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This book was originally published as “What God Told Me to Tell You (Guaranteed Dogma Free).” I was never entirely comfortable with this title for a number of reasons, among them a fear that this might cause some to think I was preaching a message as if I had some kind of inside track on who or what God is and what God wants. I’m not, and I don’t. As you read this book I believe you will see this for yourself. But I did like the “Guaranteed Dogma Free” part, which I added to bring a bit of humor to the whole thing. I have carried this guarantee over from the original title, as it still holds true.Why does the idea of God have to be so serious, anyway? I wrote the first edition of this book a number of years ago and, as with other things from my past, there are things I’d like to change. Despite my desire to make “improvements,” I have kept these (mostly) to a minimum.

That being said, I have added a second part to this book containing a number of transcripts of talks I have given in the years since the original book was published. I feel that the changes made from the original help to clarify the overriding message of the book. The book's message is simple and clear and despite the title, it does not require a belief in a god. But it does help if the reader is willing to accept the concept of a power that is greater than one's self.

Oftentimes when people learn that I am a hospice chaplain they will ask me how I do it. They wonder if I find it depressing or discouraging to see so much dying and death. I tell them that, while it is hard and sad at times, I also see the better sides of humanity. I have witnessed the love and caring that is within people and the great acts of simple kindness that I believe is part of our true nature. But there is another benefit that has also changed me. Doing this work reminds me that eventually I will also die and that today it’s important to be here now and to be as fully in life as possible. it reminds me that we all struggle and suffer at times. Helping one another on this journey can bring us to our better selves.


But I will admit there is something that does trouble me in this work I do. It is not so much the suffering I may encounter due to disease. It’s when I witness the pain people endure due to so many toxic and misleading beliefs about God, whether they believe in one or not.

I do my best when I encounter an individual in spiritual distress to connect that person to the positive aspects of their particular faith or whatever may be of help in making sense and finding meaning in a difficult time. I also know that there is value in offering a person the opportunity to confide and share what they have kept hidden within themselves due to shame; and if I am able to listen in an open and nonjudgmental way, then the person may be able to release and let go of the burden they have carried for so long. I wish I could report that everyone gets to this point, but sadly, I cannot. So, based on my years in hospice chaplaincy, I felt a renewed incentive to release an updated version of this book and to get this information to people before they are in circumstances when someone such as me might be called in.
-Rich


READERS COMMENTS:

“…So direct and simple, smacking here and there of Studs Terkel, Carl Sandberg, Joseph Campbell, and Thomas Merton. Quite a load of wisdom from so slim a volume.” -Joseph Pelkey

"Once you start this book, you will have a difficult time putting it down, and you will leave feeling better about yourself, your true purpose, and about life.
-Rev. G. J. Little

“Down to earth, engaging and inspiring - there is a deep beauty surrounding his warm message.”
-Dave Goetz, Musician

"A great source for clearer understanding. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to go within and ask themselves 'What am I suppose to do with my Life?’ ”
-Rev.Brenda Casavoy, Hospice Chaplain