In When in Doubt, Sing, Jane Redmont will forever change the way you think about prayer. Without rules, without rigid doctrine, this book will enhance your prayer life--whether you pray daily, have stopped praying, have just begun praying, or have never prayed at all. Redmont, a minister, activist, and theologian, offers new ways to deepen your spirituality and commune with God. Drawing on her own prayer life--as well as the prayer experiences and stories of friends and strangers, young and old, male and female, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, and agnostic--Redmont explores both the gifts of diverse communities and the individuality of prayer, stressing that what is effective and meaningful for one person might not be so for another. She implores you to forget what you've learned if it no longer works for you, but to remember the traditions and practices that nourish and sustain you.
From praying with the body and with music, through writing or mediation, and teaching children to pray, to praying during times of anger, doubt, hope, depression, or overwhelming joy, Redmont offers a fresh perspective on the variety of traditional and new prayer experiences. Personal, practical, and warmly written, When in Doubt, Sing is a joy and an invaluable guide to enlivening your spiritual life.
This book is for you if you consider yourself a Christian who prays. It is also for you if you do not. You may be active--newly or lifelong--in a congregation, church, parish, meeting house, or other assembly for worship. Or you may have left behind the church of your childhood and adolescence but not your spiritual institutions, or they may evoke in you little besides anger and frustration. In any case, you pray--or, in some deep part of your being, in the heart of your heart, there is a longing for a relationship with God, or for a state beyond those "standing in the Presence." This book is also for you if you live outside the Christian tradition and are exercising the virtue of curiosity. I hope it will speak words of welcome to all those who read it. It is meant to offer an experience of hospitality, just as I believe that God extends to human beings a divine and inexhaustible welcome: the door is always open, the table always set, the arms flung wide, outstretched.
-- Jane Redmont, from the Introduction
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Those who seek a connection with God, but who do not want to confine themselves to praying in churches with bowed heads or meditating for hours, will feel liberated by this new style of prayer book. The main point that Redmont wants readers to grasp is that prayer--the act of communing with God--should not be hindered by rules. Prayer can take place while playing a piano, planting a garden, or solving a complicated math problem.
Once she has convinced readers to loosen their confining definition of prayer, Redmont goes on to discuss resistance to prayer, devoting an entire chapter to topics such as "Praying with Anger" and "Waiting in the Night, When We Cannot Pray." She also gives parents suggestions for helping children find their natural voices of prayer.
In her final chapters, Redmont discusses prayer through touch, ritual, writing, meditation, singing, and listening to music. Christians will probably glean the most from Redmont's wisdom and research, since she's a Catholic lay minister. However, to her credit, Redmont includes numerous stories, poems, prayers, and inspirational quotes that represent many of the world's religious traditions, including Zen Buddhism and Judaism. --Gail HudsonAbout the Author:
Jane Redmont is a feminist theologian, Catholic lay minister, social activist, and writer. She was the first woman Chaplain at St. Paul's University Catholic Center in Madison, Wisconsin; was the social justice minister at the Paulist Center in Boston; was the executive director of the Boston Region of the National Conference (founded as the National Conference of Christians and Jews); and has been deeply involved in dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Born of Jewish parents who became Unitarians and raised as a Unitarian Universalist, Redmont converted to Catholicism as a young adult; she also incorporated much Jewish and Buddhist tradition in her spiritual life. She is the author of Generous Lives: American Catholic Women Today and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
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