Questions for a God I Hope Exists
To people exhausted by hard lines and polar positions, Julia Rocchi’s book is a grace-filled invitation into radical rest.
—Karen Wright Marsh, Vintage Saints and Sinners: 25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith
All her life, Julia Rocchi has searched for the stillness, focus, and community she felt would connect her with something real, powerful, and greater than herself—something like God. But traditional religion, often consumed by its certainties, sometimes fails at helping us find what we deeply desire. Could it be that faith is instead a conversation we carry on in questions?
From a place of questioning faith comes Amen?, a collection of personal prayers and essays for practicing penitents and devoted doubters. With fresh imagery and prose to help you pause, this book encourages our hesitant hopes and welcomes us to admit doubt, invite joy, and grapple with mystery. From Julia’s story about learning her brother was an atheist to her prayer about envisioning the love of her life, and from her reflection on trying (and failing) to be a social justice warrior to her experience waking up laughing, you’ll enter into a space of discovery and transformation. Journey along as Julia asks, “Do I gotta have faith?” “How do I define the relationship?” and “You want me to do what?” and see what happens when we stop, listen, and set a table for the questions.
Amen? is an engaging, empathetic rumination of the nature of belief—and its reverberations in the everyday—that offers readers comfort, challenge, and release on their quests to encounter God.
Praise for Amen?
Julia Rocchi’s debut Amen? is an honest and hopeful exploration of faith in the modern world, full of deep questions, heartfelt prayers, and sparkling wit for believers and non-believers alike. Faith is an intensely personal journey, and in Amen?, Julia reminds us that no matter where our own paths take us, we will never walk alone.
Jennie Adams, author and librarian
Julia Rocchi’s Amen? is the kind of book that you keep on your nightstand because when you crack it open, you land on the exact prayer, poem, or essay that you need to read in that moment. This gem of a collection both recognizes the harsh realities of our times and inspires hope and action. Brimming with grace, vulnerability, and wonder, Rocchi’s offerings are a must-read for people of all faiths who wish to establish or strengthen their spiritual connection.
Michelle Brafman, author of Washing the Dead
Julia Rocchi has written a psalter for the post-modern, exhausted age. She reminds us with her essays, poetry, and prayers that humanity has always brought to God our mixed emotions: our joy, our pain, our uncertainty, our anxiety. These prayers name the truth that at times, the institutional church has been slow to name: that the truest prayers are those born of the truest emotion, and that certainly the God who loves us holds these in equally loving hands.
The Rev. Megan L. Castellan, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ithaca, New York
Amen? is an absolute marvel of a book. Julia Rocchi writes with such grace and tenderness, and she is unafraid to ask hard questions, nor to think big. These pages are beating with heart and bursting with imagination.
Audrey Clare Farley, author of The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt
Julia Rocchi writes skillfully in two tempos in this delightful volume. In each chapter, she guides fellow seekers through modern questions of faith, using relaxed and often humorous prose. Then she downshifts to a prayerful pace, serving up rich spiritual morsels that are best consumed via slow, mindful attention. The result is Rocchi’s great gift to readers: a God who is eminently approachable, yet able and eager to respond to our deepest desires.
Gary Gardner, author of The Earth Cries Out: How Faith Communities Meet the Challenges of Sustainability
To people exhausted by hard lines and polar positions, Julia Rocchi’s book is a grace-filled invitation into radical rest. What a relief to meet God and to encounter one another as we are: curious, questioning, fragile, and hopeful.
Karen Wright Marsh, author of Vintage Saints and Sinners: 25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith
Amen? is a poetic, funny, and thought-provoking work for the religious, the spiritual, the non-believers, and everyone in between. Rocchi’s beautiful writing and warm humor will make you want to read this book again and again.
Barbara Boehm Miller, Author of When You See Her
In the meditative, short, personal essays and in the prayer-poems of Julia Rocchi, things unseen and things hoped for cease to be abstract concepts and evolve into what we can grasp through the senses. Grounding her work in the world of concrete imagery that we readers can realize through our minds’ eyes and ears, Rocchi gives us new insights into how we can use spiritual doubt, questioning, and renewal to jumpstart our own creative endeavors.
Ed Perlman, poet, essayist, reviewer
A thought-provoking, humorful, and human body of work. For the spiritual, the religious, and those among us who aren’t really sure, Amen? speaks about modern day life—about dating and love, about our culture, environment, and work, about our families—bringing the spiritual back down to earth. Rocchi’s strength lies in the way she connects the reader to his or her inner self, with witty intelligence and a piercing, human insightfulness. Readers will come away feeling connected, inspired, and spiritually awakened.
Jennifer Ryan, bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir
Amen? is the spiritual journey story I didn’t know I needed. With humor, curiosity, and grace, Julia Rocchi reveals the truth about her faith, doubt and all. This book was a breath of fresh air!”
Melissa Scholes Young, author of The Hive and Flood
Julia Rocchi writes prose, poetry, prayers, and a lot of thank-you notes. With an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University, she has garnered multiple story publications and honors, including First Place in the Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction Contest. Julia also works in nonprofit marketing, facilitates gatherings, and performs improv comedy. As an ENFJ, Enneagram 2, and Cancer sign, she’s never met a personality indicator she disagreed with. Julia lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her family. Visit juliarocchi.com to follow her blog or follow her on social media.
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