Author: jimsherblom

Nepal and Bhutan

My first book SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing took twenty months to go from concept through eleven drafts to published author.  It has been on the market for about seven months now and seems to have found its audience, exceeding my admittedly modest expectations.  But before it was even published i had the genesis for my second book. Over the last eighteen months Spiritual Pilgrim: Mystic Journeys of Pilgrimage has gone through thirteen drafts.  Today I sent the final manuscript to my publisher for proofing and interior design with a planned launch date of September 2018.  Hurrah!  Having spent 18 months reflecting, remembering, dreaming, and writing about spiritual pilgrimages, it feels like time for me to go into the mystic once again and embrace the divine mystery on its own terms. I’ve just scheduled my Uber to pick me up in twelve hours and take me to Logan airport to embark on a pilgrimage to Nepal and Bhutan.  We will begin by visiting the Swayambhunath and Boudhanath, and Pashupatinath temples in Kathmandu.  Then off to the rural …

April 19, 1775

This is the tale of intrigue you perhaps never heard behind the battle that morning of April 19, 1775.  Rebellious English colonists had been preparing for this day for months.  On February 1st the Second (illegal) Massachusetts Provincial Congress, with John Hancock presiding, called for the rebellion’s growing military supplies to be gathered and stored in Concord.  By March 9th General Gage, Massachusetts’ Military Governor, had a complete list of quantities and types of weapons stored there, and where exactly each item was hidden.  Many weapons were stored on the farm of Colonial Militia Col. James Barrett. On March 20th Gage sent two British soldiers in disguise to Concord to meet with those citizens loyal to king and country to plan the route for a military excursion to destroy the weapons and military supplies.  They dined and spent the night with Daniel Bliss, a prominent lawyer and son of the former minister of the village church, First Parish in Concord.  Concord had been turned into an armed camp, with fourteen pieces of cannon, a large …

Talking and Walking Transcendentally

On the cold and drizzly afternoon of Sunday, April 15, 2018, Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom lectured about “Transcendentalism in the 21st century” to a packed, standing room only, crowd at the new Walden Pond Visitor Center.  He spoke about experiencing reality bounded by our senses alone, or guided by reason, intuition, and ultimately unknowable mystery. Jim then led the crowd on a journey of the imagination along the Old Carlisle Road in Estabrook Woods, into the wildness of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, paddling along parts of the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord rivers, and finally from Concord village along the Emerson-Thoreau Amble to Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond. Along the way Jim indicated where archeologists have found artifacts from indigenous people in the fields of the Old Manse, and along the Reformatory Branch Trail where there was a campground of the Nipmuc tribe of the Algonquin nation (yielding Concord’s oldest artifacts at 11,000 years old).  Their imaginative amble crossed over Nashawtuc Hill, walking in Tahatawan’s footsteps, and out to Egg Rock, before circling …

Gratitude for Suffering

Three weeks ago, I was preparing to lead a church workshop on the power of mental framing in determining how we respond to suffering.  Borrowing a Buddhist concept, I framed it as becoming aware of the inextricable links between dukkha (suffering) and sukkah (joy).  I didn’t know how I would illustrate this reconciliation of spirit, then a forty-foot tree fell towards our house from thirty feet away. Over thirty years ago Loretta and I bought this house surrounded by tall trees.  For three decades they have grown taller.  About thirty feet from our house is a marshy area that had become super saturated in the early spring thaw.  Then a particularly heavy and wet snow was more than that old tree could bear.  It was torn out by its roots and toppled directly towards the bed in which I was sleeping. The suffering is a big tree fell on our house and startled me awake.  The joy is it crashed off our roof and fell just outside my bedroom.  The suffering is that it smashed …

Transcendentalism in the 21st Century

Walden Pond State Reservation and The Thoreau Society proudly present…“Transcendentalism in the 21st Century,” a lecture by Reverend Jim Sherblom, author of Spiritual Audacity: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing PLEASE JOIN US! Sunday, April 15, 2018, 12:00pm-2:00pm, at the New Walden Pond Visitor Center, 915 Walden Street, Concord, MA. Phone# 978-396-3254 What is transcendentalism and how does it fit into modern life? Are you a transcendentalist??? Come learn about transcendentalism from a twenty-first century Concord transcendentalist, Reverend Dr. Jim Sherblom, whose journey led him from poverty to Harvard Business School, then from biotech entrepreneur to Brookline Minister through a series of vision quests and theological studies. He emerged as a spiritual teacher, preacher, and friend of God. Jim will lead you on an imaginary journey over some of the ninety miles of wild trails that Henry David Thoreau so often walked, leading to Walden Pond and beyond to the Fairhaven Cliffs. The verbal journey begins at noon on Sunday, April 15, 2018. Following Jim’s talk, join him for a transcendental walk through the wildness of Walden …

Icy Transcendence

A transcendentalist embraces the world differently than a materialist does.  We often are sillier, more engaged with nature, and find joy and equanimity where others might find misery.  I was walking around Walden Pond one cold day last month, where we had had several days of bitterly cold weather already, without any snow or other disturbance of the pond’s surface.  I discovered the ice was several feet thick and as clear as glass, walking on it I could look down six or eight feet through the ice to the clear pond bottom below me.   Further out onto the pond it was like looking down into the abyss of the deep. This brought to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s seasonal transcendence walking Walden Pond.  In many of his winter journal entries he wrote about embracing icy cold winter days.  In one he wrote, “Pleasant walk yesterday, the most pleasant of days.  At Walden pond, I found an instrument which I call the ice-harp.  A thin coat of ice covered a part of the pond but melted around …

Jim Sherblom delivering Andover Newton Theological School 2015 CommencementJim Sherblom delivering Andover Newton Theological School 2015 Commencement

God’s Time

One of the Andover Newton at Yale Divinity School students in my Unitarian Universalist Ecclesiology, Ministry and Polity class last semester invited me to participate in her Mid-Degree Review along with other YDS professors and ordained clergy.  As this distinguished group talked among ourselves about the challenges of ministry today, a recurring theme centered around church time and expectations management, until it dawned on me, we were often seeking to follow our own sense of time and priorities, rather than God’s time. To walk with God requires that we humbly adjust our expectations to God’s will, in God’s sweet time.  This felt like a humbling Lenten reflection, this time of the church year when we are annually stuck in this already/not yet pilgrimage of waiting for God’s time to finally arrive. For those of us who are over achievers, or simply seeking to exceed expectations, it can be difficult and frustrating when we are not able to set our own pace.  But discerning God’s call for us is best done in God’s time at God’s …