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A Fresh Cup of Tolerance:
Universalism--The New Religion of Tolerance

Book Cover A Fresh Cup of Tolerance

This is the companion book to A Fresh Cup of Counseling. It provides one of the foundations upon which spiritual counseling is built.


A Fresh Cup of Tolerance can be purchased at:

A Fresh Cup of Tolerance pioneers a coherent, practical theology of the burgeoning Universalism Movement. It builds on strong spiritual foundations from Native American, Asian, Neopagan, Judeo-Christian, and Islamic traditions. Pragmatic and straightforward, it addresses the most pressing global dilemmas of our time: environment, globalization, feminism and gender issues, religious strife, oppression, poverty, war, and prejudice. Theologically, it systematically explores our many views of God; good, evil, sin, and suffering; revelation; spirituality in the digital age; the spirit of love and community; and so on. However, it is not just a pleasant treatise on love. It is a living, faith-in-action theology, free of rigid words (scriptures), beliefs (dogma), or practices (rituals).

With eight billion people on the planet, and many more to come, cooperating and living (loving) together is a survival essential. In a crisis our best nature surfaces—but we seem unable to sustain a sense of true community and compassion for more than a few CNN weeks at a time. It is a spiritual priority to seek a means to sustain a loving community for longer periods—whether within the family, the community, the larger society, or the world. A theology of Universalism offers a pathway of hope.


If you're a bit woo-woo, you're probably a Universalist, a seeker of universal truth and interfaith tolerance. This book is refreshing, inspiring, educational, and a practical guide for light-workers. Tom is a true academic, theologian, mystic, and visionary spiritual leader. A must-read for those who want to discover the guru within and feel the call to make a difference.

--REV. NATALIE CALZADILLA, Spiritual Life/Business Coach and Illustrator

There has never been a more timely book written than this one. During this time of uncertainty and fear in our world, with divisions along lines of skin color, religion and politics becoming even more devisive among many, Dr. Tom Norris provides a clear, simple and effective message for the world. If there is one book to buy for yourself or to give as a gift, this is the one. Within the covers are the answers for all seekers of peace, joy and love. I couldn't recommend more highly.

--Debbie R.

This book is a love letter to God/dess and to ourselves: eloquent, witty, inspiring, and challenging. After experiencing this, I'm proud to call myself a Miccosukee Universalist. Full of great actionable material.

--HOUSTON CYPRESS, Miccosukee Indian and Coordinator of Love the Everglades

At a time when perspectives on world religions are heavily influenced by geopolitical events, mostly coming from conflict and strife from different parts of the globe shown through the media, an edifying book brings clarity to many aspects of these religions that have long been either misunderstood, ignored or excluded. It is not a book to learn about religions per se, but a treatise that elucidates points that are important and worth considering as part of the general discourse on religions. It is a scholarly work with many important citations that document and shed light into the purpose of establishing an intimate relationship with the concept of God along religious and spiritual lines. It introduces a new concept for a church with its own theology, that of Universalism. It tends to be conciliatory and urges the reader to be more cognizant of learning about other faiths, becoming less judgmental, and more inclusive and tolerant of others given divergent histories and cultural underpinnings of societies around the world.

The role of religion is discussed in the post modernity (chapter 4) of the 21st century, when change is immediate and direct. It serves to update the reader into questions of purpose, practice and faith with the values of "mystery and wonder" rather than dogma and doctrine. There are eight essays presented on the theological aspect of Universalism’s principles along. Darwin versus Creationist theory is discussed, making a clear distinction on the roles of science and religion and how they serve humanity-one in explaining and the other in experiencing the Mystery. Another chapter discusses the notion of inclusion or exclusion according to the rather dated precept of being “the chosen ones” of any one particular religion.

The most profound chapter in the book is the one that deals with good, evil, sin and suffering, where the Christian views are compared to other religious traditions. It is one of the longest chapters in the book and reasonably so since these are points of contention for christians and non-christians alike. Undoubtedly, these are some of the most complex matters in theology and how to deal with them is not easy. This chapter discusses the idea of original sin and its traumatic effect on humanity and focuses on better understanding on why we suffer in the first place, and why there is no one to save us except ourselves. The notion of fate is discussed briefly and could have been explained further when compared to destiny, but it might have been too much of a exploratory tangent to contemplate at any rate, and may not have served the purpose of the book.

Other topics discussed in the book include death, illusion and victimization, finding spiritual community and liberation. Again, the material is substantiated with important quotes from religious leaders, philosophers, writers and great thinkers in the social and natural sciences. It is refreshing to have their valuable wisdom expressed in the written word and seeing clear agreement from a timeline of personalities and luminaries. Their connection is evident and truthful in their understanding of the subject. The reader will begin to connect the dots and get a clearer picture of the entire work as something encompassing a multitude of experiences toward one single goal, that of guidance while seeking spiritual liberation and purpose in the divine.

Universalism is not asking anyone to leave their religious preferences behind and come to something new, and neither has rites of initiation or rituals for its own members to practice. It is just a way of coming together with others who might be of different religious upbringing and join to celebrate commonality in the diverse, explore differences and finding relief that fear and ignorance can be lessened by truly making the effort in educating ourselves in matters of religious and spiritual diversity in one’s lifetime. This is not only a necessity but a calling that will lead towards tolerance and greater peace in a world torn by conflict and lack of resolution in global issues where religion plays an important role.

--MARIA AYUB, Universalist and Landscape Architect

One principle of Universalist practice states: ‘There is divine purpose in All
That Is, and no lesson is imposed upon us without our free choice...’ In Tom
Norris’ loving exploration of his Universalist practice and its dialogue with the religious traditions around it, we can see divine purpose at work. Norris has done the hard work of examining the meaning of personal suffering, exposing the painful conflict between the judgments of inherited religious tradition and the possibilities of holy mystery, and finding in the midst of that formless chaos, a new creation. With love and patience, and in substantive dialogue with a living community of practice, this volume brings theological shape and practical context to the Universalist ‘credo’, lighting a pathway for those who would take not one, but many roads less traveled.

--REV. DR. LAURIE KRAUS, Coordinator of Presbyterian Disaster Response

A well written concept of spiritual truth.

--Amazon Customer

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