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The Presence of Absence: On Prayers and an Epiphany

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  24 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Named a "Reader's Choice" for 1998 by The Boston Globe

When she was twenty-seven, Doris Grumbach was visited by what she recognized as the presence of God. For a woman with no religious education or faith, the event was as unexpected as it was joyful. It was also never repeated. In The Presence of Absence, Grumbach recollects her quest to recover the sense of God's presence
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Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Beacon Press (first published 1998)
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Rebecca Foster
“Too often now I find the business of church keeps me from the real enterprise of prayer.” This book of theological introspection was published when Grumbach was 80. At that point, she was looking back at a distance of over 50 years on a mystical experience she had as a young wife and mother. Sitting on the porch steps at her home, momentarily alone, she felt the presence of God in an undeniable way. In the interim decades, she sought to recreate her experience through Psalms, liturgy and contem ...more
Darleen
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone on a spiritual journey
Shelves: spirituality
This is one of those "spiritual reading" books that I found compelling while I was reading it, but can remember only a few concrete features of the book, and these concrete features aren't what made it compelling. Grumbach had an intense experience of the presence of God 30 years ago or more, and the memory of that experience keeps her searching for God. The book weaves in and out of autobiography/memoir to include comments about books she has read. And the final 20 pages or so are snippets of n ...more
Pam Thomas
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those spiritually walk on the wild side of life books but with a difference, how one woman's experience of the presence of God and a over whelming peace so intense it is difficult to comprehend but it is there and the she loses it again and sets off on a deeply profound journey to find it again using prayers and spiritual guidance. Deeply enchanting books.,
Lisa Thomas
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It has taken me a long time to read this book. Like very rich food, it has to be digested in small bites. More and more, I feel myself retreating from the world and seeking peace, solitude, and, yes, I suppose God or a sense of him. Excellent academic read with many diverse points of view about prayer, community and solitude.
Ryan
Aug 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Trite. She seems bitter and unyielding in her quest for knowing the Presence, unyielding in that she has a distinct view of what she expects to find and an endless lament that she doesn't find it just so.
Patty
As someone who gets a lot out of corporate worship, it was fascinating to hear Grumbach's concerns about worshiping in community. I am at the very beginnings of my private prayer life and I am learning all the time. This book was a real blessing and I expect to read it again.
Kathy
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
couldn't get into it. Heard author interviewed and thought she'd have something to say to me about meditation
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Doris Grumbach is an American novelist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist. She taught at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, and was literary editor of the The New Republic for several years. Since 1985, she has had a bookstore, Wayward Books, in Sargentville, Maine, that she operates with her partner, Sybil Pike.
More about Doris Grumbach...