Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief

amen vosperFor many people, prayer is an essential part of their daily lives, connecting them with God, a force, or the universe, bringing them, among other things, assistance and protection. Prayer makes their lives more meaningful, and in that meaning their worlds make sense. They cannot imagine living without such an important facet of their lives, and as a result of their introspection, they live fuller, deeper lives and offer wider service to others.

Increasingly, however, prayer has become a tradition that has some meaning, but as ritual, not as a vehicle that delivers true significance for those who worship. Despite what it may have meant to previous generations, prayer now holds only a symbolic place in our busy lives and the deeper kinship with community is lost in the vestments of antiquated traditions.

In Amen, Gretta Vosper, United Church minister and author of the controversial bestseller With or Without God, offers us her deeply felt examination of worship beyond conventional prayer, a new tradition built on love and respect rather than on the rituals of ancient beliefs.

Review & Commentary

11 thoughts on “Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief

  1. Review

    My good friend and colleague, Gretta Vosper, a United Church of Canada minister in Toronto has just published a book on prayer that I found to be a probing, disturbing, magnificent treatment of this complex subject. The Book is entitled Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief.

    • Thanks, Jack,

      This title reads as if if it were written directly to me. You may or may not recall that we have spoken together in our occasional meetings regarding these matters as when you accepted my personal unchristeneing (if there be such a concept) or membership in the “Church alumni. I will look for it in our library system.

      Did I ever mention to you my walk last summer to the lovely village of Arncliffe in North Yorkshire? I admit that I visited there at the Falcon Inn, rather that the cemetery, not aware of your association.

      Your admirable work in Newark and later came too late for me. I wanted much more from the Church and Christianity than they could ever give me.

      Robert (Once of St. Mary, Haledon)

  2. I have read Vosper’s “With Or Without God” and felt it was written more for clergy than the average PC in the pew. Is this new book the same or could I enjoy and learn as I do from Spong’s books and essays?

  3. TO: Gretta Vosper (the author)

    You need to get the book onto AMAZON.COM…

    …a need which you clearly understand, based on your other titles there.

    It’s simply not possible to effectively sell a book, anymore, unless it’s on Amazon. It’s just not.

    Those of us with accounts there, or credit through it, must have the book there so we can put it on a wish list, or put it into our carts (but delay purchase until we can better afford it). By not making your book available there, you are risking the likes of me forgetting about it here, and ending-up never purchasing it at all.

    That cannot possibly be what you had in mind when you wrote it.

    Getting it onto Amazon is a breeze. If you don’t know how to do it (because someone else handled it for you in the past or something), then please contact me. I can help you get it done in no time, at all. And I’d be honored to do it.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  4. I just purchased it on amazon.com, but note that it ships from Toronto, and amazon’s free shipping for orders over $25 applies to this book only when shipped within Canada.

  5. I am looking forward to this book as I have a great deal of trouble with prayer when I do not believe in a theistic God. Just as I have trouble with the minister, after reading the scripture, saying thank you for this reading of “God’s holy word” God did not write the Bible.

  6. Odd, neither here nor on Amazon is there any real description of this book and whatever her thesis is. Not a single hint (beyond “built on love and respect”) of what prayer can mean in a world beyond belief. I have no idea if it is worth reading or not an dyer fans’ “ra ra” ratings don’t add much.

    • Her first book – With or Without God – was wonderful, as is her second book – AMEN. But both are for people who no longer believe in a Supreme Being kind of God that created our world and us. That is an ancient fairytale, even if the current day Christian Churches still promote the idea. So when their is no God to pray to do you still pray, or to what do you pray, or what is prayer anyway. If one still believes in the old God of the Bible, her two books will be of no use.

      Most Christians cannot envision giving up the word God. But hasn’t the meaning and concept that the word now points to changed so drastically that the only reason to hold on to the word God is because people are still holding on to those old Creator God concepts? That is why the Christian religion has struggled with ways of expressing the new meaning and concepts about a god. From “Ground of Being” to “Universal Presence” or “Infinite Intelligence,” it is very hard to keep your new words for a god separate from the idea of a god of some kind somewhere. That is why I personally use the phrase Life Force of the Universe when I think of the self creating evolving world and universe in which we live. A Creator God has never existed, as we now know and understand, but the Life Force of the Universe has always existed and has caused everything we know, see and have to bloom into existence, and the Life Force of the Universe will continue to do this forever.

      The God of the Bible (Old and New Testament) is not dead. How could “He” be, because this invented God was never real, except in the minds of ancient people who were trying to explain their existence. But the God that is the Spirit of Life Itself everywhere present throughout the Universe, that connects all Life to all other Life, and that created and continues to create all that we know and have, that’s the real God. I rarely think about that old God, or even use the word God anymore, but I’ll talk to you for hours about the Life Force of the Universe, which for me explains what God really is.

  7. We live in the age of changing AUTHORITY, and I believe this is why our language has and is changing. We no longer have a central place (The Bible) where all authority comes from. Our understanding of God is also undergoing drastic change because science and evolution shows us a quite different world and God from what we find in the old authority of the Bible. Within Christianity and all other beliefs there are many new ideas about Life, Oneness and our connections to all that exists in the Universe from which Life emerged. Maybe we will never again have a single Authority as we once did. Maybe that is a good thing, but for sure only we humans have control over what happens in the future, good or bad.

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