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Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning Paperback – December 26, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Finding Your Religion is a guidebook for the perplexed--those who have lost faith in the religion of their youth and are not sure how to continue their spiritual lives. The book's author, the Rev. Scotty McLennan, has plenty of experience with the perplexed; he is a Unitarian minister and the chaplain at Tufts University. (He has also inspired and entertained millions of people indirectly, as the model for the freewheeling character Reverend Scott Sloan in Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury.) McLennan has structured Finding Your Religion on a model of six stages of faith--Magic, Reality, Dependence, Interdependence, and Unity. The book describes each of these stages in detail, drawing on McLennan's experience with students' spiritual searches and on his own search (which led him, among other places, to Harvard Law School and to ashrams in the Far East). McLennan's prose is clear and direct; he is very open to exploration, and very tough on laziness. "Pick a religious path and start walking," he writes. "Even if it turns out not to be the right way later on, you won't get anywhere spiritually without starting." --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

McLennan, the Tufts University Chaplain who inspired Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau's character Reverend Scotty Sloan, shares six steps of a spiritual journey. McLennan targets those who have left the tradition in which they were raised, or those who grew up without any religious background and are now open to a spiritual dimension in their lives. McLennan points out that most people don't get through all the steps and that, often, the steps can intertwine. He sees all religious journeys, be they Bah '!, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian or others, as starting with a beckoning of the "spiritual mountain." Readers take the first step by thinking about faith, by opening themselves to the possibilities. The next step is to choose a certain path (religious leanings) and start walking up the mountain. Readers are then encouraged to join fellow travelers of the same bent and, as they grow in that direction, to encompass journeys from other traditions to enrich their own direction. Prayer and meditation, the next step, help mature the inner being. Finally, McLennan speaks of suffering and rejoicing as two important components in any religion and personal spirituality. This is an entertaining, gentle and affirming book for anyone contemplating such a journey. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (December 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060653469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060653460
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author
The Reverend William L. McLennan, Jr. -- better known as "Scotty McLennan" -- was born on November 21, 1948. He is an ordained minister, lawyer, and author. Since January 1, 2001, McLennan has been the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University in California, where he oversees religious affairs on campus, is the minister of the Stanford Memorial Church and teaches undergraduate and Graduate School of Business courses.

Originally from Lake Forest, Illinois, McLennan attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. He received his B.A. degree (Magna Cum Laude & Phi Beta Kappa) from Yale University in 1970 as "Scholar of the House," an honorary program for about a dozen Yale seniors. His final thesis was a monograph entitled "Computers and Infinity."

He earned both Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees from Harvard's Divinity and Law Schools in 1975. He was ordained in 1975 as a Unitarian Universalist Christian minister, and admitted that year to the Massachusetts bar. After practicing church-sponsored poverty law in a low-income neighborhood of Boston for a decade and founding the Unitarian Universalist Legal Ministry, he was appointed University Chaplain at Tufts University in Medford, Massachuestts, where he served from 1984 to 2000. He also served as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School between 1988 and 2000.

In 1994, he was the recipient of The Rabbi Martin Katzenstein Award, the oldest annual award given to Harvard Divinity School Alumni/ae "to honor among its graduates one who exhibits a passionate and helpful interest in the lives of other people." McLennan also was honored with the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award in 2004. The award was "established to recognize leaders who promote peace and world reconciliation" by Morehouse College.

McLennan is the author of "Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All" (2009), "Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning" (1999) and co-author with Laura Nash of "Church on Sunday, Work on Monday: The Challenge of Fusing Christian Values with Business Life" (2001).

Scotty McLennan is married to Ellen S. McLennan. They wed in 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts and are the parents of two sons, Will McLennan (b. 1982) and Dan McLennan (b. 1984), both of whom are alumni of Stanford University.

McLennan's grandfather, Donald R. McLennan, co-founded the insurance brokerage, Marsh & McLennan, in 1905 in Chicago. Today, Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC) is a US-based global professional services and insurance brokerage firm.

McLennan is part of the inspiration for the cartoon character Reverend Scot Sloan in Garry Trudeau's Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon strip "Doonesbury". The character is also based on the late William Sloane Coffin, McLennan's mentor and former Chaplain at Yale University, where McLennan and Trudeau were undergraduate roommates.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dave Kinnear on January 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I had the honor of meeting Scotty (as he prefers to be called) at one of his now famous Chaplain's Table meetings. I was there at the invitation of my daughter to participate in a discussion on relationships. In particular, our father daughter relationship was to be the topic. So I did get to spend a few minutes with Scotty and watch his interaction with the students and faculty members at the table. He is as compassionate, sincere, and full of fun as his book leads us to believe he is. Finding Your Religion is an invaluable resource and a must read for those folks wanting to put more life into his or her spiritual practice as well as for those wanting to branch out and search for a new spiritual path. This well written, easy to read manual on why it's okay to question our childhood religion does not let us off the accountability hook. We are still challenged to live our chosen religion, whatever it may be. There are no simple platitudes or easy ways out for us. Scotty reminds us over and over to live our religion everyday and to be the best we can be, whether that is Jewish, Christian, Bahai, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, or Unitarian Universalist. By relating his own story as well as real stories about real people that he has met in his travels, Scotty brings the struggles along our spiritual paths to life. We know we aren't alone in our searching, and we come to understand that it's the journey that counts. We also learn that there are many different spiritual paths we can take, but they all have the same goal - a fuller, richer life for the practitioner. The respect Scotty demonstrates for each individual and each religious path is an attribute all too rare in our world today. There is more than toleration shown here.Read more ›
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By biz_buzz on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
"GSI - IBI - TSI": God Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It! The message is crystal clear: when it comes to God and religion, it's my way or the highway. But here's my favorite bumper sticker; it's even more over the top: GOD LOVES YOU WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Nice, huh? 'My way is the ONLY way: deal with it!'
It's no wonder that so many people are disenfranchised from religion in any and all forms. Enter Scotty McLennan, whose book of encouragement for the reader to "find your religion" is even more relevant now than when it was written. He basically pulls out of the ground the "KEEP OUT" sign the GSI-IBI-TSI crowd has put in front of the "spiritual mountain" that McLennan encourages the reader to climb.
McLennan treats each of the major world religions equally, and as other reviews note he gives each their due. It is precisely this tone of respect -- no, not a wishy-washy "I'm OK, You're OK" perspective, but rather (gasp!) with an open mind -- which draws in the reader. He also makes it clear that learning about other faiths can strengthen one's existing faith - a blasphemous statement in the minds of the GSI-IBI-TSI crowd, but surely a welcome one for those who have either found the religion they were brought up with to have lost its meaning, as well as those turned off by such closed-mindedness, who have never set foot in a place of worship before.
It is important to note that McLennan does not coddle non-believers, but rather acknowledges those who at their point or "stage" in their religious walk consider themselves agnostic or atheistic.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Katie on March 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WOW - I found this to be a very thought-provoking, insightful, interesting read! The author writes in a wonderful, non-judgmental way, and because of this I was drawn into it from the start.

I actually purchased this book to help out a friend who is looking for "the right religion for her" - since she doesn't care for reading right now, I thought I'd share snippets from the book with her to see if it would help to point her in the right direction. Yet I found myself getting more "food for thought" than I had ever imagined - and for that I am grateful!

"Finding Your Religion" is about just that - finding the religion that resonates with your soul - the one that stimulates you, and helps you to grow.

Mr. McLennan helps one to see that they don't have to stay in the same religion for their entire life, and that as you grow and your perceptions change, your religious needs may need to change as well. This thought reminded me of the Gnostic Christian perspective that as we grow, and our perceptions change, our spiritual/religious beliefs will change as well. I feel that this idea also helps to remind us not to judge - we are all where we need to be based on our current thoughts/beliefs/perceptions...

I liked how the author uses the metaphor of a spiritual mountain. We are all climbing up that mountain, learning and growing along the way. At times during your climb you'll find a cross-road, and it's at these times where you need to decide if you want to try a different route (religious tradition), or if you'd like to stay on the route you're currently on - it's always your choice.
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