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Julia Cameron's Prayers from a Nonbeliever - a review

Book Cover
Book Cover
Penguin Group, March 2003

Julia Cameron's Prayers from a Nonbeliever


Prayers from a Nonbeliever is a great book for believers and nonbelievers alike. It’s not the normal foggy cliché type of Christian book we’re presented with today. There are no thees or thous in this book; instead rather candid letters written by the main character addressed to God. Through these letters, Julia Cameron’s audience is invited to join a long walk of faith.

I like the book because it’s a quick read at a mere 128 pages and you actually get to see the character’s faith walked out through something as simple as a letter. The title is ironic because the character assumes himself to be a “nonbeliever” but in the language used and as the story progresses, the reader gets an inside glimpse at him and what you see is faith developing that the character can’t see in himself.

Publisher’s Weekly said this of the book:

In this earnest and somewhat repetitive volume, Cameron-novelist, filmmaker, journalist, librettist, playwright, etc., and the author of the international bestseller The Artist's Way-ruminates on the identity of God, the power of creative energy and the meaning and consequences of faith. Framed as a series of letters to God from an anonymous "nonbeliever," a man of some means and much doubt, Cameron's book follows the "I" of the letter-prayers as he progresses from a kind of lazy agnosticism ("I don't officially believe in you") through a "a creeping sense of, alright, optimism" all the way to authentic belief ("I have put out the lit cigarette of cynicism smoldering on the sofa of my consciousness"). In his "conversations" with God, the narrator struggles with a job he detests, a sister whose passivity in an unhealthy relationship angers him, a longing for creative work and, perhaps most poignantly, an abiding loneliness. Readers of The Artist's Way and its many offshoots will find some of the material familiar-e.g., Cameron's attention to the Jungian concept of synchronicity and her belief in Matthew's "Ask and you shall receive" dictum. And though the letters repeat themselves and sometime feel a little whiny (hey, faith isn't easy, Cameron seems to say), Cameron's legions of fans will appreciate her honesty and her generosity of spirit. For those who seek company on the path to belief in self and "spiritual electricity," Cameron is a warm and expert guide.

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