Featured Interview With Arthur Yavelberg
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
My father was in the Air Force, so I was “raised” in a different place every two years. However, when he was stationed overseas, my mother–who is Mexican–and I would go to Philadelphia where her sisters had families. I now live in Tucson and, yes, I have a little chihuahua mix for a pet–“Frodo.”
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
Books have been my companions for as long as I can remember. Part of that had to do with growing up as an only child and moving around so much. I always like to write, too. I would write essays, contribute to newspapers, and play at fiction. There always seemed to be something magical about language. Later I had the thought that it was possibly one of the reasons why, in the Bible, God creates the universe through the spoken word and why the Logos is so important in the New Testament.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Richard Bach’s “Illusions” hit quite a nerve with me several years ago. Come to think of it, in line with the book, I can’t believe it was an accident that it came my way. I always liked Leon Uris, too. He had such a way of creating lives out of the past that it was probably one of the influences that led me to teaching history. And then there were the biographies of Irving Stone. Through him people like Michelangelo and Sigmund Freud became personal friends of mine!
Tell us a little about your latest book?
“A Theology for the Rest of Us” is a compilation of the spiritual ideas I have explored over many years. While there are lots of spiritual writers these days, most of them are preaching some dogma–even about how to approach something as personal as mysticism–or else, rather ironically, dismiss the value of books and words as irrelevant to the pursuit of the divine. I believe in the power of rational thought and that there is much to be gained by exploring the answers presented in such sacred texts as the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Tao Teh Ching. Writers like Fyodor Dostoyevsky have examined many of these themes in extraordinary dramatic style. So, I have detailed much of what I’ve learned–what has resonated, what has not, and what questions I have. As opposed to preaching some dogma, I try to encourage readers to become spiritual seekers themelves–in line with the Buddha’s command to “Be ye lamps unto yourselves!” Similarly, people often overlook the fact that the 10 Commandments are addressed in the second person–suggesting that every individual has the obligation to “love the Lord YOUR God” with both the mind and the heart. One simply cannot approach the Divine on a personal basis by just parroting the words of others.
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