Julia Rocchi (pronounced “rocky”) has given us a gift in her new book Amen? Questions for a God I Hope Exists. When I first read Julia’s manuscript, I felt calmer, more at peace. It wasn’t because I felt closer to a being I can’t necessarily say is there, but because her writing opens up space for questions, reflecting, wondering. And that’s the whole point we often miss, isn’t it?
I encourage you to read a little excerpt below from my video interview of Julia talking about her book. Does prayer work? God, do you exist? Can I ask that question? Julia asks those questions. Along the way, you’ll discover that Julia’s book gets you to open up space, ponder the questions, and reflect not just on the existence of God, but also on our biggest questions in life, like love, relationships, grief, justice, courage, creativity, and joy. The things that matter. Amen? is like a manual about life that isn’t a manual. Besides, outright instructions are overrated if you ask me.
Here’s Julia in her own words:
“I have always been a writer since I was five years old. Now as an adult, enter in the fact that I struggle with prayer. I struggle with sitting down in a more formal setting and allowing my mind to rest. It’s very hard for me to turn my brain off and just allow myself to be in the presence of God.
“Writing, however, is a way to do that. The brain activates a different center, and along the way my deepest thoughts, the things that I haven’t been able to articulate, suddenly do come out, and often I am gaining insight and wisdom as I’m writing. If I were saying it out loud, or if I were just sitting and thinking it to myself, it wouldn’t arrive. But with writing it does.
“So for me, while trying on all kinds of writing, be it an essay, poem, or a prayer, self-expression in search of discernment comes. As folks are reading it and mulling over the words, I hope it can lull them into that sacred space you describe. I’m so delighted that it did that for you, and I hope it can do that for others as well.
“I hope that as people are reading the book and reading these questions on the page and diving into these personal explorations of potential answers or responses, that they walk away feeling less alone in their own doubts or fears. That they know that at least one other person out there feels the same way. And my hope is that over time, as more people have the opportunity to read the book, that it becomes part of what is already a really big ongoing conversation among religious and spiritual circles, around inviting safe spaces and grappling with mystery in our faith lives. Because that’s what leads to a mature and examined faith.”
More in the video below.
David Morris, Publisher