I guess the result would have been an anthology or compilation of best articles based on ostensible appeal. However, I featured the most thought-provoking writings, those that buck the trend and allow for critical thinking and introspection. This is where I am at in my evolution, and I wanted to share my inner turmoil as I wrestled with life’s mysteries. At the same time, I was able to convey moments of self-assurance and the joy of self-discovery.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The book raises soul searching questions on so many subjects that we have grappled with since the dawn of time. What is truth? Is there an afterlife? Is suicide ever justified? Is reincarnation possible? Are there limits to human potential? I also delved into transpersonal psychology and consciousness studies…and of course, eastern spirituality. This is an eclectic offering that will definitely stir debate.

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In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology: Selected Writings 2013 - 2018 by [Ashby, Glenville]In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology by Glenville Ashby is an anthology of the author’s work. Ashby is a scholar in Philosophy and New Age Thought who first became involved in finding answers to the mysteries of spiritual life when his mother passed away in 1980. The culmination of his search resulted in a collection of writings with the latest, In Search of Truth, being something of a magnum opus that spans from 2003 – 2018. Ashby offers insight into a host of common questions from enlightenment and reincarnation to suicide and the hour of death, covering a plethora of topics in between, from the evil eye, to the third eye, to keeping an eye on the spiritual world (including a section on Ouija boards). 

This is a fascinating collection offering something different than your usual books on spiritual psychology. It is fully accessible for those who may want to refer to it time and time again for spiritual guidance. If you are looking for an intellectual and stimulating read, with an openness to many different outcomes, look no further than In Search of Truth.

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A Pandeistic Universe

Knujon Mapson Author Interview

Knujon Mapson Author Interview

Pandeism: An Anthology is a collection of work from different authors that seeks to provide intellectual backing to the idea of pandeism. Why was this an important book for you to put together?

Pandeism is a pretty old idea, but is one which has very long been little known — discussed almost exclusively in scholarly and academic settings, and usually in a sort of abstract and theoretical way. Perhaps that will always be its primary locus of discussion, but as scientific knowledge comes to match up better and better with a pandeistic Universe, it would be a wonderful thing for people to be made aware that this possibility is out there. And as the Anthology writings show, it has proved itself worthy of consideration from many angles.

There is surely some long-term gain to be realized, as well, from a world wherein people generally understand that all things are part of our Creator, and all life ought to be accorded the respect due to even a fragment of our Creator. And even as Pandeists bear no club with which to threaten ‘disbelievers’ with eternal torment or the like, imagine how you might react if you felt there was a possibility — a reasonably high probability even — that if ours were a created Universe at all, then it would be the sort of Universe in which your own actions towards others (and, more largely writ, everybody else’s actions towards everybody else) directly dictated the experiences which would be had by your Creator; and not only by your Creator but quite possibly by every entity ever existing — including yourself, to some immeasurable extent, all of these being your Creator, which has momentarily (for perhaps just a few hundred billion years) become fragmented apart. If there is any possibility that we are creating experiences to be shared with by our Creator, ought we not by this knowledge to be motivated to create positive experiences, for ourselves, and for one another?

And though all of these are, in my view, respectable reasons for my advocacy and regular formulation of new arguments, the simple truth is that I love the idea for its elegance, for its simplicity, for the strength of its explanatory power wrapped in extrapolations from a few simple assumptions of logical necessity. And so I want to pull it down from the academic tower and present it in ways suitable for a larger slice of the world to get to grasp it.

You work with sixteen authors on this anthology. How did this book come together and what was it like working with so many bright writers?

As to how it all came about, I first began putting together the ideas for a book on the topic some thirteen years ago. I always knew that I wanted to write about Pandeism, and I researched intensely, and found other people who had written on the topic and in the area. I never intended to do an anthology, but as I worked on my own book, it seemed to just get more and more sprawling. I was trying to grasp in all of the ideas that I could possibly cover, and it was more than I could do. And then, at some point, I simply threw my hands up and decided that it was not something that I would ever be able to finish.

But, as I pored over the many writings which I had accumulated in the area overtime, and the connections I had made with people who write in this area, I was struck by the fact that I might well be able to assemble enough to make a book that captured many of the ideas that I wished to express, but which had already been put into words in other ways by other people. And once I had had that realization, the whole structure of the book, the give and take and opposing viewpoints and variety of possible approaches simply came together, almost instantaneously. I immediately knew, for example, that I wanted to have poems punctuated the sections, and to divide the book in the general sort of way in which it ended up, and I am tremendously gratified with the result.

One of the most remarkable experiences and joys of my life has been working with these authors. I ought to mention that two of the writers were deceased — one, nearly one hundred years before, and the other just a few years ago, a good friend who I had been in communication with and who had written his piece for me before his quite untimely death, years before I ever knew I was going to assemble an anthology. But as to all the rest, every one of them was note only a unique and powerfully thoughtful and excellent to communicate with, but remains a friend. Really, it is like we are a family of fellow travelers along the same route. There are several of them who I bounce ideas off of frequently.

The book is separated into three sections, the fundamentals of Pandeism, philosophical implications, and criticism from other views. Why was it important to include alternate analysis of pandeism?

Most works on a specific theological point of view are told from the proposition of that view being true. And indeed, even anthologies written within specific faiths tend often to be single-minded collections of endorsements of that faith. There is something about such an approach which instead rings untrue to me — if your belief system is so ironclad, why only present one side of it? And yet we know there are those who dispute the truth of every theological model, so why not present their arguments directly and let the reader choose who has made more sense? Why collect an anthology at all if all the views provided assume the same position?

If we only present arguments favoring Pandeism, or even present only one view of Pandeism, then we are doing the readers a disservice. It is not the sort of position which can be insisted to be true in a gnostic sense. It is one logical possibility out of a field of them, with certain points of logical appeal, but at the same time with an acknowledged impossibility of knowing the truth of it. And even if there are those who believe that it is untrue, it presents a paradigm which they must contend with. Neither Atheism nor any Theistic faith can escape the intellectual obligation to confront the possibility of this model, and when they do so, and commit to it in a serious way, some great and deep writing is bound to result from this.

What do you hope readers take away from Pandeism: An Anthology?

Well, firstly I really hope that readers take away the sense that Pandeism, as a theological model, is indeed a serious possibility. And secondly, I hope to just really make people think about all the possibilities that are out there, and the fact that there are indeed so many possibilities which are unknown. I want readers to feel a bit challenged and a bit enlightened and more than a bit informed. One thing, I think, about this book, with its breadth of authors and approaches from diverse and sometimes opposing viewpoints, is that it is impossible to read it through without learning something of interest, something which will stay with you for the rest of your life thereafter. I hope that readers take away a lot of feelings like that, and that every reader takes away at least something like that.

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Pandeism: An Anthology presents the work of sixteen authors, new and old, examining the implications of the revolutionary evolutionary theological theory of Pandeism – the proposition that the Creator of our Universe created by becoming our Universe, and that this proposition can be demonstrated through the exercise of logic and reason. These authors present a wide range of views originating from their varied experiences, from professional theologians and religious educators to lay philosophers with PhDs in the hard sciences. Collectively, these authors have assembled the most extensive examination of Pandeism put to print in over a hundred years.

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Historic Novels

 Karen Kossie Chernyshev Author Interview

Karen Kossie Chernyshev Author Interview

Angie Brown, A Jim Crow Romance was originally written by Lillian Jones Horace 68 years ago. What inspiration did you find in this book that made you want to publish an annotated scholarly edition?

I am certain that most of my admiration stems from my appreciation for Horace, the African American southern woman writer, who remained true to her commitment to write “creatively but constructively.” Before I began conducting research on Horace and her writings, she and the archival material treating her life and works were largely overlooked by scholars.

The protagonists she created all exemplify the kind of determination that Horace herself demonstrated throughout her life.

I wanted to create an annotated scholarly edition to help Angie Brown find its way into the literary canon, where students and scholars of African American literature could weigh in on its value.

Angie Brown is a strong women that is finding her path through troubled times. What are some things you admire about her character?

I admire Angie’s determination, practicality, openness to learning, friendly nature, and commitment to progress.

What kind of research did you do for this novel and Lillian Jones Horace?

I conducted extensive archival research to better understand Horace and the characters she created. A comprehensive list of the repositories I visited appears in my first book-length publication on Horace titled, Recovering Five Generations Hence: The Life and Writing of Lillian Jones Horace (2013). I have been researching and writing about Horace since 2003. Her papers are held in the Fort Worth Public Library, Fort Worth, TX.

I understand you contacted some of the Horace family for this book. What were their reactions to you pursuing this 100 year old story?

I contacted her niece and two of her great nieces. Her great niece, who remembered her well, knew that Lillian Horace was a respected educator, but she had no idea that Horace had written two historic novels. Most of what I shared with her and other family members about Lillian Horace was new to them.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes. I am working on an edited version of Lillian Horace’s diary, and a book project comparing and contracting the trajectory of Horace’s life and works to those of her younger and more popular southern African American contemporary, Zora Neale Hurston.

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Angie Brown: A Jim Crow Romance“Angie Brown is a romance migration novel set in the Jim Crow era. Angie, the protagonist, determines to embrace all life has to offer despite the social restrictions facing young black southern women like her. Angie holds fast to her desire to find financial success, personal fulfillment, and true love, but she does not achieve her dreams alone, nor do they unfold in the same place. From Belle, her confidant; to Betty Yates, the teacher; to Chester, the pool hall owner; women and men from various social stations in life and different places share nuggets of wisdom with Angie. With their love and support, she overcomes tragedy, welcomes fresh possibilities, climbs the social ladder, and opens her heart to love. Angie’s progressive journey reflects the migratory trek of many African American Southerners of the Jim Crow era, who left the South for greater educational and economic opportunity. Her quest leads her from a small segregated community to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and eventually to the Midwest, including St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, and Southern Illinois. As Angie travels from place to place, she gradually comes into her own and learns key life lessons. Angie learns that struggle is universal. While doing domestic work, she discovers that whites, who live on “The Other Side,” also experience pain, suffering, and grave disappointment. Love eludes white women, too, and they, too, face gender discrimination. Having overcome her fair share of personal losses, Angie reaches across racial lines to console Gloria, a member of the Parker family, for whom Angie does domestic work. Her experience with the Parker’s is juxtaposed to her dealings with the Mungers, a rich, Northern white family she meets. Although the Mungers are kind to Angie, she learns that life beyond the South is not perfect. Yes, she and other blacks face less virulent forms of racism outside the South, but economic stability and educational opportunity are not easily achieved.”

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