In the Footsteps of Martin Luther – 495 Years Latersam
Eat My Dust, Martin Luther! 96 Essays on Modern Spirituality and New American Mysticism by Jeffrey Baker
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenburg. In the same way that Luther felt that the establishment had lost its way and needed to be shaken up a little, modern philosopher-raconteur Jeffrey Baker questions the status quo by taking a hard look at today’s spiritual and religious practices, as well as social myths. In his provocative new nonfiction, Eat My Dust, Martin Luther!: 96 Essays on Modern Spirituality and New American Mysticism, Jeffrey Baker does the great Protestant reformer one better, offering up ninety-six essays on the nature of the soul and sharing his own musings on the existentially elephantine question: “Why are we here?” His candid, witty perspective ranges nimbly over topics and personages as diverse as karma, politics, organized religion, transcendental consciousness, creativity, love, the perils and pitfalls of piano moving, traffic laws, Lady Gaga, Leonard Bernstein, Sri Chinmoy, and Emily Dickinson, not to mention relationships ranging from the interpersonal to the intergalactic.
According to Baker, most, if not all of us, cannot abandon the feeling that life should make sense. However, rather than looking for the answers to life’s most fundament questions within ourselves and all around us, we unquestioningly accept mythologies and arcane intellectual arguments, disregarding philosophy, which as the ancients knew, should ideally illuminate the rational. The popular notion that those who elucidated much of our present religious thought, especially those of the Judeo-Christian variety, were somehow more knowledgeable two or three thousand years ago does not take into account the fact that, just like their modern counterparts, they were also simply taking what they understood about the world around them and trying to make sense of it. As Baker points out, they were not anti-science, as many believe, for they had no science available to them.
The central thesis that resonates throughout the book is that ultimately there is only one life that not only permeates all, but is all; a life which he calls “God” only to the degree that a name for “everything” might be required. Baker asserts that our campaign to divided and categorize—especially to label some saved and others damned—is an outgrowth of our competitiveness and not an expression of our essential spirituality, which is all-embracing. Further, Baker sees no reason why science and religion cannot co-exist. In fact, he argues that everyone’s goal should be the self-same search for truth—religion: the inner truth and science: the outer truth; a goal which will unquestionably prove that there is only one existence, one life, that is in all and of all—the ultimate truth.
Drawing heavily upon his own life experiences, which are undoubtedly those of a “card-carrying” baby boomer, Baker recounts his own adventures and misadventures as a composer, musician, traveler, spiritual disciple, son, lover, friend, and American teenager in the age of Woodstock (which he attended). A testament to his generation, one characterized by their ongoing quest for answers to life’s most fundamental questions, Jeffrey Baker’s ingenious tome, Eat My Dust, Martin Luther!: 96 Essays on Modern Spirituality and New American Mysticism is both an entertaining and enlightening read. Occasionally pungent, frequently hilarious, and consistently thought-provoking, Baker’s essays will crack you up while they crack open the windows of your soul.
About the Author: Connecticut native Jeffrey Baker is a man of many hats. After receiving a degree in ecology from the University of Connecticut., he was a gardener for the Rockefellers in Pocantico Hills, NY and later served as “the piano tuner to the stars” in New York City, working with artists such as Billy Joel, Chick Corea, and André Previn. Baker has composed more than one hundred musical works in the classical as well as the theatrical genres. His album of chamber music, The Music of the Zodiac, has had more than 40,000 downloads. Most importantly, he was a student for more than thirty-five years of the late, world-renowned Indian philosopher Sri Chinmoy. Jeffrey Baker currently lives in Armonk, New York. Eat My Dust, Martin Luther!: 96 Essays on Modern Spirituality and New American Mysticism by Jeffrey Baker (published by CreateSpace, RRP $9.95 eBook, $14.95 paperback) is available online at Amazon.com and can be ordered at all good book retailers.