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This: Becoming Free

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Doubt-filled spiritual leader and reluctant Grammy-nominated Christian musician Michael Gungor finally let go of his belief in God as he tried to whittle together a god that he could love. Letting go of the stories that defined his identity and value in the world led Gungor and his family on a wild and painful journey through atheism, mysticism, betrayal, loss, medical ...more
Published April 16th 2019
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  407 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Jan Anne
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
“This” is an odd one. I have two complete opposite parts of me that have very different opinions on this book. One side enjoys it, the other part of me heavily critiques it. Gungor’s book is hard to define: it is part memoir, part parable, part musings, part mystic exploration. It primarily aims for the audience that Gungor’s music is made for: the spiritually troubled millennial (and iGen).

It explores Michael Gungor’s loss of faith, him being condemned by the Christian community. All this leads
Douglas Graves
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was incredibly excited to read Vishnu's latest book. I closely follow his work and music. I feel like that certainly helped make this book easier to read and understand. There were certainly parts that felt more elevated and "out there" for a lack of better terms. This seems necessary considering what he is trying to communicate.

Several years ago I was exposed to the realization that language itself is limited in what it sets out to achieve. We tend to take this for granted, but all of
Josiah Goff
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good

My brain in book form :-) I loved it so much. Highly recommend to anyone trying to make sense of life, love, God, and happiness.
Andrew Tyson
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’ve followed Michael’s work since Beautiful Things came out. I’ve been challenged by his work with the Liturgists and have always found him to be intriguing and important artist. I enjoyed his first book a lot and recommend it to people who want to create as more fully human artists.

This book was (frankly) kind of scattered, confusing and boring. It didn’t feel like there was a good rhythm between his personal stories and his analyses of how to better experience THIS. The book contained a lot
Ben Figueiredo
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved every bit of this book. I connected with Michael’s journey as it resonated very much so with my own. His perspective is not one that is popular and will be shunned as heretical by most of the “the church” but it is a beautiful one full of truth, Hope, and peace. It’s doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to our ego identities and it is met with much resistance, but i think if we can learn to see “this” and live “this” things will change for ourselves and for the world.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
In short, this book was a hot mess. There were some moments, some pages, that rose above the rest, and the chapter on "THIS is Love" was probably the highlight of the book (though that doesn't say a whole lot). But overall it was just a sludgy mess of Michael Gungor unconvincingly trying to mish-mash a TON of different spiritual and philosophical ideas and influences (together with snippets of personal narrative and memoir) into one incredibly inconsistent perspective on life and how to live it. ...more
Jacquelyn Moses
Aug 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Where to begin ... while I am a bit of a hippie myself I feel like you can’t reject one form of spirituality as too judgmental and absurd while embracing an absurd mishmash of spiritualism and judging the “non enlightened”. I agree with some of his critique of America’s particular way of warping Christianity into a cultural set of behaviors with no intellectual engagement behind it but I don’t think we need ton throw out the baby and drink the bath water. Purpose, meaning, how we treat those we ...more
Mandi MacDonald
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 500booksofsummer
A millennial who denies Christianity but then accepts everything as truth and nothing as selfish -- all in an effort to feel better about his own life and the reality in which we all find ourselves. Not original but still so very sad.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Hated so much of this book couldn't wait for it to be over. I liked a lot of his personal stories, identified with some of his negative experiences with belief and church culture. But on the whole, his ideas are totally unsatisfying. As a 4 on the enneagram I think he has mistyped himself as a 5. It takes one to know one, and this dude is definitely a self indulgent four like me. Also was super irritated that he thinks he can just stir all the belief systems together and cherry pick to his ...more
Austin Curnutt
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and real. Gungor's anti-story storytelling is incredible. I'll come back to this book many times.
R. Douglas
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved THIS.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Not totally sure about all my thoughts on this book, but there were some lovely pieces that I got from it.
Mary Buzzard
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book kept me pulled in, but it’s a bit of a difficult read. It’s not so out there that I wouldn’t try to re read and understand more. I loved Vishnu’s personal stories and experiences, and much of it was so relatable. I wish there was more of his story in the book, but I understand that is not why he wrote the book. I would recommend this read if you are already familiar with Michael/Vishnu’s work, (specifically as a listener to the Liturgists). I’m not sure if I would recommend this book ...more
Donald Schoenecker
Thought questions but rambling analysis

As a christian , I understand the questions and confusion that Michael has concerning the church. But from there he rambles through various beliefs and drug influenced thought that yield nothing but a final acceptance of that life is good and bad and you just have to accept it.
Zack Brown
Aug 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was very unsurprised when, about 100 pages in, Gungor reveals that Alan Watts was his favorite philosopher. Gungor lifted entire passages from Watts. The difference was, Watts was such a strong personality and competent writer who loved words and word-play and Gungor isn't. It came across as the straight edge college freshman who gets high for the first time. If Gungor had stuck to autobiographical elements about his life, faith, and doubt, this would have been an okay autobio. Instead the ...more
John Hewitt II
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'THIS' excels when Gungor is telling his own story, but becomes longwinded at times when he gets deep into his main points. Nevertheless, it has some really beautiful sections and I found it a compelling read. Pretty interesting to read this right after Pete Holmes' 'Comedy Sex God', as they are very similar. Holmes is funnier, Gungor is more philosophical, but they both have a massive crush on Ram Dass.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
"And then I took magic mushrooms and was born again."

Most of this book felt like hearing somebody's vast revelations from their drug induced life changing experience. Slightly entertaining, but mostly disappointing. I was glad when it was over.
Alyson Hinkie
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many of my friends would have all kinds of theological meltdowns about some of the ideas presented here, but this book met me where I am in so many ways. Michael Gungor's journey is his own, but his vulnerable, frank, and humorous writing invited me to embrace my own journey towards love and freedom.

Jacob Porter
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS is one of the most wonderful jaunts of a memoir blended with spirituality and philosophy that I’ve ever read. I had no real expectations going into this book and have not really read much about non dualism or in-depth explanations of eastern religious thought. What I found was a delight to read and some new ways of seeing the world. This book doesn’t try to assert any answers or conclusions on absolute truth. It simply pokes at the assumptions we make from the stories our ego tells us in ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Loved it. There are things about the form of this book that I’d change - the type was small, some excerpts were in a tiny, gray font that was very difficult to read, the layering of parables and metaphors and real life were a bit of a challenge to follow and somewhat distracting - but regardless, I deeply enjoyed the book. It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone, it’s definitely esoteric, but large portions of the thoughts shared by the author are, down to the specifics of ...more
Jarkko Laine
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real and entertaining, yet profound look into life, faith, and everything in between

I only found Gungor a little while ago, through the Liturgists podcast, and was curious to learn more as it seemed he has been going through very similar thought processes as myself. I was not disappointed, as the book gave me a lot to think about and consider — and meditate on. “THIS” might very well be the natural step forward.
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS: Becoming Free felt like an echo of something very true inside of me. I am thankful for the absurdity, honesty, vulnerability, and grace Vishnu delivered in this recollection of stories. I am currently listening to the audiobook because I wanted to hear this perspective again.

If you are looking for a book to remind you how to be more grounded and free in your experience, pick THIS up!
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has helped introduce to me a way of seeing the universe that is beauty and interconnectedness and love that I never found anywhere else. Highly recommended for anyone who has stepped away from dogmatic beliefs and is looking to find direction and a way of practice that leads to peace and contentment
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vulnerable and expansive

I read this on a plane from the east coast to the west coast and it was exactly what I needed at the time. I am very thankful that Michael shared his story, and his emphasis on the connectedness of humanity was beautiful. I have already recommended this book to a few friends.
Christin Wright
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS is thoughtful, eye opening, heart warming, and soul touching. The balance between life stories, metaphors, and spiritual guidance is what makes THIS so special. It's hard truths delivered in gentle tones. It's all the things folks who had grown up in strict Christian homes who felt there was more to life than suppressing everything out of guilt and shame.
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-2019
This is absolutely fantastic on awareness and being alive. You will have to be in a mood to read it as the language flows like a song at times. It can get a bit out there at moments, but if you are in that mood, this is the book for you.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. It made me so happy to be alive. Sometimes it told me things I already knew, but in a way that made me want to sing. And other times it said things I never would have imagined but maybe also have always known. I want to read it forever.
Micke Goteman
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart is so full of THIS after reading this. The love and freedom that i have found in this kind of seeing and letting go feels impossible to put into words.

Thank you Vish for sharing this with the rest of THIS. We are so glad you did.

Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read by Michael Gungor. It really takes a look at his journey through faith, the loss thereof and a gaining of something that could be considered greater, a peace. I really enjoyed the read and hope that he continues to write.
Annemarie Kuhnau
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was really refreshing to read the truth of what he went though and his struggle/loss of his faith.
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“For the ten-thousandth time, I prayed that if God could hear me that He/She/It would help me. I was just so tired. Tired of the heaviness. Tired of the doubt. Tired of trying to create a god I could love.” 0 likes
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