The Way of Gratitude: A New Spirituality for Today

Galen Guengerich. Random House, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-51141-0
Guengerich (God Revised), senior minister at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York, speaks to “spiritual but not religious” readers seeking meaning, joy, and transcendence, in this well-reasoned manifesto for a spirituality based on gratitude. The author draws on his experience—he left the Conservative Mennonite Church in which he was raised—as well as stories from his congregants in constructing a system of beliefs and practices based on prayer, personal relationships, and “shared human dignity” that move one beyond “what we need or want, maybe what we hope to get away with—to the awareness that we are part of a larger whole.” For Guengerich, “the longing for a comprehensive sense of meaning and a deep sense of purpose... remains unmet by secularism.” To fill this gap, he proposes that gratitude can provide connections, create beauty, and maximize human dignity. The author also borrows from the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead to answer basic theological questions about why things happen, for example, how does the history of religion inform one’s understanding of God? “When I use the term God,” Guengerich writes, “I do so in this sense—as the experience of ultimate belonging... God is the experience of possibility.” At the end, he follows his more abstract considerations with concrete suggestions for meditation and fasting. This deceptively simple work will appeal to spiritual explorers of any stripe. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/07/2020
Release date: 05/26/2020
Genre: Religion
Book - 978-0-525-51142-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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