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Faith for the Unbeliever

Faith for the Unbeliever

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Reflections on faith, especially for those who are not traditionally religious. Using engaging stories, and with reflection questions after each chapter, this small book of wisdom helps to make faith more accessible for all.

Author: Daniel Chesney Kanter

Price: $14.00

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The senior minister of a large metropolitan church shares his reflections on faith, especially addressing those who are not traditionally religious. With simple poignancy, Kanter says that we can understand faith to be less about what we believe in, and more about how we live and the choices we make. He considers what living faithfully could mean for the unorthodox among us, using four areas of focus—belief, trust, loyalty, and worldview. With lively and engaging stories to illustrate ideas—and reflection questions after each chapter—this small book of wisdom helps to make faith more accessible for the increasing number of the "spiritual but not religious."

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Foreword by Ruben Habito

Introduction

Belief
Trust
Loyalty
Worldview
Becoming Faithful

We have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to faith. We have been told we either have it or we don't. After some careful thinking on this, I believe that is completely wrong. We all have faith, but we rarely define it in ways that can help us. We have given over this concept, like so many others, to someone else, even though it is right in the midst of everything we do. The faith I'm talking about is an essential part of our daily lives, and if we look below the surface it can ground us in ways that many of us haven't yet explored. Many of us don't begin this exploration because we're told that faith is about belief statements. Yet a nontraditional faith can pave the way to new beginnings.


I have identified four areas in which we may look for a faithful approach to life: our guiding beliefs, areas of trust, loyalties, and worldview. I think of them as like four panes of a window. We look out through them, and on the other side is the vast landscape of experience. One pane may need a little cleaning, while another may be more clear. This book is organized to address each of these ways to look at faith and asks you, the reader, to reflect on how you might see yourself as a person of faith without the traditional and, frankly, flat definitions of that word.


Walking with people through the highs and lows of their spiritual lives, I have come to realize that almost every experience can be food for the soul. To transform an old phrase, we might say that an examined life leads to a richer experience and a more deliberate existence. We can live a better life by passing our experiences through the fire of the heart as a way to understand the inner landscape of who we are and the unique contributions we make to the world. If approached with self-awareness, thought, and the ability to step back far enough to see them in perspective, all our day-to-day moments can be food for the soul.


I ask you to examine your faith and develop it so that it is not stagnant, controlled by creeds, or owned by a few, but is your living, breathing, personal perspective. Each person's answers to the questions in these chapters are undoubtedly different from everyone else's. But in reflecting on the questions together, we can contemplate who we are, pushing aside the temptation to limit our worldviews to the destructive binaries of win/lose and either/or. We can all be faithful. Being faithful expands us all.

Making the important distinction between belief and faith, Daniel Kanter wins our hearts with narratives from his own spiritual journey and also with stories from people who have opened up to him in his role as minister. . . . He invites us, his readers, to take a kind of inner journey and, led on by faith, to respond to [our] callings and urgings from the depths of our own being.
—from the Foreword by Ruben L. F. Habito, Professor of World Religions and Spirituality, Perkins School of Theology

With rational analysis and poignant stories, pilgrim and pastor Daniel Kanter looks at faith through four frames: belief and doubt, trust and distrust, loyalty and betrayal, plus our lifelong efforts to form a coherent worldview amidst constant change. Read, discuss, and you will find yourself wiser and more faithful than you were before.
—John Buehrens, author and past President of the UUA

The religious left in America has been working to reclaim "religion," but we have done so without engaging a root concept: "faith." Kanter dives into an exploration that allows us to leave behind our misconception that faith means having unquestioned beliefs. He claims, and helps us claim, a living faith—a faith in action through our relationships and daily life.
—Kayla Parker, editor of Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood

Kanter writes for people who want to think of themselves as faithful but have difficulty because they can't honestly affirm commonly held beliefs. He shares stories and poems, and reminds us of songs that invite us to grow in faith by considering our doubts, loyalties, commitments, and vision. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection so it's a great book to study alone with your journal, or with friends.
—Rev. Christine Robinson, co-author, Listening Hearts: Fourteen Gatherings for Reflection and Sharing

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by Joan Popkin
on 10/4/2017
Faith For The Unbeliever
I knew that I didn't feel comfortable with organized religion, but I never thought about your four areas of faith that you laid out so brilliantly in your book "Faith for the Unbeliever".  I took the journey of examining just what I do believe, and how I use it in my life.  Thank you for helping me understand my faith after all these years.
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