"We would rather run ourselves down than not to
speak of ourselves at all."
It is a signal of things to come that Gerard Thomas Straub opens his book Salvation for Sale: An Insider's View of Pat Robertson's Ministry with a list of quotations that begins with Miguel de Unamuno and winds up with Woody Allen. It is a big signal that the middle of the list (which precedes a Preface that is followed by a Prologue—will this book never start?) holds a shiny offering from Kahlil Gibran.
This resolutely eclectic collection is our first peek into the knapsack of a spiritual wanderer. And through the course of this book he will return time and again to his goody bag, there to find the extracted thoughts of, among many others, Rollo May, Thomas Jefferson, W.C. Fields, Thoreau, Gandhi, and "the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche." These are Mr. Straub's souvenirs from a "lifelong spiritual odyssey," a quest for Truth that has taken him from a "guiltridden" Roman Catholic boyhood to "a humanistic philosophy" to an exploration of "Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism" to his current spiritual resting place.
He begins this journey of "torment, prayer and pain" by calling out, "Who was I?" Beats me. Three hundred pages later he asks, "What am...