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If I Gave You God's Phone Number

Searching for Spirituality in America

Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 2002

“If I gave you God’s phone number, what would you do with it?” Call Him or Her? Put the number in a safe place? Many people would love to get answers to questions like “Why don’t You stop evil?” or “Did You plan this mess?” If God is indeed in charge of “this mess,” then, with few exceptions, the people interviewed in this book express dissatisfaction with the management.

The interviewees fall into four specific categories: devout Christians who use similar language and have similar topics to discuss with God, doing so from the standpoint of dualism (God as an entity outside of the self); agnostics or atheists who answer, “well, IF I believed in a God, which I don’t, THEN”; children who share spontaneously, minus most of the baggage that hinders adults approaching the question; and a small group of people who come to the question with a sense of awe and wonder, even innocence, in relating to that which is bigger than themselves, yet integrally part of their very being, bigger than their human comprehension, yet able to be known at many levels.

The author holds a Masters in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan, and works in Baltimore, Maryland as a professional gardener and leader of workshops in spirituality and environmental sustainability. In this, her first published book, she works her way through her own issues as each interviewee adds a new perspective to the discovery of the author’s true path, her true self. Unlike many memoirs, this book interweaves the author’s own doubts and searchings with the spiritual journeys of others.

Cromwell took seven years to interview close to fifty people. Her interview with a devout Sufi Muslim, done shortly after the September 11 tragedy, provides moving and compassionate insight into an Islam completely removed from that of terrorism and revenge. The book will appeal to those who are asking their own questions and are curious about the questions of others like themselves. It provokes a desire in the reader to add his or her own answers!

Linda Wilson