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BALANCE POINT

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Balance Point by Joseph Jenkins


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The Book Reader: "Jenkins tackles the vital subject of our looming ecological disaster, and takes us on an entertaining trek throughout the world. A delightful new slant on our environmental mess in a wonderful tale told with passion, wit and insight."

Today's Librarian; August 2000: "An engaging and enlightening book - as well as a disturbing warning to us all - Balance Point mixes science and spirituality. The book reads as fiction - whether it is or not is up to the reader."

Arkansas Environmental Education Association Newsletter: "AN INCREDIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY - Every now and then a book comes along that really speaks to your heart. 'Balance Point: Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link' by Joseph Jenkins was such a book for me. It is perhaps the best environmental book I have ever read and I would like to encourage everyone to experience this book. "

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Thom Hartmann, author, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight:

"A wonderful, fascinating, fun book that's a real page-turner and yet also deals with some of the most serious and vital issues of our times."

Readers in Michigan:

"My wife and I eagerly read Balance Point and were simply blown away! We both agreed that we haven't read a page turner like that in a long time. The subject matter is essential and the delivery was poignant, a well told tale of our times. You have caused us to think and discuss and that in itself is a very powerful catalyst, it's the basis of all art. We think Balance Point would make a great film. Thanks again for the book, we truly enjoyed it and plan to share it with others." R. and E. M. (MI)

Reader in Newfoundland:

Every once in a while, a book comes along that earns a "front and center" spot in my library. This is one such book.

One of the hardest things we, as human beings, have to do is to face the man in the mirror. Too many of us have been successfully avoiding it for years. Balance Point makes continuing to do so very difficult. While some may be surprised at the theories presented, one would also be hard pressed to deny the facts behind them.

The message this book sends to the world is not new - we're in trouble and running out of time - but rarely have I seen someone hit the mark so precisely when it comes to characterizing and illustrating the responsibility of the human race for our present dilemmas. The only thing sadder than the fact that we are like a cancer killing it's host [the earth] is that continuing to ignore our mirrors will be our ultimate demise.

Balance Point is a fascinating, eye-opening, educating RED FLAG that should be required reading in junior and high school curriculums world-wide.

Reader in the UK:

"My brother, who lives in Washington State, sent me a signed copy of Balance Point as a birthday present this year. I found the book fascinating, illuminating and disturbing: a combination of The Teachings of Don Juan and The High Tech Holocaust. It certainly brought home to me the increasingly fragile balance between ourselves and our environment. And the bringing it all back home aspect of the book was for me both an invigorating and salutory experience."

Reader in Illinois:

"What is really amazing is that I have just had a book sent to me called Balance Point dealing with related current events, which is blowing my mind. It is by Joseph Jenkins, and although I am only half way through it, already I want everyone to read it, and begin discussion groups to figure out what we can do to accelerate awareness and prepare for our (and Earth's) near future. Of COURSE it means "going within" to find answers. but if we hold hands and connect hearts and minds, together perhaps we can re-create where our Earth's future seems inevitably headed."


Reader in Louisiana:

"I received the book in the mail on a Friday. At 3:00 a.m. Sat. morning I couldn't sleep, so I decided it was a good time to start reading this interesting looking book. Well, at 8:00 a.m. the next morning, I was still reading and couldn't put it down! This book says absolutely everything, in a nutshell, that I would love to say to the world. If I could carefully and deliberately sit down and write a message to the world, your book is it!. And you did it in such a way that it just totally captivated my mind and my heart and soul. I was glued to the pages, in eager anticipation of the next exciting piece to the puzzle. This book is divinely perfect for those who will be newly introduced to the information and the issues that are covered as well as those of us who have been actively and urgently trying to do something for the earth before it's too late."

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Reader in Australia:

"When I picked it up to read ..., I was wondering how interesting it would be. I had difficulty putting it down to attend to my activities until I had finished it. It was intriguing to wonder which part was real and which part was embroidered. What a versatile writer you are. I found the story captivating as I am very concerned about the environmental future of our world and the ability for corporations and large businesses to control our lives... I am following some of your links in the back of the book and have written a letter to our prime minister and opposition. Maybe I should send one to Mr. Bush too! The book has motivated me to do something although I am not sure what to do outside of making personal choices at this point. Thank you for your generosity and the very entertaining read. You have claimed a space in my mind that will stay for a very long time. Your book will be strongly recommended to those I know and lent to them. I hope you don't mind but I also sent an email to Oprah Winfrey requesting her to read your book. If Oprah could motivate others to read the book it would be a wonderful thing for us all."

Reader in PA:

"From the time I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. At some time I had to get some sleep, but I basically read it in about 2-3 sittings. Wow! How much of that story is true, is what I kept wondering...I also got chills quite a few times. ...the whole time I was reading your book I kept thinking that I wanted to share what I know with you and how "eerie" the whole thing is cause your Aunt Lucille and I had some very similar things going on....

Your book - the explaination of the Great Human, etc.....is the first 'spiritual/religious' (for lack of better words that you would understand) that I could connect with in a long time. Everything Eduardo said was pretty good - yet what he said is not exactly fitting for me - and yet what was fitting has moved me to a better place in my relationship with the planet....thanks for your work."

Reader in CA:

"Wow. I just finished reading Balance Point . . . and I will be delighted to recommend it to everyone!!! I can't wait to tell not only my readers, but my friends and family about your book. I kept thinking of more people I wanted to tell about it as I was reading it. I found it profoundly moving, yet it read like a mystery novel -- I read it all in one sitting! Is it true? I mean, it seems true--you use your own name and profession, it has photos and references--and I know that all of the references to ecological problems are accurate (I have a degree in Biology: Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, and am an Environmental Educator, so I was aware of most, if not all, of the issues you raise in your book), but did the events you describe actually happen? Even if not, I am committed to being part of the solution--of healing our "robbing frenzy" and finding my own and helping teach others to find their personal balance points, and feel I am already doing much in that direction. Your book has helped me to focus on my true goals and remind me of the spiritual nature of this quest."


Rev. Tanya Thorpe:

"Wow. This is one of the best books I have ever read! I recieved this book through a free preview offer, and I was amazed! After reading this book, I approached caring for our great Mother Earth with new vigor. I gathered friends and called for a "recycling support group for busy people" and a composting collective effort. So far things are going well, and I have mentioned and raved about Balance Point to just about every earth-friendly person I have met, and to many non-earth-friendly people who wandered their way into a conversation with me : ) (I downloaded the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity from the internet as stated in the book and took it to The Blue Water Pagan Alliance's next public meeting, and gave a copy to our local paper, to illustrate why ecology is so important, and why ecology groups for children are so important. I am even hoping to build a "natural" home for my family instead of buying as we had planned. I hope to make this a group/community experiment on benifits/challenges of going "natural" for housing. Anyway, WONDERFUL work!! WONDERFUL! Keep up the great Work!!! I hope to see so much more of this wonderful company and it's wonderful trend in the future. Go Aunt Lucy!"

Reader in PA:

"Wow!! I just had the pleasure of reading BALANCE POINT!!
Congratulations on such an inspiring achievement. As I began to read the book, I thought the writing too simple in style, but then as you went into more depth explaining various concepts, the simplicity of the language had tremendous impact. In fact, I was amazed in the way you handled such big ticket issues such as religion and spirituality. Excellent!! Clear and to the point. I feel soooooo many need to hear the messages loudly and quickly.

I am genuinely delighted for you and wish you much success."

Gray Crow:

“A spellbinding book that holds the reader, as a family is drawn into a lost aunt’s life after her passing. The book captivated this reader! Eye re-opening to the imbalance of life as we know it. Few are willing to take the deep hard look into this subject matter. This should become a required reading for high school students.”


Reader in eastern PA:

"Your book is so tremendously beautiful...I haven't slept all night. I've read the entire thing straight through. Love to you man. You hit the nail on the goddamn head! Congratulations! My mind is still buzzing about your book. It's really an amazing piece of work. It's an ingenious delivery of such a critical message. Stunning.

Again, I can't tell you how inspired I am by your book. It presents issues with such clarity, much of which people sift through with a mess of jumbled and random thoughts. It's one hell of a motivator. I'm bound to be giving copies of this one out a lot."

Reader in Pennsylvania:

"Some books, such as Thomas Payne's Common Sense, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, and others, really do affect society's thinking in dramatic ways. Your Balance Point has that very quality. That's why I want everyone to read it!"

Reader in Washington:

"Thank you so much for writing Balance Point. For the sake of humankind, and of Gaia herself, I hope this book is read and appreciated by many thousands and that it contributes to the collective ego-transcendening growth of our culture. What I found especially great about the book was the way it blends spirituality, politics, and ecology together in a real explicit way. The book shows a great understanding of each topic and does not hesitate to 'name names' in calling (inspiring!) the reader to responsibility in each area."

Reader in Idaho:

"I compare it to Celestine Prophecy. Not really compare, just that they are both adventure stories, opening with a mystery, and involved with spiritual awareness. I couldn't put it down, and thought about what was going to happen next when I wasn't able to read it. It's a great book. Fun. Thanks for writing it."

Reader in Vermont:

"Just wanted to let you know that you ruined my weekend! I have been totally sucked into Balance Point. I am really enjoying reading it (I'll even admit: To my surprise!) and have a hard time putting it down to get other things in my life done (like feeding the chickens etc..) Great job."


Reader in Pennsylvania:

"I enjoyed it tremendously. I guess it shouldn't be a shocker that I'm in full agreement with your philosophy. What I appreciated most about the book is that it is the first bridging of anthropocentric criticism with non-theistic experiential spirituality. The two exist separately, but I never see them together. (I also liked the greenbusiness finale, of course!)"

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Reader in Pennsylvania:

"I just wanted to tell you that I truly feel that every human on this planet needs to read and integrate the spiritual awakening that you have promoted in "Balance Point." If each and every individual could find and make manifest their own personal point of balance, this current world may indeed be the seed for a healthy planetary future.

Your book brings to light the realization that THIS is the future, here and now. Even if that means that *all* someone is ready or able to do are simple acts of non-harmfulness, such as composting or recycling. We must become responsible for our actions every day as a species.

"I was hooked by page three and could not put the book down until I finished---and then told everyone I know about it. You have an ability to pass along a voluminous amount of factual, valuable information without ever missing a beat in the development of the book's plot. It IS frightening information, but there is also a beat of Hope for humanity throughout the story. That Hope permeates all--that it will lead those who are on a quest for meaning in their lives towards a more integrated level of awareness.

I must also mention that I think that choosing the name "Lucy" for the book's background character was perhaps an unknowing, but brilliant choice. Lucy comes from the Latin, "Luce", which means "Light." Perhaps your book will become a point of Light--enlightenment--for all who read it."


"[Balance Point] has wrapped up the state of humanity with aplomb."

Reader in Arkansas:

"A friend of mine gave me your book to read recently. I LOVED IT! As a Christian, I struggle with the church's lack of commitment to being stewards of God's creation. Your book really explains the difference between religion and spirituality. I just really wanted to thank you for your book and I pray that it will be read by many, many people. You did an excellent job. I have ordered my own copy, plus several for other people."
Reader in Australia:

"I thought your book was great. I took it away with me on holidays and sat in the 'Australian Bush' and read it at night around the camp fire. I don't know if you have ever been down this way, but in the outback at night, the stars are the biggest and clearest you will see them anywhere. You can stretch your arms out and glide your fingers across the Milkyway and feel the vibrations of the heavens running through your finger tips. Yeh, I read your book, well done."


Reader in AZ:

"I read it in one sitting and want to order 10 more for the store. I've read God's Last Offer, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Hope, Human and Wild and a few others, but the way you put the story in the context of first person really gives it such pizzaz- Way to go, bro!"


Reader in Ohio:

"We give it two thumbs up! It was terrific - your sense of humor made me just laugh out loud several times! The book has a message that a lot of people need to hear."


Reader in Washington:

"I finished Balance Point last night, good job! I liked the conclusion . . . I hope the book catches on, selling millions of copies, earning you a few bucks for your admirable efforts, and saving humanity from suffocating in our own wastes. Keep up the good work, you're on a roll!"


Reader in PA:


"Enjoyed reading your book, “Balance Point.” I read it twice and my wife also read and enjoyed it. It was very well done - it takes a most serious subject and handles it in a clever way. The story line is intriguing and suspenseful."

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From Amazon.com:
(Click here to read all of the reviews posted on Amazon!)

"A thrilling, thought-provoking ride. This is one book you will want to share with friends, family, maybe even strangers. If you're weary of excessively hyped, poorly written and unoriginal eco-spiritual and new age books, you must read Balance Point.

Having been greatly under-whelmed by such books as The Celestine Prophecy, Ishmael and Mutant Message Down Under, I started Balance Point with a cynical eye. My attitude quickly changed, however, as I was drawn into the story before the end of the first chapter. By the time I turned the last page a few hours later (Balance Point is a fast read), my head was reeling from the scope and the depth of the message.

There are so many things that impressed me about this book--too many to list here--but I'll try to hit the most important ones.

I liked the author's unpretentious, self-deprecating style. Rather than presenting himself as the all-knowing bestower of ancient wisdom, he makes his character the foil to the intelligence and wisdom of his aunt Lucy and the others he and his wife encounter on their travels. This allows the reader to take in the information and opinions expressed without ever feeling preached at or talked down to. And there's a lot of information.

In fact, I've never encountered a book with so much disturbing and frightening information that goes down so easily. The story is so engrossing and the author's writing style so light and breezy that only after finishing the book did it hit me just how much information had been conveyed.

That is not to say that Balance Point is a Gloom and Doom environmental book--quite the contrary. The book not only leaves you with a sense of hope and enthusiasm about the future, it gives you some important tools to put your passion into action. An addendum at the back of the book includes contact information for a host of organizations involved with the environment, ecology and sustainability. There's also a section of practical tips, ranging from household cleansers and toiletries to transportation and education. The addendum alone is worth the price of the book.

All in all, Balance Point is a remarkable book with an extremely important message. And if you're looking for a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee eye opener of a book for an ecologically challenged friend, this is the one."

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Mount Shasta Magazine (Fall 2001):

"This entertaining and provocative book is a must read for those....whom you consider real thinkers."

Napra Review:

"This intriguing story of a search for something so mysterious that the main character doesn't even know what it is, or how to recognize it if he finds it, touches on spirituality, science, mathematics, and economics. It's ultimately about the environmental choices people make, and the search for the "balance point" between the selfish instinct for individual survival and the planet's critical need to have its resources used and distributed wisely to support all. There is a message, but it comes in a way that keeps the readers guessing how to fit the pieces together and wondering just how much is true. Did the author himself receive an ambiguous inheritance from his Aunt Lucy, the Wiccan physicist? Did Eduardo the Peruvian shaman really summon him to the jungle in a dream? What is real is the urgency for each of us to find our personal balance point. More power to the writing, be it fiction or non - that reminds us."

Minnesota Pagan Press December 2001

"Have you ever read a book that you felt compelled to share with everyone you know? Not because it was entertaining, which it was; not because it was thought provoking, which it was, but simply because the message was so compelling, so timely, that to not share it seemed like a crime. I have. The book is Balance Point by Joseph Jenkins.


Environmental spirituality is a philosophy of mindfulness and connections, advocated and practiced by many cultures over many ages, but sadly and dangerously disregarded by most "advanced" cultures in the world today. We are losing our connection to Mother Earth and destroying her and ourselves in the process. This is the message of Jenkins new book. This book is one man's journey to this way of life by finding his balance point. It is also the story of his Aunt Lucy's journey and of all those who meet among the web that is life on this planet.


Balance Point is based on the author's actual experiences, and begins as he learns that he has received an inheritance from an aunt he barely knew. There is a catch though. He must complete a task that she and others around the world have started. All he knows is that there is a Point of No Return, and if he completes her mission and finds his personal "Balance Point" within a year he is a half million dollars richer. Or is he? The book is an adventure/mystery novel, and yet is filled with scores of factual material about our environment and the effect we humans have on our natural world every day. As Jenkins begins his journey he has no idea where it will lead, how to get there, or even what the "Balance Point" he seeks is! His travels take him from his home in North America to the far reaches of the Western world. Along the way he encounters new people, new lands, new knowledge, and most especially new attitudes. He learns a different way of seeing and a different reality of life on Gaia, a spirituality that is "non-religious".


His story is remarkable, and he includes some noteworthy examples of the on-going threats to our environment. Perhaps one of the most important is his inclusion of the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" that was issued over nine years ago on November 18th 1992. Possibly you who are reading this review have read it. Then again, maybe not. As Jenkins points out the moneymen in this world, including large corporations and mass media would prefer that you hadn't. The Warning addresses the "Point of No Return" that is rapidly approaching. It was spearheaded by the former Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists board of directors and signed by a majority of nations and 1700 of the worlds leading scientists, including most of the Nobel prize winners in the scientific arena. You can find this document on the web at, www.ucsusa.org/resources/warning.


Joseph Jenkins book allows you to follow the same path and reach the same conclusions of heart and mind that he did. After reading Balance Point, you too will understand the urgency of the scientists warning. The author illustrates his points through conversations with the many characters that he encounters in his journey. The information found in these conversations is given from the differing viewpoints of each person and reflects their life experiences, professions, and places of residence. So, no matter what the situation in life, the readers find an example that resonates for themselves. One that roused me was the description of our natural resources as a collective bank account, ours, every creature on this earth, for all time. Continually withdrawing without making new deposits depletes our collective bank account. In the last century especially, a few people have been withdrawing our non-renewable resources for profit for themselves at the expense of the individual, society, the natural world, and all the communities of earth as a whole. Shortly the account will be overdrawn and gone for all time, for all generations to come.


There is a spiritual and physical balance point for each of us as individuals, each different community of creatures, each resource on earth. This is a compelling message and an important book for our time when the bank account is running out.

To aid us in our personal journeys, the last twenty-two pages of the book contain ideas for acting in accordance with environmental spirituality, a list of associations, both public and private to contact, and a listing of additional reading material.


As a practicing Wiccan for over thirty years, I wish I had written this book because it says so many of the things that I believe. That we are not alone as individuals on this planet, that the web of life connects us all, that while we may like to think that our independent actions can be justified as individual freedoms, this simply isn't true. We need the ground, the waters, the air, other creatures, and other humans to survive. Our resources are finite, not inexhaustible, and what we do to one, we do to all. We must act in ways that acknowledge these joint interactions; all of us, always, or there will be no earth, no us.


But this was Joseph Jenkins journey, his destiny and his gift to us and to Mother Earth. His message of the spirituality inherent in all things is so important that all humans should read this book. Read it yourself. Give it as a gift to everyone you know. Donate one to your local library. For as Joseph Jenkins reminds us:


'Where I sit is holy,
holy is the ground,
Forest, mountain, river,
Listen to the sound.
Great Spirit circles all around me.'"

Natural Awakenings (Miami):

"As a publisher, I'm fortunate to be gifted and exposed to the writings of many talented authors. Inspite of the fact that I consider myself a knowledgeable and strong advocate for our environment, Balance Point managed to provide me with an enlightening education on our pending environmental problems. It elucidates the remedies and exposes the true culprit....man. Balance Point: Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link is a comprehensive, educational and spiritual journey which captivates the reader from the beginning and which every citizen must read. Thank you for your wisdom and foresight, Mr. Jenkins."

Tarot Newsletter Summer 2001:

"This book is uncommonly interesting and provocative. It's a page-turning, info filled...tale [that] transforms into a profound and disturbing ecological revelation. I enjoyed this book as a fascinating read but more than just an entertainment, it's a provocative intelligence transmission and artistic wake-up call."

Reviewer:

"The cover is so beautifully done and the chapter graphics are terrific. I feel you have written a good story and I thought much about James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy works as I was reading your adventures! The work you put into compiling the resources at the end of the book is impressive. Joe, I receive so many "self-published" books that are so unprofessionally done that it has been a real pleasure to read your story."

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Arkansas Environmental Education Association Newsletter:

"AN INCREDIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY - Every now and then a book comes along that really speaks to your heart. 'Balance Point: Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link' by Joseph Jenkins was such a book for me. It is perhaps the best environmental book I have ever read and I would like to encourage everyone to experience this book.

The death of an estranged aunt, and her baffling Final Will and Testament sends Joe on an incredible journey in search of his 'personal balance point.' Joe represents the average American who has no clue about the peril of our environment. This journey, much to Joe's initial dismay, takes him out of his comfort zone and blissful ignorance. As his journey progresses, Joe finally gains insight into what his aunt referred to as 'a terrible battle is at hand. The forces of the Ego and the Eco have become locked in conflict.'

This book is unique in that it reads like an adventure, yet the underlying message is powerful. Jenkins has a writing style that provides the reader with much food for thought, enabling the reader to gain new knowledge and perspective. For me personally, reading this book was an important milestone in gaining a new perspective of spirituality and its true meaning.

Reaching the end of the book actually represents a beginning of renewed energy and commitment to environmental reform. The publication of this important environmental book is very timely as the well being of our precious planet is being threatened like never before in the history of humanity. The future of our environment depends on people like you and me opening our minds, forming new habits, and making our voices heard in Washington DC.

Join Joe on this incredible journey and become enlightened to this crucial need for all of us to find our personal balance point. Hopefully, your life will never be the same after reading this book. And more importantly than anything, after reading this book pass it on to those around you!

The Compendium Newsletter:

"After the death of Lucille Boggs, a scientist at a western university, her nephew Joseph Jenkins took up his aunt's work to uncover answers as to why humans are so indifferent to the deteriorating state of the Earth. The reader is drawn into the amazing and powerful adventure of the author as he travels throughout the world in search for answers."

Keith Ellis Pilgrims Books:

"In buying this book it could be said that the customer is getting two books for the price of one! In the first instance it is a rattling good yarn - a real page turner. But secondly it is a serious work concerning the environmental problems we, or our children, will eventually have to face unless we change course now. A maverick scientist lays a mysterious trail as a legacy to her nephew. It takes him, and his wife, on many physical journeys but, more importantly, they make that spiritual journey we all must make to explore our inner self. Alongside this journeying the author imparts facts, figures and knowledge about the ecological threats to humanity in such a way as to make the most complacent reader aware. It is a book for those who know and for those whose eyes have yet to be opened. Through the lips of Eduardo, a Peruvian shaman, we are introduced to the mystical. Not an airy fairy mysticism, not mysticism to bring a smirk to the lips of a cynic, but a deeply spiritual mysticism. One that seeks for spiritual balance. This is a book for those who are seeking reassurance about the environment, the planet, civilisation and, in particular, themselves. And this book gives pointers to all these areas, but only pointers. It offers no quick fix and through the group of people who visit the Peruvian rainforest the author shows that the remedies available for all life's ills lie within ourselves. We each have a personal responsibility to start to redress the balance. Not just the balance of the environment but the spiritual balance of humanity. The reader will either enjoy the yarn and replace the book on the shelf or thought processes will have been started that, if correctly pursued, will alter the course of the reader's life. The sentiments expressed harmonise with much of what we believe and try to promulgate through this ezine. In some respects we differ but not enough to detract from the underlying theme. All in all a book that one can recommend without reservation."

Goddess Moon Circles:

"Balance Point : Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link is an interesting book. Despite what you may think from reading the title, the book is written by a non-Pagan. This makes the author's observations even more remarkable.

It details the true story of Mr Jenkins as he goes on a quest of sorts, in order to follow the bequest of his estranged and recently deceased Great Aunt Lucille. On his way, he discovers his Great Aunt's spiritual Path, meets with a Dianic Wiccan Coven, participates in a Sweat Lodge ceremony, and learns what Aunt Lucille has been doing for the past several years.

You see, Great Aunt Lucille had discovered a startling (and quite plausible) link between bee behavior and the Global Warming crisis. She had still been researching her theory when she died quite suddenly. In her Will, she instructs Mr Jenkins to go to her remote cabin and follow the instructions he'll find there. Reluctantly, he accedes to her wishes, figuring his Great Aunt was a harmless kook.

However, the surprises he finds there will change his life forever.

If you are concerned about Global Warming and its effect on the Living Earth, this book is for you. Since it isn't Pagan-authored, it gives a more balanced perspective on the theories presented. The author maintains a healthy amount of skepticism where Earth-centered spirituality is concerned, but isn't offensive about it, and even he can't explain some of the weird coincidences that occur in the course of his encounters and travels."

Metaphysical Reviews:

"Balance Point is a timely page-turner that speaks to the most important and immediate problem we face...saving our planet and ourselves. Author and seeker Joseph Jenkins has given us a book that demands thought ... and isn’t that the definition of a great book? This reviewer thinks so! "

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ESP Magazine:

"On a spring morning in 1999, a delivery van rattled down the long driveway to Joseph Jenkins' country home in Pennsylvania to deliver a manila envelope. Inside the envelope was an official-looking legal document and another envelope, this one white and letter-sized. The legal document was from a group of lawyers in Montana, informing him that his Great Aunt Lucille Boggs had died on April 26. Following her instructions, they were forwarding the enclosed envelope to him, which contained a letter from Aunt Lucy, along with a check for $10,000.

Jenkins had only met his great aunt once, for about two minutes at a family funeral 20 years earlier, so a sizable check and letter from beyond the grave was totally unexpected. The letter, rather cryptic and with indications that the writer was possibly paranoid, instructed Jenkins to travel to her home in rural Montana where he would find further instructions awaiting him.

Although Jenkins figured that his aunt was probably just a crazy old woman, he decided that he couldn't keep the money unless he paid heed to her request. He soon found himself in Montana, where in the study of her home he found another check, payable to him for $30,000, along with another cryptic letter explaining that she needed him to finish her work. If he was successful, he would receive her estate, worth over a half million dollars.

Thus begins the saga of the self-published book, "Balance Point: Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link." Based on fact but told in a fictional manner, Jenkins paints a picture of himself as a self-employed roofer who lived with his wife, Annie, and daughter, Penelope, in rural Pennsylvania. There, they indulged in their passions for beer- and wine-making, with little else to distinguish them from any other typical American family. At the story's beginning, neither he nor his wife had much interest in ecological issues or in New Age spiritual practices.

All of that changed rapidly, however, when they attempted to unravel the mystery left to them by his great aunt so they could claim the half million dollar prize. Almost immediately after finding the second check, Jenkins got involved with a coven of witches in Ohio, who had worked rituals with Aunt Lucy. Next, he and Annie were off to St. John's, Newfoundland, where they met with a college professor associate of his aunt who was studying a phenomenon among bees called the "robbing frenzy," which Lucy had thought might explain the way that people were treating the planet's natural resources. There was a stopover in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they met another associate, also an academic, who eventually remembered that their great aunt had frequently visited a shaman in the jungles of Peru.

During their travels to Ohio and Canada, they received a crash course in our ecological predicament. They learned about global warming, the subsequent shrinking of the Earth's polar ice caps and the damage that rising ocean levels has already done in places like the Bahamas. They were given facts on the rising numbers and levels of toxic chemicals found stored in the body fat of people across the globe -- even when they live far away from civilization. They also learned of a computer study indicating that unless drastic changes are made, the planet will not be able to support human life at the current level by the year 2040.

None of this is new. All of this information, and more, is already well known to anyone who is paying attention to environmental issues. In fact, if this scientific evidence was all that this yarn had to offer, there would be little to recommend here. The story would play like a standard movie of the week "with a message ripped from today's headlines."

The tale takes on an important new dimension, however, when Jenkins and his entourage make a trek to the Peruvian rain forest to meet with the shaman Eduardo. At this point, the story begins to examine the spiritual shortcomings that have led to our present environmental predicament, a subject that's seldom broached whenever ecological issues are discussed.

Jenkins makes the case that misdirected spirituality is largely responsible for our misuse of the environment. We have ceased being awed by the mystery of life, he says, and have come to see our planet as nothing more than a lifeless rock that is ours to do with as we will. At the same time, we have developed a sort of species-wide philosophy of manifest destiny, and have come to believe that we human beings are the greatest and most important form of life on the planet. According to Jenkins, unless we change our viewpoint and start relating to the planet as the living and nurturing mother that she is, we are doomed to possible extinction. At the very least, we will become an endangered species."

Living Traditions (Australia):

"Balance Point : Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link is a fascinating book. It is written in a easy to read down to earth style and avoids the clichés and all-knowingness of many new age books but is able to impart a wide spectrum of important environmental information along the way. This is true edutainment, real adventure with a strong message.

The story is a real winner. On a spring morning in 1999, a delivery van rattled down the long driveway to Joseph Jenkins' country home in Pennsylvania to deliver a manila envelope. Inside the envelope was an official-looking legal document and another envelope, this one white and letter-sized. The legal document was from a group of lawyers in Montana, informing him that his Great Aunt Lucille Boggs had died on April 26. Following her instructions, they were forwarding the enclosed envelope to him, which contained a letter from Aunt Lucy, along with a check for $10,000. From here a quest begins a strange quest with lots of interesting turns and thought stimulating discussions.

Dear Great Aunt Lucille had discovered a link between bee behaviour and the Global Warming crisis. She had still been researching her theory when suddenly died. In her Will, she instructs Mr Jenkins to go to her remote cabin and follow the instructions he'll find there.

However, the surprises he finds there will change his life forever. The story becomes more and more intriguing with all sorts of religious, spiritual and environmental sub plots and stories. While it may be fiction there is a reality to what is discussed and it is a great way to do some deep thinking about Global Warming and its effect on the Living Earth.

There is a solid discussion of the what in which misdirected spirituality has helped bring the earth to its current crisis and lots of important debate about where we go from here. This is a great adventure and a superb story, at the same time it discusses issues in a way which would take volumes and yet in fiction can be unveiled, discussed and left for your consideration.


MAGUS:

"Spiritual seekers need more books like this one. The message of this book is basically that a spiritual quest doesn’t just mean trying to finish the dishes so we can get to a lecture or yoga class on time, saving pennies out of the household budget to afford a pricey workshop, or begging our significant others to keep the kids quiet so that we can meditate. It can be an adventure - though probably not to the extreme that the story in this book relates."


The book is an intriguing combination of mystery story and spiritual autobiography. In 1999, the author, Joseph Jenkins, a successful Pennsylvania roofing contractor, received the news that his great-aunt, Lucille Boggs, had died unexpectedly, and that Joe was the primary legatee in her will - provided he performed a few tasks for her. Though Joe had hardly known his great-aunt and had his doubts about the mission she had laid on him, the promised inheritance continually dangled in front of his face like a carrot before a donkey - and so, somewhat reluctantly, he started off on the quest assigned by his great-aunt.

It led him to Montana, where he participated in a divination ritual held by a Wicca coven, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he learned that his aunt had been exploring a strange theory about the parasitical human relationship to Planet Earth, to Ohio, where he learned the truth about the environmental crisis from some scientific researchers whose work was continually ignored, and finally to Peru, where he, his wife and daughter, and his daughter’s boyfriend received direct instruction from an Inca shaman. The latter episode includes some interesting photographs, which, sadly, didn’t reproduce all that well in the book. The upshot of all this globetrotting and acquisition of knowledge was that Joe and his family felt that they needed to take up Aunt Lucy’s banner of working towards increasing the awareness of the environmental crisis, and encouraging the public to realize that they are a part of the environment and of Mother Earth.

The book is a great read, though the ending is disappointing - not because of any shortcomings in Mr. Jenkins’ writing style or storytelling ability, but because of the final news received from his aunt’s lawyers. I suspect that there was far more to Jenkins’ quest than is revealed in the book, and hope to hear more about it from him.

It’s hard to find fault with Balance Point. The only weak spots in the entire book are those in the story itself - which, as this is autobiographical, even the greatest of authors might find it difficult to get around. Joe does tend to emphasize his initial skepticism a bit too much, which might tend to make some readers why he bothered, money or no money. In a way, the book left me unsatisfied, leaving me wanting to know more about Aunt Lucy’s mission, and about how Joe and his family plan to carry it on - but hopefully this will be covered in future volumes." Rating: ***1/2 -- Mary Devlin

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Greenmantle Magazine, UK:


When he receives a cheque for $10,000 from his Great Aunt Lucy, a relative he barely knew, the author finds himself thrust upon a journey exploring the possibility of a looming ecological collapse. The inheritance comes with a mysterious request - to carry on Lucille's work. As the story unfolds, the author finds additional clues to his Great Aunt's research, which takes him, initially, to a group of Wiccans, to Newfoundland and ultimately to the rainforests of Peru. The work in question, is to preserve the ecological balance and try to prevent planetary destruction. Exploring several ideas, the essence of Balance Point highlights the dangers from vast commercial empires, who, through their ignorance, are tipping the "balance" away from the ecological. Written, like a novel, the exploration of the ideas and facts are explained in the narrative. These ideas are far from original, but are stated in layman's terms. The dialogue, at times seems stilted, but this aside, the premise is interesting and the issues raised are of obvious importance. Rich with a non-religious mysticism, the book imparts a disturbing, yet upbeat awareness which leaves the [reader] aware of the dangers of ecological collapse. The premise warrants attention and the simple narrative makes easy reading.

L. Tucker, Life Now Books & Sound:

"A book that must be read by everyone! Not only is it necessary for all of us to be aware of and understand these issues, this book is very readable and hard to put down."

Michael Levy, Author, Poet, Philosopher:

"It is always a pleasure to review a book that brings joy and enlightenment into peoples lives. Joseph Jenkins new book "Balance Point" is a mystical adventure into the way human beings are destroying earth's bounty and the only true way to rediscover real meaning in life. Without a balanced focus folks go through life as the 'living dead.' Once we read Jenkins new book, our balance point will become sharper than ever."

Crystal Crone's Reviews: December, 2001

"This is a book that is based on factual events that related to the authors life as he traveled throughout the world to find his "balance point". Of course, names and places were changed and some sections were fictional, but otherwise, you are brought into the travels of a man who learned where the path really started and ends from...the heart and mind.

I was blessed with reading this book. It is written in a style that you think your reading a "fictional" novel, and when your mind comes back to reality, you remember that the events truly happened. Throughout this book I was brought into different lands and I could hear, feel, smell the surroundings. I became lost as Joseph Jenkins traveled.

The story results in learning where the "path of spirituality" begins; right in your own heart and mind. The author doesn't spell it out for you though, he brings you into the mode of learning as he did, and I highly appreciated that. I think that is why I enjoyed this book so much. This gentleman's descriptions, style are new in the format of "guide book".

This is a book written for all religions; from Wiccan to Christians. There is an understanding of all throughout this book, and one important relationship amongst all humans: the Earth.

After you finish the book, I highly [recommend] going through the note section and the addendum. Your knowledge will be even higher after reading "tips and notes". The author also provides urls to different sites and addresses so that you do may help guide the Earth into her right path."

MightyNatural.com Reviewed by: Marie T. Russell (Dec. 2001):

"Another 'find' in the realm of 'spiritual fiction.' We meet the main character, who describes himself as a skeptic, yet he is the one "chosen" to continue the legacy of his Aunt Lucy... an aunt he remembers only from having seen her at a funeral.

Yet, he embarks on this adventure according to her last wishes, mainly so he can cash in the checks she has left him and with the goal of attaining the rest of her fortune once he has, in her words, found his "balance point". The main problem is that he has no idea what that is, or how to find it.

Yet, the Universe, sends along clues and guides to lead him on his path, which ultimately takes him into the Amazon, learning from a "witch doctor," and then home as a new person, or at least one with new perceptions.

The book presents some "eye-opening" concepts regarding mankind and planetary destruction, and the war between the ego and the eco. Several questions and theories are presented: Are humans a parasite on the planet? Are we approaching a point of no return, where as parasites we have killed off our host? Through the experiences in the book, we look at the situation on our planet from a long-term perspective including spirituality, ecology, and humanity.

A book that leads to reflection while also proposing solutions to our planetary dilemmas. A great ecological novel & a spiritual adventure."

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