Eccentricity: A Spirituality of Difference

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The church has been inundated in recent years with literature emphasizing the relational and the value of community. David Auten provides an alternative perspective and counterbalance, bringing our attention back to the other indispensable side to the communal--the individual and the sacredness of the self. Eccentricity is a sustained meditation on this strange and fundamental fact: there has never been, nor will there ever be, another you. You are inescapably and irrevocably different. But what does your difference mean? And who are "you" really? Weaving together insights from Calvin, Caussade, Jung, Derrida, Wolterstorff, and others, Auten guides the reader through a spiritual exploration of the difference implicit in being a self, the divine calling to make a difference, and the interconnectedness of the two. The result is an arresting bricolage reminding us of the wonderfully eccentric nature of human existence. "In a probing, sensitive, insightful, and wide-ranging exploration, Auten reveals how we as persons are complex, beautiful, known and knowing, secret and unknowable, wonderful and weird--and called always to love. Combining the truths he has gleaned from many traditions, from ancient times to the postmodern, whether philosophical, literary, or scriptural, David offers a guidebook for living that is highly accessible, deeply learned, challenging, and comforting. This mix of practicality, mysticism, and self-discernment is just what many of us need: an invitation to self-transformation and self-giving. A beautiful and bountiful work!" --James D. Findlay, California State University "By transparently revealing and accepting his own eccentricity as a wonderful gift from God, David Auten invites us all to explore, and then accept, our own individuality through a thoughtful knitting together of insights from an interesting array of great thinkers." --Dennis Baril, Community Covenant Church, Rehoboth, Massachusetts "Auten's reflections . . . revolve around two key concepts--difference and love. Using abundant references to Scripture, and correlated with a great many writings both ancient and modern, Eccentricity is a purposefully 'incomplete' text, inviting readers to find completion in their own meditations on their 'difference.'" --Rowan A. Greer, Yale Divinity School Reverend David Arthur Auten is Senior Pastor of the historic First Congregational Church of Ramona, California (United Church of Christ). He is also the author of Embrace: Strangeness, Mediocrity, and the Living God.
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