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EHE Process/Spiritual Path ,Spirituality
Record Type: Review   ID: 303

Modern-Day-Miracles: How Ordinary People Experience Supernatural Acts of God

Prather, Paul

 The author is a journalist who specializes in writing on spiritual and religious subjects aimed at a general audience. He is a minister himself. A variety of experiences are presented in this book. Prather uses the general term miracle. I would use the general term exceptional human experience. Both terms honor the sense of the divine that is associated with these experiences that seemingly defy the laws of nature, although to my mind, the jury is still out on the dynamics involved. Explanations and theories vary according to prevailing world-views, but the phenomenology of the experiences remains very similar regardless of time or place. His working definition is based on what the experiencers of miracles avow: they "believe them to have been wrought by God, and that assurance has warmed recipients’ hearts and deepened their faith" (p. 18). There are chapters on historical miracles, 20th century miracles, arguments against miracles and those favoring miracles, miraculous conversions, healings, miracles of deliverance, appearances, prophecies, speaking in tongues, and miraculous faith. The last 3 chapters I will mention in brief. Chapter 13 is "Why Now?" This is one of the most interesting because it is about the amazing upsurge in the incidence of reports of miracles today, accompanied by "a growing willingness among many ministers, health industry professionals and the general public to accept such reports" (p. 191). He suggests one reason for it is that the Enlightenment Paradigm "has failed us miserably" (p. 191). Also, the postmodern period has "reopened the cosmos to the possibility of the transcendent" (p. 193). The next chapter surveys ways in which the experiences are alike. Two, especially, relate to EHEs as well. "They happen for a purpose beyond the miracle" (p. 205). EHEs, too, are if anything more notable for their spiritualizing aftereffects than the actual experience. He also notes that miracles "affect the lives of bystanders as profoundly as they affect those touched directly by God" (p. 207). We usually do not learn the effect of EHEs on bystanders, but in some accounts one person’s EHE is that experienced by another. There are other less dramatic contagious effects as well. (I call these vicarious EHEs.) Although one of the 5 main characteristics of miracles that he lists is that their occurrence is unpredictable, in the final chapter he lists 8 steps one can take to receive a miracle.
Publisher Information:Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel, 1996. 96 refs
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