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Liturgical Press

Desperately Seeking Spirituality

A Field Guide to Practice

Meredith Gould

Desperately Seeking Spirituality SEE INSIDE
Desperately Seeking Spirituality

eISBN: 9780814648759, E4875

Details: 156 pgs,
Publication Date: 05/15/2016
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In Desperately Seeking Spirituality, sacred spelunker and sociologist Meredith Gould combines practical wisdom with lived experience to explain why and when traditional practices don't work for today's seeker and then how to choose ones that will. In short, easy-to-read chapters and with characteristic wit, Gould provides counsel for reframing perception to discover the sacred in everyday life.

This guide is for self-identified seekers who have tried some, many, or even all the classic spiritual practices and then given up on them when they stop working. In Desperately Seeking Spirituality, Gould invites readers to embrace a broader definition of practice that shifts focus from doing to being.

Meredith Gould, PhD, is a sociologist with well over a decade of hands-on experience with communications at all levels of church across denominations. She's the author of nine books about faith and everyday life. Dr. Gould is the founder and lead moderator of the weekly ecumenical Twitter-based chat about church social media (#chsocm), founder and comoderator of the monthly Health & Spirituality chat (#hlthsp), Platinum Fellow of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, and nationally known for her passionate advocacy of using online tools for ministry and to encourage practical spirituality. Learn more at

eISBN: 9780814648759, E4875

Details: 156 pgs,
Publication Date: 05/15/2016


This is a terrific little book. Meredith Gould has walked the walk and has earned the right to talk about the spiritual path. Here she illumines the wise old Latin adage Agere Sequitur Esse, or Doing Follows Being, and inspires us to focus on the five essential practices of being: willingness, curiosity, empathy, generosity, and delight. From these inner wells spring all else: spiritual practice, good deeds, peace, gratitude, mercy, and love.
Michael Leach, author of Why Stay Catholic? Unexpected Answers to a Life Changing Question

For seekers of every spiritual tradition who hunger to go deeper into the sacred, this book will inspire and invigorate that holy quest. With candor, humor and keen spiritual insight, Meredith offers an array of practical navigational aids flavored with her engaging style. Especially noteworthy is the wide scope of spiritual wisdom she integrates in this inviting guidebook: Twelve Steps, Buddhist meditation, yoga, monastic practice, Transpersonal Psychology, Mindfulness, along with contemporary Internet and You-Tube resources. Questions for Reflection, summaries, personal inventories, checklists and delightful End Notes make it easy to access and absorb the gift of her companionship.
The Right Reverend Chilton Knudsen, Retired Episcopal Bishop of Maine

Warm, witty, and full of wisdom describe Meredith Gould's book Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice. What sets this book apart from others is its grounding in social science while simultaneously offering accessible, authentic methods to develop a personal spiritual roadmap. Instead of instructing the reader to follow a predetermined route, this guide offers places to pause to consider, reflect and engage in the spiritual landscape. Meredith Gould is the perfect tour guide for those wishing to be both charmed and challenged in reframing the notion of spirituality in their lives.
Pamela Ressler, MS, RN, HNB-BC, Founder,, Faculty, Pain Research, Education and Policy Tufts University School of Medicine

"As a seeker, I often trudge through drab, austere books, maintaining a respectful distance from the author's voice, in order to glean a kernel of wisdom for my mundane life. I have come to expect pious detachment from truly spiritual people. Meredith Gould shatters those expectations in Desperately Seeking Spirituality. Through her essential words, Gould walks beside us, pointing out the delight and suffering in our journey, and cramming each page with vibrant wisdom and insightful humor."
Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Christian Century columnist and author of Healing Spiritual Wounds and Reframing Hope

St. Augustine is credited with saying, "My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee". Meredith Gould has written with candor and insight about what many spiritual seekers have discovered-finding rest in God is not something that can be guaranteed by dedication to the practice of spiritual disciplines. For those of us who've been there, done that, that, and that, and found our souls wearied by the process, Desperately Seeking Spirituality offers grace, freedom and practical refreshment.
Michelle Van Loon, author of Days Of Yes: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith (NavPress, 2016)

The image of a seeker standing before shelves of books looking bewildered can now be replaced with an image of a seeker happily holding a copy of this book. Meredith Gould has written what will certainly be the go-to volume for many; both those who search for a spiritual practice, and those with a practice, but who wish to go wider and deeper. With her trademark brand of experience-based wisdom infused with humor, the author offers readers smart, practical, and refreshing options as they make their spiritual way.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, blogger, Give Us This Day contributing writer

You need this book. I need this book. Clergy and laity alike. Believers and seekers both. Those who are prone to orthopraxytosis and those whose meditations are distracted by the cat's horking. You are not alone. With great warmth and wit, Meredith Gould offers a depth of research, a breadth of how-to's and a serious dose of candor to make Desperately Seeking Spirituality an invaluable companion for this journey of `sacred spelunking.' Clean up whatever the cat did, and then it's inward ho!
Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg, author of Sacred Pause and Writing to God

Gould's wit and simplicity of style opens this text up to all who are in desperate need of some spirituality or who need a refresh on what it means to seek after God in our everyday life.
Rev. Evan M. Dolive, Author of Seeking Imperfection: Body Image, Marketing and God

Are your spiritual practices no longer working for you? With her usual witty, clever and concise prose, Meredith Gould charts for the reader a refreshing new way to examine the passages through the "dark nights." Step by step, her book provides suggestions on how to examine and reset your spiritual journey that just may lead you to a deepened sense of being and open your eyes to the sacredness in everyday life.
Richard Rohr, OFM

I am one of the clergy Meredith mentions who is in desperate need of this book and I didn't know that until I read it! I found myself slowing down and being nurtured by the presence of God in the quotes and self-reflective questions. Desperately Seeking Spirituality provides generous, practical ways to delight in the wonder of this life and God's merciful presence. Especially for those of us for whom spirituality is our profession, this book is a fresh perspective.
The Rev. Jes Kast, Associate Minister, West End Collegiate Church, NYC

There are two beginnings of those who seek to walk on a spiritual path. Author Meredith Gould describes both out of her experience of linking with various Christian denominations on the subject of spirituality. For the novice, she offers practices, disciplines, and advice. She enhances these for those who have fallen into spiritual burnout, mourning the devotion they once felt. Gould's hallmark is clarity.
St. Anthony Messenger