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"Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith" book with Barbara Falconer Newhall photo

“The book arrives at a place of peace with the unknown, of finally bowing to the enduring mystery of the universe.” Kay Campbell, Huntsville Times

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read
the words of this fine author and observer.”
Read more.

Wrestling with God

Stories of Doubt and Faith

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

With a Foreword by Don Lattin

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A Journalist's Search for a Way to Believe

How do Americans find faith and live it? Journalist Barbara Falconer Newhall explores the journeys of many diverse believers, hearing their stories of encounters with the divine.

Among the storytellers of Wrestling with God are:

  • • An atheist who conducts an experiment on God
  • • A Buddhist who embarks upon a 650-mile bowing pilgrimage
  • • A Nobel Laureate physicist who shares his reasoning for belief in God
  • • A pop songwriter who founds Muslims for Progressive Values
  • • A Congregationalist minister who questions God's goodness
About Wrestling with God and Barbara Falconer Newhall

About Barbara Falconer Newhall

Veteran journalist Barbara Falconer Newhall has been a reporter and editor on Good Housekeeping magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times.

Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith (Patheos Press, Winter, 2015) is the story of the author's quest to find a way to believe in God in the twenty-first century. Newhall takes her search to the source she trusts most—her fellow human beings— interviewing and asking the big questions of dozens of believers of dramatically differing temperaments and religious traditions.

“With any luck, their answers would open up a window on the God who’d gone missing from my life —for me, for my skeptical friends and newspaper colleagues, as well as for believers everywhere struggling to hang onto their faith in a globalized, secularized, multi- cultural, twenty-first-century world that privileges the scientific method.”
Learn more about Barbara and read her latest Riffs on Life at

About Wrestling with God

The thoughtful first-person stories of Wrestling with God are a fascinating record of the ways in which human beings—including the author— seek to make sense of their lives, relinquish their egos, and grapple with tragedy.

Inspired by Newhall’s time as a religion reporter for the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay Area, the book reflects the diversity of the American religious landscape. In addition to the above stories, you will read about:

  • • Perspectives on Native American spirituality from a Californian whose mother was Northern Miwok
  • • A fundamentalist Christian who gives up his wild lifestyle
  • • A Mormon who witnesses to a nurse from his Philadelphia hospital bed
  • • A Shamanic Witch in the throes of grief

The book’s sixteen first-person narratives based on recorded interviews allow space for readers to draw conclusions about how each individual story might personally apply to them, and whether there are larger patterns to be found in this tapestry of true stories.

Buy Section for Wrestling with God by Barbara F. Newhall

Wrestling with God is available as a paperback wherever books are sold and as an ebook on Kindle and Nook. You can purchase it online from Amazon as well as on your favorite bookstore's website, which you can find by clicking on the IndieBound icon to the right.

Attention book groups: Wrestling with God was written with you in mind. Each of the people – from atheist to Zoroastrian – who tell their stories in this book has a distinctive experience of God. These thoughtful, very personal stories are sure to inspire lively discussions in your group. I look forward to being part of those conversations. Stay tuned.

Praise for "Wrestling with God"
The search for God, or the gods, the Divine, the Great Spirit, is one of the oldest of quests. As timeless as it is, the search still tends to defy explanation. What is left is description, narrative, and story, all of which are in abundance in Barbara Falconer Newhall's riverflow of a book, Wrestling with God.

Seekers of all persuasions will feel represented here, from priests, ministers, and rabbis to engineers, physicists, and avowed non-believers. Taken together, the storytellers of Wrestling with God give voice to the reality of the modern world, which is multiphonic, skeptical, but also longing for deep meaning.
Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and host of Global Spirit, seen nationally on PBS and Link TV
Wrestling with God is about revelation, with or without that thing we call “religion.” Unlike many skeptics who’ve plowed these fields, Barbara Falconer Newhall approaches the big questions with an open mind and a commitment to truly listen to what her sources are saying.

In the end, she finds God—not with thunderbolts or burning bushes—
but through the heartfelt stories of people possessing a wondrous array of spiritual temperament.
Don Lattin, journalist and author of Distilled Spirits and The Harvard Psychedelic Club
In Wrestling with God, Barbara Falconer Newhall, a longtime religion reporter, combines the best of gracefully practiced and written journalism with the best of a personal spiritual quest. With a persistent seeker’s humbleness, she asks good questions of thoughtful people from an astonishing range of backgrounds...

The book arrives at a place of peace with the unknown, of finally bowing to the enduring mystery of the universe and to the persistence of human questions about the universe.
Kay Campbell, the Huntsville Times
In a score of in-depth interviews with people from all walks of life—right and left, atheist and Christian, young and old—journalist Barbara Falconer Newhall incisively shows where these individuals find ultimate meaning. Some have had dramatic encounters with God while others discover the transcendent in personal relationships or the beauty of the earth. All, however, give thoughtful voice to the deepest questions of human life.
Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and The Twible