Friday, November 23, 2012

A Five Star review

This review is for: The God of Common Sense: A Spiritual Journey (Paperback)
I thought "The God of Common Sense" was a treasure of a memoir, unique in its intersection of art and faith. This is the story of a deeply religious man who claims to adhere to no one religion; a humble man who nonetheless counted the late Paul Newman a friend and colleague; a World War II veteran who, as so many do, found his spirituality on the battlefield.
Beginning with the title itself, the author Leo Jones, a now-retired Chairman of the Drama Department at Marquette University, lays out the dimensions of his thesis--that the God we must find in ourselves at the end is not the God of any one religion, but of our own dialoging; with others, through our interior search, in our environments and experiences.
Dr. Jones takes us through a self-described "kaliedoscope" of experiences as a soldier in World War II (who made a deal for life on the battleground with God and like the Biblical Jonah, found his negotations met--but be careful what you wish for), as an aspiring actor/drama professor in the Midwest, as a father and husband who has continually explored definitions of God through relations with his own family, and finally as an older man who faced predictions of his own imminent death sentence with courage and a renewed perspective on God.
What distinguishes Dr. Jones' memoirs from others is the fine and philosophical writing he brings to the piece, as well as a highly-tuned dramatic sensibility. As a result young, aspiring theatre majors can benefit the how-to aspects of dramatization in this book while older readers will appreciate the author's life journey and evolving spirituality. Others may turn to his wartime experiences; still others will feel kinship with his family sagas.
                                                Michele Merens
                                                Author and educator

Monday, November 19, 2012


Recently a close friend asked, “Where did you get your rebellious genes, Leo? I always see you as the peace maker.”

“From the women I was raised by! Grandma marched with the suffragettes to get women the right to vote. She also challenged her husband’s decision to keep one of his sons working on the farm rather than support the son’s desire to go to college and become a doctor. She left the farm and took the son and the two youngest daughters to live next to the university. The son became a surgeon.

My mother refused to endure the liquor-induced violence of her husband and called the police on him. She rebelled against long established patriarchal tradition.

A little rebelliousness is necessary for improving the status quo.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Favorite Spiritual Writer

Diarmuid O’Murchu

My favorite writer in the area of spirituality is DiarmuidO’Murchu, MSC with such books as Reclaiming Spirituality, Our World in Transition, the Transformation of Desire, and Quantum Theology. He holds that when Jesus speaks of the Kingdom Of God the whole human race and the universe itself are what he is referring to. I wrote a reflection supporting this concept and sent it to Diarmuid.

The Kingdom of God does not begin with a church,
nor does it end with a church.
The Kingdom is roofed with the stars.
For the human race the earth is the kingdom’s altar.

The Kingdom of God is imprinted in every human heart
regardless of the creed professed.
Each conscience is imbued with love of life,
the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The silence out of which the universe springs,
and the silence brought by death define the Kingdom.
The Kingdom resides in the creative chaos of existence.
The Kingdom is not at home in the institutions of man.

It is the charity of the universe in supporting humanity,
the humanitarian relationships of human to human
that expands the Kingdom of God within my heart.

page 268, The God of Common Sense: A Spiritual Journey

I told Diarmuid this reflection was a part of a book I was publishing and he said to send him a copy.

Diarmuid O'Murchu, MSC read  The God of Common Sense:  A Spiritual Journey and wrote,

“Leo Jones traces the spiritual journey across the various stages and experiences of life. A useful spiritual resource for the many questions that arise today as we try to negotiate our faith through the ups and downs of daily life.”

                                                    Diarmuid O’Murchu MSC

Thursday, April 19, 2012

There is one God who has many names…

In writing the reflective poems on relationships to God in my book, The God of Common Sense, I use several of His names; Allah, Yahweh, Father, Krishna, Christ, and Holy Spirit.  I do this because I truly believe there is one God to whom people have given different names.  It has been written that when directly asked for His name, He simply replied, "I Am that Am."

I'm comfortable using all his names because I believe a god who loves unconditionally considers all his children as sacred! He hears them all by whatever name they use to communicate with him. The desire to communicate is what is vital, not the name.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Life Truly Spirals

 My Illustration of Set Design for All for Love by William Congreve
A revival of Death of a Salesman is playing on Broadway right now. When I was in graduate school at Indiana University, just reading the play brought tears to my eyes. Then I was able to get to NYC and see the original production which was still running. It was an inspiration in stagecraft, acting, and perceptive thinking. Again, it is working its magic on today's generation.

Play I Wrote and Directed in NYC

Why should I be surprised? Antigone has been spiraling through centuries continually bringing excitement. Since theatre imitates life, which is cyclical, it too has to spiral.