Cover image for What would I believe if I didn't believe anything? : a handbook for spiritual orphans : a spiritual compass to point you home
What would I believe if I didn't believe anything? : a handbook for spiritual orphans : a spiritual compass to point you home
Groff, Kent Ira.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 232 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
BV4501.3 .G76 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What Would I Believe if I Didn′t Believe Anything? is a guidebook for spiritual orphans that shows how they can "doubt their way home" by embracing their doubts and asking the hard questions as a meaningful path toward genuine faith. The author helps readers value their own questions and learn to talk about spiritual matters in fresh, non-religious language. Rather than handing down doctrines "from above," Groff invites readers to look at life "from below," exploring experiences of daily living. He helps the reader to find the grace in the grit of everyday life, seeking analogies of faith in film and literature, psychology and science, poetry and arts, music and sports. Drawing primarily from the well of his Christian experience, Groff also incorporates insights from the world′s primal myths and major religions.

Fifty reflection exercises make it ideal for group use with journeyers of varied backgrounds for campuses, prisons, communal residences, religious communities and work places.

Author Notes

Kent Ira Groff, a writer, poet, speaker, and spiritual guide, describes his work as one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread. He is founding mentor of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A founding mentor of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development in Camp Hill, PA, Groff (Lancaster Theological Seminary) has written a rather jazzy, pop-savvy guide for disaffected younger Christians trying to discover a way back to a faith that feels genuine. His writing is not without humor, and his book is full of practical pointers, going so far as to include guidance on how to generate authentic spirituality in small groups and reviving the practice of lectio divina. Groff's book does not-as his title and prefatory material might suggest-address nonbelievers or even acknowledge other spiritual traditions. Nevertheless, for mildly disaffected young Christians, his work should prove amusing and useful. For most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Reflection Exercisesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Orientation: Global Orphansp. xv
Conversations with Seekers: Genuine Experiences, Worthy Questionsp. xxi
The Gift in the Grit: Losing Your Religion to Find Your Faithp. 1
1 Being Agnostic Cracks the Door to Truthp. 2
2 Big Barriers to Believingp. 9
3 Hide and Seek in Stuffp. 18
4 The "Vulgar" Biblep. 26
5 Yearning Your Way Home: Holy Worldly Pathsp. 31
6 Thinking Your Way Home: Postmodern Clues for Primodern Faithp. 40
7 Sweating Your Way Home: Body Languagep. 51
Wonder Happens: Surprise! Surprisep. 59
8 Dreams, Daydreams, and Discoveryp. 60
9 Serendipity! Surprise Hunger for "Soul Talk"p. 66
10 Shock. 9/11 and Traumatic Surprisep. 73
11 You Are Dust. You Are Stars! Two Keysp. 80
12 Insight Is Not Transferablep. 85
Mystery: Inklings of Transformationp. 95
13 The Murder of Mysteryp. 96
14 "You Should See Mt. St. Helens Now!"p. 101
15 The Matrix: Through Anger to Forgiveness to Freedomp. 106
16 Beauty: Johann, Vincent, and Jazzp. 114
17 Gesture: Gandhi, Rosa, and Soulforcep. 121
18 Emptiness: Prozac Days and Dark Nightsp. 126
19 Sex, Mysticism, and Workp. 138
How Shall We Then Live? Having Fun Doing Goodp. 145
20 Playful Projects for Serious Purposesp. 146
21 Live as If You Had a Thousand Years to Live, Live as If You Must Die Thomorrowp. 151
22 Chocolat and Spider-Man: Passionate Gratitudep. 158
23 Listen to Love, to Love: Contemplate Truth, Act Truthfullyp. 165
24 Singling in Communityp. 171
25 Dancing Your Way Home Again: Sankofap. 182
Debriefing and Homework: Chop Wood and Carry Waterp. 193
P.S. For Once or Maybe Christians: How Big Is Your Jesus?p. 195
Resource 1 Guidelines for Group Gatheringsp. 201
Resource 2 Personal Meditative Readingp. 203
Resource 3 Group Meditative Readingp. 205
Resource 4 Faith Finding, Faith Sharingp. 207
Resource 5 "O For So Short a Time"p. 209
Notesp. 211
Bibliographyp. 225
The Authorp. 229
Creditsp. 231