A personal, surprising, and heart-warming book wherein two spiritual masters of our time advance the central questions of life and faith.
"Brother David Steindl-Rast and Father Anselm Grün are figures of hope, people who by the power of their example can offer an orientation in a world that has become too complex to comprehend. The spirituality they radiate is an everyday thing that is nevertheless both profound and vivid. . . .
"Our conversations, on which this book is based, could be read as a 'crash course' in Christian spirituality. This book will be an inspiration and an aid to spiritual life for many people of our time, whether they are believers or not."
From the Introduction
David Steindl-Rast, OSB, is a monk of Mount Saviour Monastery in Elmira, New York. He has written and lectured extensively and was one of the first Roman Catholics to be involved in Buddhist-Christian dialogue. He is the cofounder of gratefulness.org.
Anselm Grün, OSB, is a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Münsterschwarzach, Germany, where he has been cellarer since 1977. He is the author of many books, lectures, and courses on themes of spiritual life.
Johannes Kaup has worked at the Austrian public radio corporation since 1990 and has received several awards as producer of programs on faith and life. He has authored five books.
"What an inspiring book! I feel humbled and greatly enriched by discovering the pearls of wisdom revealed in these challenging conversations. We meet two spiritual masters speaking from the depths of their hearts and a wealth of experience. The deepest insights of spiritual life are presented here with so much discernment, beauty, and love as well as great simplicity. They open up the treasures of faith beyond all well-worn doctrines, rituals, and beliefs by concentrating on the heart of religion, its life-giving energies, and its eternal message of trust and hope. This book is a precious gift, a real treasure. Let us hope that it will be discovered by many people and give them a deep sense of trust, strength, and joy."
Ursula King, University of Bristol, England
"They really present questions rather than answers. They are seeking to look seriously at their image of God and how it has developed along with their own maturity. This is not a book of answers, but an invitation to wonder. We probably worry too much and wonder too little. Yet it is God who is 'wonder-full.' Those two monks invite us to wonder in our search for God."
Simeon Thole, American Benedictine Review
"The effect of reading this book is extraordinary. There's a sense of warmth and intimacy here that is often lacking in more systematic presentations of theology. It's like being invited to pull up a chair at the breakfast room table where two wise and gentle monks are having a conversation, pondering the deepest thoughts of their hearts. Their conversation draws on insights from the enduring religions of the world as well as from psychology, philosophy, and poetry. But it is all grounded in the real stuff of ordinary, human life. Brother David and Father Anselm delve deeply into places of the human heart that every reader knows well, and you might find yourself marvelling at how well they seem to know and embrace you. The words conversation and conversion share a common root-one conveys friendly intimacy and the other conveys dramatic power. This book conveys both."
The Reverend Gary D. Jones, Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia
"Faith beyond Belief presents a compelling blend of scholarly and practical insights, grounded in ancient traditions and texts while also providing fresh approaches to meaning-making in a diverse and global society. The wide-ranging dialogue explores the basic values found at the heart of all religions—gratitude, courage, self-knowledge, forgiveness, compassion—each one oriented toward sustaining positive human relationships. The authors excel at illuminating nuances when they encounter points of tension—from exploring the hidden value of suffering, to reconciling the goals of self-acceptance and self-mastery, to navigating religious and nonreligious approaches to social justice and environmental crises. The result is an impassioned and inspirational book that calls for each of us—no matter our belief system—to connect with the heart of what it means to be human. And furthermore, it points to practical steps toward this noble aim."
Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, Director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership at Emory University
"Faith beyond Belief reawakens the ancient form of monastic writing known as a `chapter': brief, condensed writing on a host of topics. Together these two revered, spiritual masters from the Benedictine tradition offer reflections and guidance on the deep-tissue, spiritual topics of our day. Their reflections shimmer with wisdom as they traverse the pathless path of prayer with poise and proclaim it in perfect pitch. Readers will find their gratitude expanding into canyons of receptive reverence for the wisdom and perspective that David Steindl-Rast and Anselm Grün, each in his own way, offer to each one of us."
Martin Laird, Author of Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence
"The fluid and frank conversations and provocative questions lend this book towards usage as supplemental reading for courses about spirituality or mysticism, especially for ungraduated students."
Walter Sisto, Catholic Books Review
"Readers are treated in Faith beyond Belief to a unique opportunity to be a `fly on the wall' and listen in on a thought-provoking series of discussions between two of the greatest spiritual writers of our time. This volume presents a wide-ranging array of timely theological, spiritual, and cultural themes that will not leave those already familiar with David Steindl-Rast and Anselm Grün disappointed. Those new to their creative and original engagement with faith, tradition, and dialogue will surely find this a welcome entrée to their respective works."
Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Catholic Theological Union, author of The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing
"This is an extraordinary conversation between two of the most eloquent voices in contemporary Benedictine monasticism. Br. David, whose poetic, prophetic rearticulation of ancient truths has inspired believers and nonbelievers across the globe, and Fr. Anselm, with his prodigious output of practical down-to-earth monastic spirituality, invite us into an intimate colloquy that at times is nothing short of breathtaking in its vision of and for Christianity."
Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam., Author of Spirit, Soul, Body
"If you want a book that gets to the essence, that clears your mind of unhelpful clutter, this is it. I would suggest Faith Beyond Belief is an ideal book for small groups. People could read a chapter a week and the conversation would then continue until Christmas!"
Bishop Philip Huggins, The Melbourne Anglican