Canon Jeff Golliher, Ph.D., has been Vicar of St. John’s Memorial Episcopal Church since 2003. He has also been Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Communites for the world Anglican Communion since 1991, and a member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis of Assisi. Prior to coming to St. John’s, Ellenville, he was Canon for the Environment at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.
Before ordination (25 years ago), he worked as a cultural anthropologist, which included living with indigenous peoples in Central America and among pilgrims on the Isle of Iona, Scotland. As a student, he studied with Paulo Freire, the Brazilian liberation theologian, educator, and community organizer.
Canon Golliher is also a well-known environmentalist in the church. In the 1990’s, Audubon Magazine did a feature article on his work. He has organized global conferences on spirituality, ecology, and community development, including “The Global Anglican Congress on the Stewardship of Creation” (2002) in South Africa. He was part of a team of scientists, ethicists, and theologians who wrote policy guidelines for the UN’s Biodiversity Convention, published as Spiritual and Cultural Values of Biodiversity (UNEP publications). Canon Golliher has written and edited numerous books and articles on these subjects for the church and the United Nations. Among those are: Crisis and the Renewal of Creation: Church and World in an Age of Ecology (1996) and Healing God’s Creation (2004).
More recently, his writing moved into contemporary perspectives on the spiritual path. A Deeper Faith, published by Tarcher/Penguin, 2009, was been translated into German. Moving Through Fear: Cultivating Your Seven Spiritual Instincts, also published by Tarcher/Penguin, was published in 2011.
Canon Golliher was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. He currently lives with his wife, Asha, in Kerhonkson.
“A book of complete sincerity. Not a note out of place, not a false tone or trace of piousness or pretension.
When righteousness, hypocrisy, and the preaching of easy comfort keep so many away from the religious pursuit, the beautiful honesty of Golliher’s writing opens the way for anyone who longs to find the path again.”
– James Hillman, author of The Soul’s Code
In this sensitive book, Episcopal priest and cultural anthropologist Golliher (A Deeper Faith: A Journey into Spirituality, 2008) offers helpful advice, in the form of personal recollections and stories, to individuals seeking to overcome fear, “one of the greatest obstacles in life.” The author begins by defining this devastating negative emotion and discussing the five insights he sees as necessary for a successful journey through it. Golliher systematically examines what he calls the “seven spiritual instincts”—awe, love, intent, conscience, community, rest and faith—and the relationship each has to fear.
Through richly detailed anecdotes, he shows what these instincts are (as well as what they are not) and outlines methods or “spiritual practices” readers can use to cultivate them in their daily lives. He argues that by strengthening and refining these instincts, individuals can move through and beyond fear to experience “the joy that the great body of life” bestows on those who live in the “real world,” rather than the false and needlessly painful one fear can create. While the book is rooted in Christian spirituality, the author never loses sight of his ultimate mission to help all readers regardless of their religious backgrounds.
Through a skillful, balanced blend of sympathetic insights into the human condition and wise observations gleaned from the Bible, Golliher creates satisfying reading for a general—rather than strictly faith-based—audience that neither preaches nor attempts to proselytize.
— Kirkus Reviews
“This is a wise and beautifully written book on the richness and depths of the spiritual path. It is an important book for our time, as we face an imperiled world.This book gives us hope for redemption in every step of the way.”
– The Reverend Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico