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My Karma Ran Over My Dogma

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma: Lessons Learned by a Whistle-Blowing Minister Turned Mystic
by Rev. Monica McDowell, MDiv
Seattle, WA: Monica McDowell, MDiv, 2007
237 pages
Reviewed by Catherine Grytting, EdD

Reverend Monica McDowell studied and lived the lessons that bring deep spiritual knowledge, writing that, “ultimately, everything that happens to us is simply teaching us how to be Love in larger and more inclusive ways” (p. 211). In McDowell’s whistle-blowing memoir My Karma Ran Over My Dogma, she takes many wild turns before arriving at this profound conclusion. The book chronicles McDowell’s efforts to embrace God in all things as she suffered through “five years of hell” (p. 5), and took “six steps to awakening” (p. 5), in order to thrive under “seven principles of heaven” (p. 5). Intrigue, betrayal, and deceit drive McDowell’s story of being sexually harassed, reporting her supervisor and losing her job and church before taking legal action that culminated in a precedent-setting ruling that established civil rights for ministers. More importantly, these trials sparked mystical awareness, an expanded worldview, and the understanding that love is of the highest value. She shares this deeper knowledge and imparts her growing wisdom to the reader while contemplating her experience, and examining the principles that underlie her spiritual awakening.

McDowell writes in a personable style with self-deprecating humor that lightens the heaviness of her story. At times, the narrative reads like an adventure novel as she races against evil and danger. Other times, it unfolds like a soap opera with sensational drama that exposes lies, manipulation, and brutal attacks. Throughout these challenges, McDowell stands firm. She interprets the events from a soul perspective and explains spiritual principles with clear, concrete, personal anecdotes. Each chapter ends with a SPoRT section that means “Spiritual Recreation Time.” The SPoRT’s include exercises, visualizations, reflections, rituals, and other activities that deepen the concepts examined in the chapter. The endnotes, resources, and suggestions for further reading give credence to this potentially unbelievable work as they ground McDowell’s credibility in a scholarly foundation.

Many audiences will find this book helpful, including people suffering sexual harassment, individuals fighting unjust practices by major institutions or powerful corporations, and emerging mystics. Spiritual directors may want to suggest this book to directees who worry they are going crazy as they begin noticing mystical phenomena.     

When you find yourself struggling against life’s afflictions, see with your soul. As McDowell discovered, you may notice God’s love and an invitation to embrace God in all things. These are the lessons of deeper knowledge that penetrate the chaos of McDowell’s memoir. They pierce all who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Divine.

Catherine Grytting, EdD, offers spiritual direction, and lives in Seattle, Washington, USA. She also provides instruction and treatment in energy healing.

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