'Life of Meaning' Explores Faith of Jimmy Carter, Dalai Lama, Others

A new book to be released on Apr. 28 will reveal how some of the world's most influential people find meaning in their life, talk about faith, and deal with doubt within their religious lives.

The Life of Meaning – put together and edited by religion writer William Bole and Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly founder/host Bob Abernethy – will give an intimate look at the lives of 59 different contributors who share how they have experienced God and reconciled faith and doubt.

Among the long list of inspired people in the collection are Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Robert Franklin, Francis Collins, Martin Marty, and Desmond Tutu, to name a few.

"This rich, meaningful book is, literally, an answer to your prayers or, if you prefer, a fascinating journey through the labyrinth of questions we all have about life, faith, God, choices and doubts," described acclaimed journalist Tom Brokaw in his Foreword to the book. "Bob Abernethy and William Bole have done us all a great favor with this collection."

The book gets its details from extensive interviews that have been aired over the PBS program with each of the contributors. Some of those featured in the book have even made more than one appearance on the show.

The Life of Meaning has a variety of themes that the speakers touch on, some including prayer, why there is suffering, how to deal with evil, the fact that there is more than one religion, and the existence of an afterlife.

The book also attempts to show how faith can make positive change within this imperfect world and bring repair.

"A noted theologian (Paul Tillich) has said that religion is a search for the truth about our relationship with God and our fellow human beings," reviewed former President Jimmy Carter. "This book will help us in that search."

Although not all of the people included within the book consider themselves "religious," the vast majority of the insights come from individuals who have been on a very devout path of faith for extended periods. Presenters range from the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, who reveals that "grace is everywhere," to Rabbi Irving Greenberg, who is in search of a belief system than can withstand today's violent world.

"Many of us have been commenting much about a spiritual hunger at work beyond the walls of organized religion," reviewed Richard J. Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary. "In assembling these probing reflections on life and meaning Bob Abernethy and William Bole have prepared a marvelous feast for the hungry."

The book is published by Seven Stories Press.