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Sense and Spirituality

Borders invites you to a conversation with God.


Growing up Catholic, Judi Bar was mystified by "this God thing." Even as an adult, she didn't know what she believed, and she couldn't bring herself to pray. Then her father became gravely ill. He lingered, comatose, in intensive care, attended by Bar, her mother, and brother. At the moment of his death, all three experienced the room filling with light -- as if the sun had broken through the clouds. Only later did they realize there was no window in the ICU.

Bar is convinced she "saw God in my dad's face" that day. The experience jolted her into a new understanding of spirituality. "I knew you didn't have to fear in order to feel the love of God. It made me realize I needed to find out more."

Her quest led Bar to Conversations with God, the book by Neale Donald Walsch that became the first in a best-selling series. Now, along with her fiancé David Boyce, she runs a weekly Conversations with God discussion group at Borders in Westlake. It will start again October 3 after a summer-long hiatus.

Boyce turned to the books after growing disillusioned with his Christian religion, which he says was based on "too many have-to-do's rather than want-to-do's." The concepts described by Walsch -- that we're all one, that we create our reality -- made sense to Boyce.

They also help temper our response to tragedy. "Everything really does happen for a reason," says Bar. Goodness can come of even terrible events like those of September 11, she says. "Americans are becoming more united, more aware of treating people as we would like to be treated."

She and Boyce, who have attended workshops and retreats conducted by Walsch, say the author doesn't hold himself up as someone with special abilities to talk to God. The message is "We all can do it," says Bar.

In fact, says Boyce, "God is talking to us every day, in many ways. We just have to pay attention."

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