Help Me Shape My Second Book!

My writing nook. Come join me by sharing your thoughts on book #2.

Friends, YOU can help me shape my second book on death, grief, and interfaith perspectives of the afterlife.

Tell me about … 

1. When you search for a book on death, what are you looking or hoping for? What do you want the book to do for you?

2. What is the most helpful kind of writing when you are grieving and processing a death?

3. Are there specific things you want to read about in terms of spirituality/religion and death? Examples: reincarnation, progression of the soul, the afterlife, how people of different faith traditions grieve, what does scripture have to say about death, etc.

Enter your comments below, post them on Facebook, tweet them, or email me

Do you have a poignant death story? I’d love to read it. Send it here


5 thoughts on “Help Me Shape My Second Book!”

  • Hi Dana,

    I was thinking about the pace at which you’re moving with authoring books on interfaith marriage and anything associated with it.

    As a reader I feel that you’re moving a little too fast in writing a book on life and death as understood in different religious belief esp between Hinduism & Christianity.

    Most people aren’t to concern about death as it will come for us eventually rather most are focused on living life particularly in yr case where interfaith is the main focus and yr primary goal to promote it as much as possible.

    At this juncture most readers would be eager to hear more from you and how the married life is progressing. Particularly your struggles with 2 belief systems, diet and dealing with social elements surrounding both of you. How this has developed after 5 plus years or so.

    I say this because interfaith involve huge compromises, sacrifices and tolerance. Whether these things ushers in positiveness is yet to be seen and most readers are awaiting to hear that from you.

    Perhaps u should consider writing Saffron Cross Part 2 which can contain deeper aspect or even criticism of yr interfaith marriage life and how you dealt with it. This would go very well as there will always be issues everywhere in our life and definitely in an interfaith. Good and bad parts of yr marriage helps others in understanding and dealing with issues. In it you could add a chapter or 2 on life, death, grievances, etc.

    Maybe you could write about the time you felt like strangling Fred!! LOL :-)))

    If you really do this many readers incl myself would flip back in joy, trust me this would bag a punch and soon you’d be giving interviews and seminar nationwide to a much much bigger audience.

    Peace and blessings :-)))

    • Agni:

      Thanks so much for this insight. I appreciate your sharing. You’ve given me much to think about.

      Thanks, too, for reading this blog!


  • Hi Dana,

    Will you discuss the receptivity among Protestants of Hindu ideas of reincarnation? Is reincarnation seem as a possible belief for Christians? What happens if someone in a church does believe in reincarnation? Are they seen as less of a Christian? A heretic? Thanks.

    – the other “Agni”

    • Agni:

      Thanks for your question; it sparked a very interesting conversation in our household last night! 🙂

      I know that Fred will also reply to this comment–but I thought I’d offer a few initial thoughts. Ultimately, your question would make a good blog post–one that I hope to write before summer’s end.

      According to the Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project’s research in 2009, 22% of Christians believe in reincarnation ( Among the overall public, 24% believe in reincarnation.

      Those are hefty numbers considering American’s majority religious affiliation is Christian, with 78.4% of the population identifying as such ( While, on the surface, the Christian Church has rejected reincarnation as official doctrine, I imagine of those 78% of Christians, some have considered the possibility of of a previous or future life.

      In terms of heresy and excommunication, different Christian denominations will have different “rules” as it applies to how they deal with persons who beliefs may not be in line with the overall Church. The Apostles’ Creed, often used in American Mainline Churches, includes among its lines “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” Bodily resurrection is certainly one doctrine that sets Christianity apart from faith traditions who embrace reincarnation and a rebirth of the soul. I suppose if one were to openly oppose a statement from a Creed–or a portion of doctrine or Church polity–one could be seen as “heretical,” depending up on the Christian denomination’s tolerance for such beliefs.

      I fall into the progressive Baptist camp, which means that my church (Binkley Baptist) is fairly laid-back on these sorts of issues (differing theological opinions). Baptists traditionally keep the focus of doctrine and theology on a local level–so in order to stay “in” the Baptist club, one must adhere to the basic tenets of that local church, which varies widely.

      Since having married Fred, I’ve struggled with the question of bodily resurrection vs. reincarnation, so I may very well fall into the category of “less of a Christian,” though I consider myself fervently Christian. My personal spiritual philosophy is that we must allow doubts and questions to bubble up–and by sitting with these “wonderings,” and consulting Scripture, early Church theologians, and our own hearts–this questioning actually strengthens our faith.

      I’m in the process of finding a publishing home for my second book–an interfaith memoir of death–and your question has made me hopeful that this is indeed a book folks need to read–and I’m inspired by your question.

      Stay tuned for more specifics in a future, especially regarding the early Church’s response to reincarnation.

      Best to you and yours,

    • Agni,

      Those are good questions and the answers depend on what kind of church or Christian you talk too.

      The Apostles’ Creed neither mentions the concept of reincarnation nor makes a distinction between the matter and consciousness (prakriti and atma). So strictly speaking, reincarnation as it is explained the Vedic revelation, is not an aspect of Christian belief.

      However, among liberal Christians you may find some elements of reincarnation in their personal belief and some early Christians theologians explored the difference between the soul and the body. In the case of early theologians, their descriptions often equate with Vedic definition of the “mind” rather than the soul proper.

      Some liberal Christians may believe in reincarnation, but only going forward. In other words, they believe they will be reincarnated in the future but not that they have already been reincarnated from the past into their present body (the doctrine of karma often comes up at this point in a discussion). Further, some Christians might believe that they will only be reincarnated into human bodies and not less complex forms of life as described in Vedic philosophy.

      So you will not find a full-fledged conception of reincarnation in Christian doctrine or personal belief. If you do find some belief, it will be through a very linear, Western lens and therefore less like the cyclical conception we find in the Vedic scripture and without the important underlying tattva of prakriti, atma, and karma.

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