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First-person stories light up Barbara Newhall’s ‘Wrestling with God’

By Rebecca Rosen Lum

More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of interviews after her idea took root, “Wrestling with God,” Barbara Falconer Newhall’s book about faith and doubt, has landed in bookstores and is garnering praise.

The book “takes readers on a wild and wonderful ride,” says Publishers Weekly in a starred review. “Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer.”

In “Wrestling with God,” 16 people of divergent beliefs describe their spiritual journeys: A Catholic nun, a Buddhist monk, a Nobel laureate in physics who says “God has been very dependable in my life.” A Jewish Holocaust survivor. A former prisoner of war.

A Muslim woman founds a progressive mosque for women. The daughter of a mixed marriage plunges into the faith of her Miwok mother.  A man who, as a child, renounced religious faith when he demanded God show him immediate proof of His existence and received none. A Wiccan woman finds solace in her grief in the very inexplicability of the universe. A man practices his atheism with devotion.

Newhall, a veteran of the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times,  blogs for the Huffington Post and posts weekly essays at her website, www.wrestlingwithgodbook.com.

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Unitarians try something new: recruiting

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Radio personality Garrison Keillor has long joked on his “Prairie Home Companion” that Unitarian missionaries founded Lake Wobegon after a failed attempt to convert American Indians through interpretive dance.

Now, Unitarians are seeking converts for real and hoping radio spots on Keillor’s iconoclastic Prairie Home Companion will draw the same earthy, progressive, crowd the show does.

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