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Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning
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Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
"Starting with my own experiences in college in the 1960s and early 1970s, I have learned a great deal about how people lose and find their own religion. I've come to see it very much as an ongoing process that never stops. For many people, the faith they grew up with loses its meaning during adolescence. Others who never had any faith in childhood begin exploring religio
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 3rd 1999 by HarperOne (first published 1999)
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Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gem I found while wandering the stacks at my local library. I made copies of the two pages that include a description of a Christian cult from the perspective of an escapee. It felt very familiar--and very affirming to encounter both the person in the story and the author characterizing churches that act like that one as cults. It is not too strong a term for the church that ate my 20s. I also copied the bibliography as a great place to find recommended reading about various religions. Really ...more
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People questioning their faith
Recommended to PlatKat by: The bookstore that wouldn't buy it back from Dominic
Just grabbed it off the bookshelf. It was a regular literary roulette!

A few days later, Dominic saw this book on the table with my stuff and asked, "Are you reading this?"

"Yep! What did you think of it?" I replied.

"I had to get it for a class. I didn't read it because I dropped the class."


The author is a chaplain at Tufts University, which explains its (most likely primarily) academic usage and somewhat academic style of writing. It wasn't too much of a drag to read like one would expect fr
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Eh, it was interesting, but I'm not sure I buy his premise, that there IS an already-established tradition that's right for you. Also, his "stages of faith" are incredibly condescending.

But I guess we can't all take a year off to travel the world and live with monks from every major religious tradition.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Abysmal. Infuriating. Generalizing and universalizing and all my least favorite aspects of UUism (despite being an on/off UU myself).

This is the worst example of God-centrism and how "all faiths lead to the same place! whatever you want to call God -- Science, or the Universe, or Truth, or the Ultimate Reality, we're all connecting to the same thing! :)))"

The model of everyone climbing the same Faith Mountain toward the same peak is awful. Worse is the admonition to "pick a path" and "don't forg
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Somewhat interesting, but mostly just a series of anecdotes about how different people found religion. Had some curious quirks. The author introduces a scale of spiritual awareness, but is careful to point out that no stage is better than another. It's kind of funny, then, to see the author be pulled into uncomfortable positions when trying to explain how important it is to develop our spiritual awareness while maintaining that no one is farther than anyone else. So where the Hell are we going? ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2010, religion
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't read it to find my religion, but to understand my own faith journey and to learn more about faith stage theory. It was an excellent follow-up to James Fowler's Stages of Faith, and much much much easier to read and comprehend.

McLennan first describes his faith stage theory which he relates to "climbing the spiritual mountain." Then he discusses eight themes (thinking, experiencing, walking, joining, sitting, suffering, rejoicing) that help you find your fait
Morninglight Mama
This book was sitting on a shelf parallel to the check-out line at the library, and the title (and Doonesbury illustration) caught my eye as I was awaiting my turn. I had the big kid hold my place in line while I picked it up, and it's as if this book yelled out to me, "This is what you've been thinking about-- c'mon, you have to admit it." The book itself is a pretty straight-forward collection of stories, anecdotes and theory about religious and spiritual development. The author makes mention ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
This was a good yet simple book dealing with how there is no one way to experience a spiritual life or experience. This is the second time I have read this book and I chose it again because my faith-life is at an all time low and I needed something to get me thinking about it again. I have never been truly comfortable with my Catholicism and this was a great book to tell me how there are many different spiritual paths and I can experiment with many on my life journey. I cannot give this book a g ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I suspect I may end up getting my own copy of this. It definitely spoke to the part of me that misses being devout, and I really appreciated the respect given to so many other religions and the repeated idea that learning about other religions can only enhance your own. I would have at least preferred a mention of neo-paganism but I respect his decision to stick to the major belief systems. There are several references to other works worth looking into (I've acquired two already). Also, Doonesbu ...more
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
The book has a lot of anecdotes and some interesting information about other world religions. There are suggestions for other books to read. The author talks about the importance of educating ourselves about other relgions, and how this knowledge can deepen our faith and understanding of others. He compares our spiritual journey to climbing a mountain and tells us that the most important step is picking a "path", even if it changes along the way. He describes different religions in a positive w ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: faith seekers
Shelves: religion
The author of this book was the inspiration for the good reverend in the comic strip Doonesbury. This book validated for me everything that I have been going through in terms of my spirituality, and let me see that I don't need to pinpoint my destination, just know that I am going somewhere. It is absolutely non-denominational but glories in faiths, from Judaism to Hinduism, Muslim and Christian (and more!), and presents spiritual development as a six stages. I highly recommend it for people tha ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A deceptively simple book to help guide you toward discovering a religious experience which is fulfilling to you. Separated into chapters titled after a mountain climb (many paths up the same mountain, get it?), this heartfelt book has the ability to describe the salient points of a given religious experience without being judgmental.

A rare example of a book which is both easy to read and full of depth, I highly recommend it!
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Found it to be a lovely primer on what religion is and isn't. As an adult well out of college, I found the youth orientation a bit tiresome, but since that is the target group of the book, it was probably unavoidable. Overall, thoughtful and well done. It helped me pinpoint where I was spiritually as well (at the "seeking to be a part of a community" stage, as it turned out. Made me realize I was ready to join a local synagouge.)
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book. It helped me see the universality of religion and the "phases" of spiritual development. I found both of these concepts very reassuring. I feel less guilty now for my questions and lack of religious conviction and more willing to embrace the quest for meaning. The author is very open-minded and also offers lots of good information on where to continue one's personal research regarding various religious faiths.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really liked this one. It sort of, in my opinion, approached human spirituality from the perspective of human development and what the concept of "maturity" means in the progression of religious thought-slash-feeling of an individual human. Nice. Reassuring. It is a quest and we may change our paths along the way.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
I found it really hard to get engaged in this book, and i'm not sure why. Too many anecdotes and summaries of other, more profound, spiritual books. But it gave me some food for thought and some ideas of other books to read. Just couldn't focus on it - I guess I'm not ready to find my religion!
Dec 20, 2015 added it
Shelves: read-excerpts
I read a couple chapters a few years ago, lost interest, and never picked it back up again, so I'm clearing it off my shelf as part of my pre-New Year's cleaning. Fun fact: Although I didn't finish his book, I have met Rev. Scotty in passing and liked him.
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm on a comparative religion kick right now, starting with this book. It's not bad and certainly speaks to my point of view, but I don't feel any more inspired or enlightened now than I did before I read it.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really couldn't decide what this book wanted to do or be. Some parts were an update on stages of faith. Others were pro-religiosity in general, and still others were more comparative in terms of religious traditions. I think I got something out of the book, but I can't even decide precisely what.
Daughters Of Abraham
Led to a lively conversation about finding again the religion of your youth, or reclaiming your tradition or choosing a different path from your family of origin.. A good book for discussion and personal story-telling.
I read this after I interviewed the author, who is/was the dean of religious life for Stanford. He inspired his friend from Yale (Gary Trudeau) to create the character Reverend Scot Sloan. I found McLennan to be very zen-like and cool. The book is allright too.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-reads
This is a book by the real life model for the priest character in Doonesbury, and Trudeau's college roommate. His very understandable book about finding yourself religiously is full of suggestions for additional reading and personal stories from all religious traditions. Very insightful.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really liked him when I interviewed him on this book for Grace Cathedral. Very evolved...a must read for anyone who needs some help with finding your religious compass.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Jennifer C McDavid
rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2017
rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Sep 28, 2011
Caprice Benoit
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Feb 09, 2016
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The Reverend William L. McLennan, Jr. — better known as "Scotty McLennan" — was born on November 21, 1948. He is a published author of four books, an ordained minister, a lawyer, and an educator, currently teaching ethics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He was the University Chaplain at Tufts for sixteen years and Dean for Religious Life at Stanford for fourteen years.
More about Scotty McLennan