David Myers: The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty

There are many subjects that are of great importance to us around here. And one of the things that we try to do on this show is help us understand that intersection where our beliefs meet real life. And intersection books are most interesting to me. And I’ve got a great one in front of me right now. It’s titled, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. It is written by Dr. David Myers. He is the John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Hope College in Michigan. He’s an author whose textbooks are used widely, whose trade books have explored everything from the pursuit of happiness to a very personal book about hearing loss titled, A Quiet World. One of his textbooks is used by my daughter as a senior in high school. So she was almost as excited to know he was going to be on my show today as she was when she was five and found out Captain Kangaroo was going to be on my show. So our next guest is in wonderful company. His most recent book takes a sweeping look at what he describes as The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. And David Myers, by the way, is a Seattle-native, an all-weather bicyclist, which probably that all weather part started right here. He and his wife, Carol, married while undergraduates at Whitworth College where he still-now serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Q. David, it’s great to have you with us today.
A. It’s great to be back again with you, Dick.

Q. So for those people who know Seattle, where did you hang out around here?
A. I grew up in Magnolia, and am a graduate of Queen Anne High School, but spend about five months out of the year, most weekends, and about four months during the summer, on Bainbridge Island. And would spend the two or three weeks in late spring and early fall commuting to the City to Queen Anne High School.

Q. Wow.
A. So I’ve got Seattle in my blood. I can smell the salt air just talking to you.

Q. And you still have family here.
A. Yes. My father lives on Queen Anne Hill, and I have a brother and a sister and they have families in the Seattle area.

Q. Wow. How did you get interested in the issues of happiness and spiritual satisfaction?
A. Well, as you mentioned, I write textbooks for introductory psychology and for social psychology in the college and university market, and as I do that, Dick, I have to read the whole discipline of psychology. And sometimes I come across findings that strike me as so interesting and so humanly significant that I think, other people should know about them. And that’s what led me to write that book, The Pursuit of Happiness. And then more recently to take a look at kinds of trends in cultural well-being since 1960.

Q. Now, when-when you-when you headed out on your professional trajectory into psychology, how was it that you decided that that was what you wanted to pursue professionally?
A. I never decided that’s what I wanted to do professionally. I was actually¢â‚¬¦ I was just doing research in social psychology and then I got some invitations to write and speak in the area of psychological science and Christian faith, how they talk to each other. And then one day I was sitting in my office and an editor from McGraw-Hill called up and invited me to think about writing a social psychology text, and after we did that project then an invitation came to write an introductory psychology text. And then that spun off some of these general trade books that we’re talking about. So it was not my plan. It just happened. I look back and I feel like I’ve been riding a train.

Q. Now, when you talk about these findings that are so interesting other people need to know about them, how would you describe that paradox that you are writing about in The American Paradox?
A. The paradox that I’m referring to there is a period of about a third of a century between 1960 and the early 1990s, and to some extent continuing to the present, although these toxic trends are abating. That has really been a paradoxical era. On the one hand, we’ve been soaring materially. Our civil rights have been expanding. I mean, these are the best of times. We’ve got technology galore, and we love it all. At the same time, we’ve got unprecedented numbers of children having children. Our teens have become more suicidal and violent. We’ve become more demoralized and depression-prone as adults. We live in an era, it seems to me, that can be described as one of plenty, but also spiritual hunger. Thus, the subtitle of this book, Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. And that’s the paradox. Expanding wealth and sinking spirits.

Q. You say we’re better paid, better fed, better housed, better educated, healthier than ever before with more human rights, et cetera, and yet we have slid into a deepening social recession. How do you define a social recession?
A. Well, it certainly has been marked from 1960 to the early 1990s by several trends, including a doubling of the divorce rate, a tripling of the teen suicide rate, a quadrupling of the rate of reported violence, a quintupling, and now more, of the prison population in the United States, and if you’ll pardon the pun, a sextupling in the percentage of babies born to unmarried parents which everybody, whether you’re Planned Parenthood or Focus on the Family, agrees has not been for the betterment of children. Fortunately, some of these trends, such as juvenile violence, for example, and teen suicide have begun to abate as the culture awakens to what’s been happening and as we begin to reverse some of these trends. But we’re still a long ways from the communal spirit and the health that marked family life back in 1960.

Q. When you talk about “communal spirit,” it is one of the-the sub-themes and it runs throughout this book, and is-is paid a good deal of attention specifically, the issue of radical individualism as opposed to community. And-and was there something that triggered radical individualism in this era that you’re describing that has, in fact, a direct relationship to the social erosion?
A. Well, advancing materialism. People’s mobility in jobs, I mean, are factors that are associated with increasing individualism. A capitalist free enterprise economic system is conducive to individualism and, to some extent, we celebrate individualism. I mean, we’re a country that was founded out of respect for individual rights and liberties. And that’s something that I celebrate. I suspect you do, too. The concern, however, is that maybe we’ve gotten a little out of balance. That individual liberties are now taking priority over communal responsibilities. “Me-thinking” is taking precedence over “we-thinking.” But there is-there has been an increase in what’s been called “communitarian” thinking in the last half a dozen years, and now we’ve agreed that maybe it’s okay to have restraints on smoking in restaurants or on airplanes, for example, which restrict one person’s personal liberties in the interests of the well-being of the group as a whole.

Q. Well, I think this theme of-of radical individualism and its relationship with community is obviously an extremely important one and we’re going to talk more about it when we come back in just a minute here.

If you’re just joining us, we are visiting with Dr. David Myers. He is from
Hope College in Michigan. He has a book out that’s published by Yale University Press titled, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. When we come back we’re going to talk more about some of the different elements that you studied in the social fabric in which he is describing this social erosion, and we’ll try to get an understanding of how it has come about and what in the world we can do about it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book and a wonderful subject. We’ll be back with more of David Myers coming up right after this. You’re listening to Seattle’s Christian Talk, AM-820. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.
(Break.)

Well, this is Dick Staub back with you and we’re joined this afternoon by David Myers. He is Professor of Psychology at Hope College in Michigan, where he is enjoying balmy weather. And not so bad here right now either. It’s great to have you with us, David Myers. And we’re talking about the book published by Yale University Press, The American Paradox.

Q. When you wrote this book, your purpose was more than simply doing social observation. I mean, what-what did you hope you would be able to accomplish in-in looking at these variety of trend lines in American social life?
A. I guess I hoped to contribute to public discord some basic information about social trends so that it might inform our discussion of where we should be going. Is the way we have been going in the last 40 years the way we want to be going

Q. Yeah.
A. ¢€œin the next 40? And I think people of all political stripes have kind of pulled back a little bit and tried to paint a different vision of the future. We were talking before the break about radical individualism.

Q. Yes.
A. Well, there’s been a critique of radical individualism both of the right, as you might have it with, you know, unrestrained business or the National Rifle Association, or of the left that might be represented in some cases by the ACLU or, you know, people who want no restrictions on

Q. Yeah.
A. –internet pornography, for example.

Q. But, you know, it’s so difficult to find those common points of agreement in a society. Deborah Tannen wrote this book titled, The Argument Culture, in which she said that we essentially settled into, particularly within the media, have settled into these extreme positions on-on-on whatever issue it might be, and we’re not really so interested in finding common ground or in building consensus as we are entertaining the masses with our arguments about whatever issue that we’re talking about. And, as a matter of fact, you devote a chapter to Media Minds in the Public Good, and the role and responsibility of the media. It’s just one of many institutions that we can look at in American society that, in my view, have kind of dropped their sense of social responsibility.
A. Absolutely. And there’s real common ground in that judgment. I mean, people, you know, people of faith feel that way. People, you know, other people feel that way. People on the political right feel that way. Hillary Clinton has complained often about what she calls the “modeling of impulsive sexuality,” and the messages that it’s teaching children. As has Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund. In fact, let me read you a series of statements that I sometimes read when I give talks on this subject. Statements like, our decaying society needs a social values revolution. Or, we really have to have a fundamental sheet change in values. Or, something’s terribly awry with modern life. You know, you might think those words came from James Dobson or George W. Bush or Dan Quayle. No, they came respectively from Jesse Jackson, Marian Wright Edelman, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Q. But what is interesting is-is what we’re seeing is some common ground in terms of our alarm about social deterioration, but then when it gets to policy approaches to solving those problems, we still end up getting locked into very, very different approaches, don’t we?
A. Yeah. And it’s especially on some issues where the culture war still is being fought over abortion, gay rights, tax policies. But there are other issues where, it seems to me, there’s an emerging near consensus.
Q. Yeah.
A. Such as concerning that fact that the mass media are having toxic effects on youth culture. There’s just wide agreement on that. Or the need for rebuilding character education in American schools. There’s a bipartisan centrist movement that supports that.
Q. Well, I agree and-and at the same time it is-it’s very, very frustrating to see the lack of responsiveness at times to-to, you know, for instance in the mass media as it relates to youth culture issues. There-there still is a-a machine there that believes they can make money off of stuff that is, virtually, everybody agrees is not good for the soul.
A. Right. That’s the free enterprise system at its worst.
Q. That is. You know, when you-you could have started this book anywhere in your evaluation of what’s been happening in the deterioration of the social fabric, you started with the issue of sexual mores. Why was that the place to start? And what is it that you wanted to establish in that part of the discussion?
A. Well, I was working from there to a discussion of the decline of marriage as an institution. And from there to the declining well-being of American children.
Q. Yes.
A. And so it seemed to me to be kind of a natural progression to talk about the sexual revolution of the past 40 years and the dramatic increases in non-marital births, and incohabitation and so forth, and then that kind of feeds into the next chapter’s discussion of what’s happened to marriage in America. And that, in turn, feeds what’s happening to children.
Q. When we look at that complex of issues, they-they really do add up to some of the most alarming snapshots of what’s happened in American culture for the bad. Between the promiscuity, the cohabitation, the divorce rate, the relationship of divorce to depression in society, and then, ultimately, to what’s happened with children with the poverty, and all sorts of pathologies that you talk about.
A. Right. And we now have really quite massive evidence that few people know about that relates the well-being of children to family structure. Even when you hold family income, family race, family educational level constant, statistically, still children who are in alternative families¢â‚¬¦ Well, let’s put it positively. Children who are co-nurtured by two loving adults who are enduringly committed to each other, are at about half or less the risk of needing treatment for emotional or behavioral problems in the last 12 months, for being expelled from school or having to repeat a grade at school, or being involved in juvenile delinquency.
Q. Well, and when you look at the role of fathers in the family, and what we’re learning from social science about the importance of father in the complex of the family life.
A. That is very directly pertinent because, on the one hand, we celebrate today the importance of father care. We celebrate more involved dads and more equal gender roles, contributions of men and women to both domestic and parental tasks. That’s part of the American paradox that we celebrate, I think, the greater gender equality. At the same time, ironically, father care has actually diminished because there’s so much more non-marital birth and a doubled divorce rate compared to 60 years ago. Excuse me, compared to 40 years ago. And moreover, six out of seven of those children are in maternal care with very little contact, if any, with their father.
Q. Now-now we’re to a-the-the subject that is just– it bothers me immensely as a broadcaster. And that is the way that social data is manipulated for different purposes. There was a time when we believed that the scientific process would result in facts which would be the basis for good decisions. And when you talk about the social science, the discoveries in the area of divorce and families, and you talked about the-both parents in the loving and nurturing environment and so forth, on something that there seems to be great, great social research on, we still have these reports coming in that-that are the alternative views and are often picked up by the-by the media, and even policy makers, as the views that are-should be used for the-for the decision making.
A. Well, that’s right, but I think off balance. The social science opinion about the importance of family has moved to a point that values co-parenting. And, you know, even while the social science consensus has also moved to an affirmation of gay and lesbian people, for example, so in some ways it’s moved liberal and in other ways it’s moved conservative.
Q. We’re going to pick up there when we come back.
Our guest is David Myers. The book is, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. You’re listening to Seattle’s Christian Talk, AM-820. We’ll be right back.
(Break.)
Well, this-this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting this afternoon with Dr. David Myers. His book is The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty.
Q. In the Forewords, our mutual friend, Martin Marty says of this book, as he read the first reading of American Paradox, he said, why don’t Americans make up their minds? Behind that there might even be another thought. Why doesn’t David Myers make up his mind? And what Marty is referring to is really the superb job David Myers has done of capturing the paradox that, on the one hand, there are these very discouraging trends growing out of the sexual mores of the 60s, the promiscuity, the cohabitation, the divorce rates that have come out of marriages, the impact on children, poverty’s psychological impact on kids, health issues, and so forth and at the same time as we were discussing just before the break, social science research has been documenting these problems, and there is a growing consensus of people among of both left and right politically, that we have a problem and need to address it, and that is-that is kind of the essence of this paradox. You know, I wanted, David, to get into the issue of money and misery because, of course, the-the subtitle, Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty, points out that during the very time that we were experiencing this social erosion we have been experiencing this economic boom and-and you-you have a very interesting section in the book that said, does money buy happiness? Few of us would agree. But ask us a different question. Would a little more money make you a little happier? And you talk about the social research at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research asking what hampers the search for the good life? And the most common answer is, we’re short of money. How is it that-that money and the issue of wealth has become such an important dynamic in-in people’s misunderstanding that that money could, in fact, make them happier?
A. Yeah. You know, if you ask people would money make you happier? They deny it. And yet, this last fall, 73 percent of entering American collegiates, that’s double the percentage nearly of 30 years ago, said it was very important, or essential, that they be very well off financially.
Q. Really.
A. That-that was the number one ranked goal among 19 listed, outranking helping others in difficulty, raising a family, becoming an expert in one’s profession. Those are important things, too. But for today’s entering collegiates, most important is being very well off financially. That, in their minds, defines the good life.
Q. Now how did these
A. It’s the American Dream.
Q. How did these kids get that idea?
A. They got it, in part, from the modeling of the good life that they’ve seen on television. The associations of the good life, that is, material well-being with status, and I suppose with their lust for all the cool things. That, you know, wouldn’t you rather fly executive coach than fly I mean, fly executive than fly coach? Wouldn’t you rather ski on the mountains of Western Washington than on the sand dunes of Michigan? Wouldn’t you rather have a yacht than a little dinky sailboat out on the Sound there? I mean, it’s..
Q. But the interesting juxtaposition you have made in The American Paradox is that we know that money does not, in fact, make you happier. And we know that there is a spiritual poverty, as reflected in the unraveling of the social fabric, that has accompanied this great lust and pursuit of-of wealth.
A. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. I mean, we’ve got bigger houses and more broken homes. We’ve got higher income and lower morale. Let me give you a simple statistic. Actually two of them juxtaposed. If you can picture this graph in your mind. One is the rising income. The real inflation-adjusted per-person income in the United States have more than doubled from about $8,000 back in 1960, to more than $20,000 today. Thanks partly to rising wages in the first half of that period, partly to the doubling of married women’s employment. At the same time, the percent of Americans who say they’re very happy has slightly declined over that same time period, while the percent who are experiencing significant depression and are at risk for suicide has increased. So it’s a kind of irony. And moreover, people at the highest income levels are hardly higher than people who have enough to be in control of their lives and have life’s necessities, here in the United States and in Canada and in other Western industrialized nations.
A. So the answer to the question, Are rich Americans happier, is what?
Q. Is only very slightly so. Not nearly as much as what they think. And, indeed, people who come into great wealth by winning, oh, the State lottery, by being ranked among one of the hundred wealthiest Americans, and this group has been surveyed as well, at first are euphoric when they obtain that wealth. And particularly if, like lottery winners, they win it instantly. But soon they adapt. And over time their emotions return to the mix of emotions that marked their lives before the great, good thing.
Q. Wow.
A. And at the other extreme are people who experience tragedy, and I don’t mean to diminish the tragedy, of what happens when, say, they’re in an automobile accident and you become paralyzed below the waist. Or you lose your job, or whatever. And initially, I mean, these are devastating experiences. But even after becoming, you know, having a significant disability, people cope amazingly well. They adapt to changing objective circumstance. That actually relates to my own loss of hearing that I write about in that other book, A Quiet World. It gives me hope. Because if I become deaf, as was my mother, my golly, I will cope. I will adjust to this.
Q. Yeah.
A. We have a great adaptive capacity. And it means that as the rising tide lifts most of the boats, although it’s been lifting the (outs faster than the diggings) to be sure, we’ll, you know, our emotions don’t ride upward with it.
Q. Well, so how in the world do we put this money thing in perspective? I mean, it seems like one of the lessons ought to be to those entering, you know, college freshmen, whose 71 percent or 73 percent said it was their number one priority to have great wealth, I think you said. There-there ought to be a lesson in there for them, shouldn’t there?
A. Absolutely. And the lesson is that what really matters when it comes to your own personal well-being, is not at the end of the day how much money you have. It’s such things as close, supportive, intimate, satisfying relationships.
Q. Yeah.
A. We are made with a deep, deep need to belong, or satisfaction of our spiritual needs, which Americans feel more keenly these days.
Q. But doesn’t that generation, in part because so many of them come from divorced families and so forth, don’t they have a-a-a-a love/hate relationship with the idea of intimacy with another person? I mean, don’t they deeply want it and yet they’re extremely fearful of it?
A. Well, and they’re putting it off, too. Interestingly, when I graduated from Whitworth College, my wife and I were married as undergraduates, and the college provided married student housing for undergraduates. Today that’s not necessary on any college campus because the average age of marriage has increased by four years for men and five years for women. We’re marrying later, we’re marrying less often. So we’re less connected in this and in other ways. And, in fact, Robert Putnam, who’s a wonderful public policy expert at Harvard University, has written a great book entitled, Bowling Alone, that documents the decline of social connection, or what he calls “ social capital,” in the United States.
Well, we’re going to pick up there with some concluding comments. You’re going to have to spend more time with David Myers by picking up his book, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty. We’ll talk about community, and then I do want to mention faith and its role in society. A faith community always was a-a place where you could find community instead of radical individualism. Maybe not so much so now. We’ll find out when we come back with David Myers. And the book is, The American Paradox, published by Yale University Press.
(Break.)
Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’ve been enjoying immensely our conversation with David Myers who is the John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Hope College in Michigan. Author of a number of textbooks, as a matter of fact, a lot of you college students and some-some in-in-in high school have actually used his textbooks, including our daughter, who’s a senior in high school right here in the Seattle area. And she was quite excited to learn that I was going to be able to talk with David Myers today.
A. Dick, I think your daughter should know that you’re pretty cool, too. I mean, I’ve been on your show twice now, and you’re just the sterling example of intelligence in talk radio, somebody who actually reads books that he’s talking about. And sometimes daughters don’t appreciate the prophet in their own home.
Q. Well, and I appreciate that-that word from you and hopefully you will-you will-you will weigh the scales in my favor in the ongoing debate over whether Dad is an acceptable person or not.
A. It’s pretty hard for Dads to be cool.
Q. Yeah, it is. Well, when we-when we get to this issue, you know, as we said from the outset, the-the whole lack of community is a big part of the spiritual dilemma of American society and culture because we’re experiencing wealth but we’re not experiencing a sense of-of-of spiritual connectedness or social connectedness. You had a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. Way back in 1967 he said, “This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.” I mean, just describe for us why community has always been so important, what it is that we’re observing that is alarming about the deterioration of community, and why it is that you feel that there is some hopefulness that it can be recaptured.
A. Big question. Several questions. First of all, social psychologists these days are talking a lot about what they are now calling “our deep need to belong.” Our ancestors grew up in small social groups. They were people who depended on one another, and those who did so were more likely to survive, contribute their genes to posterity, and to us. And so we, too, today have a deep need to connect. And people who have close, intimate, supportive friendships, or who are involved in marriage are more likely to say that they are very happy. Here’s a simple, stunning figure. Probably the single best predictor of whether somebody in America says they’re very happy or not is very simply whether they’re married. Twenty-three percent of more than 40,000 randomly sampled adults over the last 43 years who’ve been single have said they’re very happy, as have 40 percent, nearly twice as many, of married adults. And, if you say your marriage is a good one, to your closest friend, it’s a happy marriage, the chances are almost six in ten that you think life, as a whole, is very happy.
Q. Hm.
A. If it’s not a very healthy or happy relationship, the chances are about one in ten you think life is very happy. So close friendships, an example of which would be a marriage it’s not the only example and it’s not necessary for everybody but it’s just an example of a close connection.
Q. Hm. Extraordinarily important.
A. Yes. Yes. It’s an extraordinarily important predictor of personal well-being, and that’s why I think there’s good reason to care about the health of close relationships and even the health of community. And-and that’s why, in your second part your question was asking about why the cause for concern. I mentioned just before the break that Robert Putnam has written about the decline of social capital and the increase in individualism. This is reflected, for example, in everything from the decline of membership in all sorts of civic organization, JCs, League of Women Voters, Business and Professional Women, AAUW, and so forth, to the decline in the frequency with which people are having others over for dinner.
Q. Yeah.
A. The decline in the frequency with which we’re voting. And even the decline of the proportion of our income that we’re giving to charitable causes. We’re giving more money away, but even though we’ve got much more income, as for portion of our income, we’re giving away not quite so much as we did 40 years ago.
Q. Now, in the interest of time I-I want to ask a question about faith and society because the faith community has always been a community-building place, but it’s also been a-a moral force in society. You-you quote Gandhi way early in the book. We’re talking about seven social sins and when I read that list, politics without principle, wealth without work, commerce without morality, pleasure without conscience, education without character, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice. Every one of those social sins has been addressed within a faith community, traditionally, and in America, as well. What has happened with the lessening of influence of the faith community in American culture and society? And what role can it play/should it play in the restoration of a socially vibrant culture in the midst of prosperity?
A. Well, I think it can play a significant role. First, there are 350,000 local faith communities in the United States, each of which is a support network, a care center, for those who are actively engaged with it. And those who are actively engaged with faith communities have, in fact, been found to be much less likely to engage in juvenile delinquency, to abuse drugs and alcohol, they’re less likely to commit crime, for example. In census tracts where churchgoing is high, crime rates tend to be low. People of faith are considerably, in Gallup surveys, considerably more likely to be generous with their both their money and their time, as they volunteer time to community agencies. So it’s interesting, even Voltaire, who was a thorough-going skeptic, once said, I don’t believe in essence but, “I want my attorney, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, that I shall be robbed and cuckolded less often.” I don’t think God exists, but I want everybody around me to believe in God.
Q. Yeah. That’s what he said. Well, you know, and that-there’s-there’s an attitude about religion in America today that, man, we don’t really want it. We can’t live with it, but we can’t live without it.
A. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s¢â‚¬¦ You know, it is interesting the percentage of Americans who feel a need to experience spiritual growth in some form was rising rather dramatically during the 1990s in a couple Gallup surveys, and we have pretty good evidence that an active religious faith, participation in a faith community with all its support and hope and meaning that rides along with that, is associated with personal well-being, and even with physical health. People who never attend church in the United States, 26 percent of them say they are very happy, as to 47 percent of those who attend church, synagogue or mosque several times weekly.
Q. So is there a role for the religious community there is a role for the religious community to be part of the rebuilding process of community and any number of the issues that we’ve been talking about, and yet for the most part I was talking to George Barna the other day, the researcher, who said that when you look at the influential institutions in people’s lives that religion is barely making the top ten in a lot of the research today. So very much needed, but not very influential. How do we deal with that?
A. Well, I just saw a new Gallup survey this morning showing the percentage of Americans who declare that their faith is a very important influence in their life, and that’s actually a fairly high percentage, although it may be that they’re self-congratulating themselves.
Q. What was the percentage?
A. Well, I was trying to recall. I mean, it most Americans declare that their religious faith is a-at least a somewhat important force in their lives, if not a very important factor in how they live their lives. That’s what they claim.
Q. Yeah.
A. So, you know, what’s actually the case is something we’d have to do more research on.
Q. Well, folks, speaking of more research, I’m going to-to have to wrap up our time with David Myers now. But I would recommend that you do further reading and spend more time with him by picking up a copy of the book, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty, published by Yale University Press, just packed with useful information and ideas and thoughts about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might go constructively in our future. This is Dick Staub. We’ll be back right after this.

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