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Holy Personal

Holy Personal book cover
Holy Personal

by Laura Chester
October 2000
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The meditation tower that Jerry created on Whidbey Island and Jerry's personal story has a chapter in the book, Holy Personal: Looking for Small Private Places of Worship by Laura Chester with photographs by Donna DeMari and foreword by Thomas Moore. The day Laura called to ask Jerry if she might include his tower in a book she was working on, Jerry had just completed the last details of the tower. The timing was uncanny.

Laura, living on the other side of the country, had heard about Jerry's tower by word of mouth! The tower is called "The Flaming Stupa" in Laura's book, a name given by a group of Tibetan monks who came and blessed the tower. The story of the Tower and Jerry's connection with Laura Chester is told in more detail in Jerry's book.

From a chapel made of tires in Alabama to one fashioned from wine casks in California, all these creations invite the author to ponder many questions, among them: what spiritual path leads someone to create a private place of worship? does such a space conflict with more public worship? why do artists so often feel moved to explore their spirituality? As the author says, "Holy personal...bears witness to a yearning for religious privacy, a deep desire to create for oneself a holy chamber, a place where creative expression joins hands with devotion".

Included in the book is a visitor's guide to selected worship spots. In his foreword Thomas Moore writes, "when we are seized by the spirit, we may be tempted towards grandiosity. We may become inflated, believing that we know and possess the truth". But here in the world of the holy personal, ordinary people enter the mysteries of the microcosm.

One of the charms of the private chapel is its small scale, which can transport one back to "spiritual childhood". In fact, the smaller the space, the more the imagination is engaged.

Laura Chester has been writing, editing, and publishing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for over twenty-five years. Her most recent books include a new edition of Lupus Novice, an account of her personal struggle and breakthrough with the autoimmune disease S.L.E.; a short story collection, Bitches Ride Alone; and a novel, The Story of the Lake. She has edited several important anthologies, Deep Down, Cradle & All, and The Unmade Bed.