"They're all so scattered, and there's no place for them to come together." I keep hearing that about people who've tried to find their way after losing faith or wanting to keep faith without religion as we know it today. And it's true, it's so easy to feel like you're alone in a wilderness. Where do you find good info, and good community? How do you feed your mind and spirit and sense of connectedness?
Take heart, you are on a very, very common journey in our time, though it's also very common to think you're alone. The fact is, there are more misfits than ever, just like you, who are struggling with belief. Our world is more socially and culturally turbulent and segmented than ever. The good news is that there are so many good books to read, podcasts to listen to, online articles to discover, and frankly just enjoy. There's also more friends out there than you'd think. You're just not yet connecting with it all, or could be connecting better.
The below is a small way, through my own curation of resources, to help you get informed and connected, at least online. I guarantee that if you keep at it, you're going to expand your horizons and develop a robust sense of what's spiritual and sacred for your actual life today.
Of course I'm starting with books, I work in publishing. No medium like a well-written, richly conceived book can lead your head and heart to new places in a lasting way. I'm including a variety of books that inspire and can deeply inform. Keep reading, then do some more, and more after that. And I mean it, as it's worked for me, too. Reading is by far one of the best ways to re-form your faith and restart your appreciation for the sacred. All that reading adds up in your head and heart in ways that aren't immediately apparent. Underline, take notes in a journal, read with friends, or just soak it up as you please. You'll soon find yourself better equipped, better connected, and ready to take whatever forward steps you need and want to take.
These ten amazing books, in no particular order, tell stories of struggling with faith and religion. You'll surely find some good companions here. I've got a list here of my five favorite memoirs that are pretty hard hitting, so this is just more great and helpful reading and some of it more recent, and by authors you might enjoy following:
General Nonfiction for Seekers
For a really extensive list of general nonfiction books, I love this list for the spiritually lost millennial Christian from Listopia on Goodreads.
Power Packed Deeper Dives into the Context
That's the only way I know how to describe the below grouping of books that help you understand that there are so many forces at work on your individual faith of which you may be unaware. In other words, the contents of your faith can be more psychologically, socially, and historically determined than you might realize. These books are denser reads, but what they can do is help you get past the trite ways of understanding faith, help you see the specifics and stop arguing about the same things over and over. These books are representatives of different fields and topics, come from my own research, and by no means exhaustive.
Psychology of Religion
Except for the first, these suggestions come from a psychoanalytic approach to religion, which is interpretive, not mechanistic.
Psychoanalysis and Religious Experience, W. W. Meissner S.J. M.D.
The Birth of the Living God: A Psychoanalytic Study, New edition, Ana-Maria Rizzuto
Sociology of Religion
After Heaven: Spirituality in American Since the 1950s, Robert Wuthnow
History of Religion in America
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, by Frances FitzGerald
Religion in American Life: A Short History, by Jon Butler , Grant Wacker , and Randall Balmer
After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity, David P. Gushee
Podcasts Targeting a Shift in American Evangelicalism