Books and Publications

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Birding in the Face of Terror

Fiction. Paperback, 398 pgs, apx 121,000 words. $19 via ND Media Bookstore. $18.95 via Amazon. E-book (downloadable PDF) available for $2.99 via Book Locker

Release date: 19 June 2020

How would our lives be different if we could weather the storms of tragedy and loss without fear? What if the fearlessness were not a result of isolation from others or insulation in false hope and comforting beliefs, but of full immersion in uncertainty, armed only with the knowledge and trust that what we perceive as the entirety of a lifetime is nothing compared to what Life really is?

With the raw, surreal events of September 11, 2001 as the backdrop, “Birding in the Face of Terror” is told by two parallel narrators, Joseph and Pedro, facing the same spiritual crisis. Both must use their scattershot religious and philosophical background to come to grips with psychological exiles of their own devising. Joseph, trapped by circumstance as an eyewitness to the terrifying events on the East Coast, is forced from his agoraphobic shell into a hero’s role. Pedro is secluded and silenced on the West Coast, left to plumb his own interior landscape to make sense of it all. The saving grace of connection comes in ways both ordinary and mysterious when a kindred clan of mystics from the Heartland emerge, offering a middle road between their extremes.

As John Donne famously told us, “No man is an island.” “Birding” contemplates this timeless truth anew, unveiling answers both familiar and revolutionary. Though it flips the bird in the face of our post-9/11 security hysteria and de facto state religion, it does so by pointing toward an alternate way of seeing that confounds common assumptions about who we are. While tipping some of our most sacred cows, it also makes space for everyday miracles to work their wonders through characters who never expected themselves to be holy. The result is an upwelling inspiration, steeped in a no-nonsense pantheistic spirituality that will speak to today’s savvy, multicultural truth seekers.

“Birding” is an antidote for our age of anxiety, a hopepunk testament of love and wholeness for a culture broken by fear.

The Continuing Story of Ananias and Sapphira

Fiction with commentary. E-book (PDF file)–69 pgs, apx 22,700 words. $8 via ND Media Bookstore

Original release date: 4 Feb 2017; Deluxe Edition reissued 29 Jul 2020

In the New Testament’s Book of Acts, a mere eleven verses tell the story of Ananias and Sapphira, two sadsack converts who were caught defying the rules of the first Christian community in Jerusalem and promptly “gave up the ghost.” Based on these records, mainstream religion treats them as thieves who got what they deserve, and as far as we know the story ends there….until Ananias wakes up in his counselor’s office at the Middle Realm division of Pearly Gates, Inc.

With the help of the archangel Gabriel as a world–weary case worker, Ananias must untangle the circumstances of his abrupt passing, and grapple to understand why his beliefs did not give him a free ticket to Heaven. What he learns through his purging process gives an entirely different meaning to the concept of salvation, and teaches us that, no matter how bureaucratic it can seem through our black-and-white-colored lenses, Divine mercy leaves no one behind.

In the spirit of The Last Temptation of Christ which inspired it, Waldo Noesta’s debut story challenges every literal assumption we make about the Good News of Christianity while affirming its essence. As an antidote to exclusivity and scriptural idolatry, it offers in its place a spiritually progressive vision based in the Perennial wisdom that Christianity shares with other faiths, as well as basic human values like compassion and self-sacrifice. The result is a cleansing of the lens through which we view the ancient teachings on timeless metaphysical truth, a discourse on the role of fresh insight in keeping those teachings relevant and vital, and a joyful celebration of life and love.

The 2020 Deluxe Edition includes a brand new, very personal reflection on the backstory of A&S by the author, recalling his time as a misfit member of an evangelical church in Oregon, as well as commentary straight from the composition notebook where A&S was penned.

The Even Better News: An Avant-God Manifesto

Essay. E-book (PDF file) — 37 pages, apx 10,400 words. $5 via ND Media Bookstore

Release date: 22 July 2020

Originally penned by JP in 2014 as two separate articles to function as the opening statement on the former Heretic Asylum website, Waldo smooshed them together and added new insights for a fresh take on this tribute to progressive theology and DIY religion. If those seem to you like oxymoronic terms, you need to read this. Religion depends upon a progressive minority to keep it both relevant and spiritually nourishing. The innovative thinkers and inner cosmonauts, exploring with fidelity to the traditional theological frameworks, are in fact the only reason these frameworks still exist as trailheads for the path to the Eternal and Absolute. 

You will learn why religion becomes stronger and more effective for its ultimate purpose when its legends are taken as poetic metaphor rather than historic fact; why poetry removes the top of Emily Dickinson’s head, and how the Avant-God come to claim the rest of her. You will grok the subtle difference between Sruti and smriti, and between gospel and scripture. By the end, we’ll be damned if you aren’t ready to start your own Omniperennialist pathwalk if you aren’t on one already (or at least find out what that means).

This new 2020 edition also includes a list of Recommended Reading compiled by the Not Two staff for your further explorations.

Spiritual Anarchism: An Introduction

Essay. E-book (PDF file) — 35 pages, apx 8700 words. $3 via ND Media Bookstore

Release date: 9 Aug 2020

“Now, finally, I am my own soul’s emperor: and my first act is abdication.”

Anarchists in the United States have become a new target of the Trump regime as it slides headlong down the slope toward totalitarianism, and manufactured footage of “anarchy” at protests are the scare tactic de jour for the right-wing voter base. But none of it has anything to do with the political philosophy of anarchism, which is based on self-ownership, individual responsibility, mutual aid, and strong community organization. 

There is also an element of anarchism that is inwardly focused, and based on the contemplative process of deposing the false “head of state,” the ego, and empowering the true self. It is this lesser-known but equally important dimension that gives anarchism the lift under its political wings, and creates any chance that it has to change hearts and build human-scale momentum toward a free, classless society.

In this short but dense treatise on the spiritual side of anarchism, Noesta draws upon his own experience and aligns it with role models and influences like Ammon Hennacy, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, unprogrammed Quakerism, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, and yes, even Jesus of Nazareth (not likely the parts you will hear about in most churches though). The result is a completely new perspective on a timely topic.

The Peasant and the King

Expected release date: early 2021

"Be humble for you are made of stardust,
Be noble for you are the Maker of stars."

This is the story of a God-seeking peasant who is highly esteemed within the religious community of his people but unable to find peace within its doctrinal constraints. One day he is called to undertake a pilgrimage to the heavenly mountaintop Palace for an exclusive audience with the divine King. But the hero’s journey he imagined takes many unexpected turns that stretch his faith beyond its limits and shatter every bone of truth in his body. In his brokenness, he learns that his destination was never far away, though only his ultimate failure in chasing it could reveal what he truly was all along.

Modeled after the many great works of allegorical storytelling that make up the world heritage of sacred scriptures, The Peasant and the King is a syncretist gospel for a coming age. Readers will find elements of Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Christian mysticism, Spinozan pantheism, panpsychism, and modern quantum theory, all collaborating to present a unique rendition of timeless Perennial wisdom.

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