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My Faith: How storytelling saved my life
The author in his college days, as seen in his student ID card from Yale.
August 7th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How storytelling saved my life

Editor's Note: Edward Grinnan is editor-in-chief of Guideposts magazine and author of "The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours."

By Edward Grinnan, Special to CNN

One spring day 25 years ago, I found myself perched on the 21st floor windowsill of a Denmark hotel room, holding what I thought would be my last alcoholic drink. I planned to give it up in a big way.

For all these years, I never told that story publicly, despite being the editor-in-chief of Guideposts, an interfaith magazine in which ordinary people tell their own stories of hope. My job is to persuade and help people tell those stories.

I’ve long known that such stories are our best medium for forging connections with our fellow human beings. They help span the breach of solipsism to unify the human experience.

We’ve been telling our stories since we could carve on cave walls, and probably longer. Stories are the roadmaps of our lives, and we're hard-wired for telling them.

Two generations before the internet and social networking, the minister and grandfather of the self-help movement, Norman Vincent Peale, founded Guideposts as a place for what would eventually come to be known as user-generated content.

Its origins were humble; the first issue of Guideposts was a 16-page booklet that featured World War I hero Eddie Rickenbacker on the cover.

Peale saw that by sharing our stories, we not only change ourselves, we change others. The act of telling our stories is transformative.

When I crawled into the Guideposts office in midtown Manhattan 23 years ago looking for a job, any job, I had no idea how being exposed to the power and beauty of true personal stories would change my life.

I was virtually homeless at the time and still recovering from the alcoholic seizures I'd suffered just a few weeks before.

I have no idea why I was even given a job, albeit an editorially menial one. I certainly wouldn’t have hired me.

Several years removed from getting a master’s degree in playwriting from Yale, I had been in and out of detoxes and rehabs, ERs, sobering-up stations and flophouses. I’d occasionally lived on the streets, smoked butts I’d found in the gutters and begged for change in the Hoboken, New Jersey, train station and in the shadows of the twin towers.

I’d hit bottom and now I was trying – again – to claw my way back. Little did I know that the path was right before me, aptly named Guideposts. Still, at the start I never intended to spend more than a year working for this odd little magazine.

Eventually, that changed. And so did I.

Yet two years ago, when I decided to write a book about a career spent helping people tell their stories, I had absolutely no intention of sharing my own. I’d never told it to my readers, or even my employers.

Yes, shame was a factor. Who wants to admit he’d sunk so low as to beg for change and sleep on benches? But it was also the nihilism of my 20s that I wanted to keep buried, that part of my life that felt more like an archeological dig than a personal story. Who was that person?

And I knew enough to understand that writing autobiographically can be like performing surgery on yourself without anesthesia.

No, I wanted my book to explain the basic steps for making personal changes that I’d picked up from the people who told their stories in Guideposts. People like Bill Irwin, who thru-hiked the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail blind with only the assistance of his service dog, Orient.

Or the professional ballplayer who had to reconcile his shock at being traded like some commodity from the only major league team he had ever played for.

Or the woman who learned to forgive her cruel, abusive father when she was forced to care for him in her home as his life was drained by Alzheimer’s.

These were people whose stories moved and inspired me and made me look at my own life with not just a sense of hope and, eventually, to look at it through a spiritual lens.

I wanted the book to be just about them. But before I signed my book contract, my wife intervened.

“You’re going to tell you own story aren’t you, Edward?” she asked as we reviewed the contract. Sensing my reluctance, she made her case.

“You get people to bare their souls and share their stories with millions of others,” she said. “Your story will help people, too. Isn’t it time for a bit of your own medicine?” She held the pen out. “Look, Edward, I married you because of your story.”

So I made the difficult decision to include my own story in the book.

It wasn’t easy. I felt a little like the Wizard of Oz must have when the curtain was torn away. Honesty can be painful. I have greater respect than ever for the people who find the courage to help others by telling their stories in Guideposts.

And my wife was right - my story has helped others.

But mostly it has gotten me to finally look at the narrative roadmap of my life. I discovered that it is in telling our own stories that we truly find ourselves.

And it was in writing my story that I finally recognized a deeper and more ineffable plan.

When I see my life as a story, with all the richness and depth of art, the beauty and serendipity and redemption, the synchronicity of forces beyond my knowing, I understand finally that I am not necessarily the author.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward Grinnan.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Inspiration

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soundoff (602 Responses)
  1. Neal Horsley

    It's indicative of the Guidepost touchy-feely strategy of truth that the name of Jesus is never mentioned in this story. No one values hope more than me, but hope that grows out of the illusion of human self-help rather than the miraculous help of God in Jesus Christ is not only vain hope but a recipe for eternal hopelessness.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • John Richardson

      When I quit drinking and smoking, it wasn't because of some 2000 year dead guy or his mythical father. It was me plus some family and friends with a BIG boost from modern medicine.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Darwin

      So unless you believe in a magical carpenter and itinerant preacher from 2000 years ago you will lead nothing but a hopeless meaningless life filled with nothingness and despair. RIGHT! Of COURSE! You are so-ooooo TYPICAL of arrogant Christians!

      August 7, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Don Woods

      Then tell me this Neal: I have been sober now 8 years thanks to "Alcoholics Anonymous". There are millions that are sobering up in AA without the Christian Faith/ Bible/ Jesus, etc. and are living happy, productive, lives. There are more people finding help outside the church then within...Why is that Neal? Norman Vincent Peales power of positive thinking has done so much.

      The Bibke says: "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."
      (Matthew 18:19)

      That means when your Spirit and Body agree upon the same thing it shall be done. If your conscious mind says you can do it and your sub-conscious mind says no you can't, you can pray all you want nadda will happen. Thats what Jesus meant and thats what Norman Vincent Peale was trying to pass along. Why do you think there are so many non-christian successful people. Athletes, CEO's, Business people is because they believe in themselves. The two of them agree (conscious & sub-conscious minds). While others are shakers and makers, I know many christians are waiting around for God to tell them what to do....!

      August 7, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Neal Horsley

      John and Darwin, like all the people who reject the Lord Jesus Christ you put your hope in the appearance of today rather than the hopelessness that awaits you when you face death and the grave.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      What in the world is so hopeless about death? It's the natural completion of life. I'm sorry you fear the fact that someday you won't exist, but life can still be a wonderful experience. You can still learn and teach. You can still love and be loved. You can create and you can still help others. You can still experience great joy (and great sorrow, but that's all part of being alive.) You don't need a god or eternity to have a satisfying existence. The only thing stopping you is you.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Neal Those who get co-cky about what fate awaits whom beyond the grave are setting themselves up for a BIG letdown. Meanwhile, let facts be facts: Many people who have never had problems with alcohol or drugs aren't Christian and many who once did but don't any longer aren't Christian. And many Christians never do beat "demon rum" or whatever their drug of choice is. Your god is neither necessary nor sufficient for attaining anything of real value.

      August 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Neal: Your position is the intransigent and dangerous one I mentioned in an earlier post. You have no evidence of what you say. And worse than that you have no right to declare another person's hope invalid. You're playing a judgemental cruel game to tell another person that their life and the meaning they find in it is worthless.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  2. Patrick H

    'What ever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with our selves, our resentments or our self pity? Selfishness-self-centeredness! That we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion,self-seeking and self pity we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. - So our troubles we think are of our own making. They arise out of ourselves and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot,although he does not think so. Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must or it kills us." Quote from page 62 Alcoholic Anonymous

    AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AN ALCOHOLIC TO HAVE THIS PROBLEM. I WILL MAKE YOU MISERABLE AND POSSIBLY KILL YOU ANYWAY

    August 7, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Qwerty Elemeno

      Oh dear, another alky zealot quoting the AA book as if it is gospel. I had to read that thing as part of a course in aberrant psychology at grad school. What a tangled bunch of bullsh-it that book is! The author was a pathological liar. No wonder AA has such disastrously bad success rates. I am glad there are better approaches coming along. IT's a shame that it is perceived by way too many as the only way to control addicitions.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Alcoholic Morons For JESUS ! ! ! !

      Patrick, when you say "I WILL MAKE YOU MISERABLE AND POSSIBLY KILL YOU ANYWAY," do you intend to kill us all? Is that limited to people on the Belief Blog, or do you intend to kill everyone in the world? Did your alcoholism drive you to this homicidal frenzy?

      August 7, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Nothing But Smiles

      Qwerty.....What most don't like about "The Big Book" is it outlines a plan for self improvement that involves humility, personal honesty and making amends. A lot of people are incapable of doing that, therefore, they condemn it. For what it's worth, I feel it saved my life. Peace. 🙂

      August 7, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Paul P

      I haven't had a drink for 15 years and haven't craved one for 14 years. I don't believe in god and had a problem with "the God thing" when I first came into the rooms. A wise old guy told me to forget about it and just listen to the "rest of it". Talk to people and believe that if they could do it then I could do it. Listening to others and always having an ear to listen to me. That's what got me sober and to a large extent that's what helps keep me sober.

      About 1 in 10 who comes into the rooms of AA eventually gets sober, but since about 1935 that amounts to millions worldwide. It’s far from perfect but the best track record out there. There's a saying in AA "Take what you need, and leave the rest." It worked for me and I'm now reasonable happy and SOBER.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Qwerty Elemeno

      What a perfect example of my point. You just said that anyone who condemns your pseudo-bible must be incapable of personal honesty, humility, and making amends. That is exactly the kind of dishonest manipulative bullsh-it that runs through the book. You claim to be honest, yet make your points dishonestly. Hmmmmmmmm . . .

      The author was anything but honest in what he wrote in the book. I think he pretended to be the wife of an alcoholic in one of the chapters, and he definitely lied about his past. He was the opposite of humble – he had delusions of religious grandeur. And he never ever made amends to his wife for any of the cheating he did throughout his life, nor for his financial misbehavior as the head of AA. Your great leader was a hypocrite in the extreme.

      Now let's consider your total lack of humility in saying how humble and honest you are. You are clearly dripping with the smug superiority that one too often finds in AA zealots.

      AA's success rate is significantly lower than the rate of self-remission. That means it actually impedes recovery. There are much better ways, ones that don't turn the former addict into zealot zombies.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Qwerty Elemeno

      Paul, only 5% will be sober a year after starting AA, and only 2% will reach 5 years. It's under 1% for 20 years.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Nothing But Smiles

      Qwerty.....you mistake your opinion for fact, a sure sign of a feeble mind. I suspect the only reason you're here is to kick the ones that are down. You might want try a little soul searching yourself. Peace. 🙂

      August 7, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • John Richardson

      Religion always tries to prey on people at their weakest and most vulnerable moment. Hence, AA. I attended some meetings when I myself was going off alcohol and I could see how religion was being used to encourage a sense of helplessness and to keep people feeling weak. I ran for the door and have never looked back.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Robert Jamieson

      Same here, John. My family forced me to go a few times, but it was unbearable. Lots of religion being forced on you by people who claim AA is not religious – nice rigorous honesty. I knew right away that it was not going to help, and when I looked around and saw how the people who had gotten sober there acted, that was it. I did not want to become a cult guru like they are. And for a bunch of people who made messes of their lives, they sure are fond of telling eveyone what to do.

      Almost nothing they say or do has anything to do with getting and remaining sober. Approaches like SMART and RR actually do that, and you are not trapped into a lifetime of admitting you are powerless. What a stupid concept powerlessness is; try that when you have a flat tire, admit you are powerless and pray. Stupid.

      No wonder that people trying to recover in AA have much higher suicide rates than any other approach.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Know What

      Paul P:

      My brother has 35+ years of sobriety using your philosophy. Good for you!

      August 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Congratulations on becoming sober, no matter how you got there.

      August 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  3. Qwerty Elemeno

    Wow. The author is a member of the Trainwrecks For Jesus club. You might think that religion is a crutch for the feeble-minded blow-its of this world who totally screw up their own lifes then tell you how to live yours.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Don Woods

      Qwerty Elemeno: Keep an open mind buddy. And you are so so wrong that AA has done more damge then good. If you are going to voice your opinion then you have the right to do so and I am more then happy to read them because maybe we can learn from eachother. However please stick to the facts. "AA" has helped more suffering Alcoholics then medicine, psychology or religion ever has done. The statistics are overwhelming. And many splinter groups such as NA, OEA, ACoA, etc, etc, are out there helping.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Robert Jamieson

      I'm afraid that is totally untrue, Don. A Cochrane Review of studies showed that "no experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA" in treating alcoholism. The rate of recovery in AA is below the rate of spontaneous remission, especially over the long term.

      Far more people quit on their own than through AA, and even AA's statistics prove it.

      Basically, you finally chose to quit while youwere in AA. Had you done that while attending a group the promoted juggling as the cure – don't drink, and juggle away the urge – you would be telling us about the wonders of juggling as a cure. It's the fallacy of false attribution.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  4. rr

    I use to read and get Guideposts in the past. They are not that bad. Anybody who has had a hard time in their life can point to when God helped them through it. If people are going to be this easily offended by one mans story of hope in dark times then I feel sorry for them. Amistavia you are nothing more than a troll. I believe in Jesus as my savior and God has the supreme being that controls everything. It's sad that the only thing you have to do on a Sunday is be a troll and put down people who believe in God.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  5. Patrick H

    'What ever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with our selves, our resentments or our self pity? Selfishness-self-centeredness! That we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion,self-seeking and self pity we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. -- So our troubles we think are of our own making. They arise out of ourselves and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot,although he does not think so. Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must or it kills us." Quote from page 62 Alcoholic Anonymous

    August 7, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  6. rh

    Sounds to me that this story is an indication that Guideposts is a load of hooey, and it doesn't help anyone. He had to change himself, and all the "inspirational stories" were meaningless to him.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • gdouglaso

      Read an issue...you might be surprised.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  7. The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

    Edward Grinnan, Special to CNN who wrote this Blog, has given me hope whenever I try to emulate with my words of audaciousness needed for me to tell to others not only my past, but my daily endeavors in proclaiming the King of all Gods and even Goddesses truly being the Guiding Redeemer of Justice and Righteousness to everyones' Outside-The-Box Motives. Of GOD, By the Gods, is why manhood and womanhood are "as" gods and in our seeking affairs do we mostly fail in the "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" directive the Christ Jesus did say for us to "firstly do". Scientists who study within the 2 variants of Space, One being Outer and the other being Inner are slowed to rationalize with right-minded fidelity, that Inner Space and Outer Space are but the sameness yet their Sizes of these Spaces are seen only by the material that one sees. Super Huge Nebulas and Super Small Nebulas plus a Super Super Small dimension of Nebulisms are the 3 or Triune anomalies the Sciences have yet been failing to fully understand. Space itself is the Constant that bonds all matter together and holds all Life Formations from falling in upon otherly spaces. Without Spaces there would be material' chaos! Without Spaces there would be material' chaos within both Outer Space and Inner Spaces!

    I am sorry CNN for getting off subject.

    "Stories" do play a major part in our daily needs whenever the desires manifest themselves. Like the Blogger-Edward Grinnan wrote, " We’ve been telling our stories since we could carve on cave walls, and probably longer." People who try so valiantly to write their sensations regarding other words who Post their opinions here within "Belief Blog", do so mostly because they want to be sometimes critical, sometimes hyper, and there are those who do choose their words with contemplation before posting. I try so very hard to emulate with contemplations' concernments.

    Am I GOD? No. Am I a God? No. Am I god? Not yet, I must refrain. As but a solitary Being living upon the Celestial Plain of Terrestrialnesses' Omnivorants, I must follow the Lord's, Christ Jesus' words He is said to have spoken and put into the Scriptures of the "New" Testament, making the "Old" Testament null and void and unfollowable in these Post Modern Times. I feel that more emphasis in Pastoralships should be preached on the New Testament's virtues and most righteous admonitions for positive' sakes so that our socialisms and culturisms do not flutter away and become likened into nothing worthy of proclamations be they from social mountaintops or cultural valleys we all do traverse.

    Thusly I, The Lionly Lamb of The Gods have thusly written in the aboveness and do still speak thru the Holy Spirit's Willfulness and by the King of all Gods and Goddesses, Christ, The Lord Jesus, I am sanctified through my Word!

    August 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Rick

      Time to take your medication and don't forget to down it with a martini.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Frogist

      @Lionly: I have mentioned before how difficult it is to read your posts. And this one doesn't seem much easier. Are you using a translator of some kind? Could you please try to write in plain, simple words? That might make it easier to understand what you are trying to say. Thanks.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Stevie7

      " I must follow the Lord's, Christ Jesus' words He is said to have spoken and put into the Scriptures of the "New" Testament, making the "Old" Testament null and void and unfollowable in these Post Modern Times."
      --
      Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets."

      Looks like its time to go back and read the words that your Christ allegedly spoke.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  8. captiva

    Yawn. Another self centered druink whining about his past thinking it's of interest, while patting himself on the back with self-congratulatory enthusiasm for finally having bucked up and lived responsibly. Most of us do that without the self-indulgent period and having to "share" it with others. Go to an AA meeting and all you hear are drunks talking about themselves. Still self centered and whining, just without the booze.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Charlie D

      most spot on comment on this article! my sentiments exactly.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • musings

      Since I've never been an alcoholic, I really don't understand how you are morally superior to this writer. I would imagine it isn't easy maintaining your grip, and that feeling superior to others is how you do it. Reading this guy, I was asking myself what Hemingway would have made of him. But then I remembered: Hemingway may be famous, but from a human standpoint, he didn't make it. Nor did his granddaughter. Kind of merciless disease.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      Such a hypercritical analogy of the bigotrist’ kind Sanibel Captiva your words so are! Either your childhood or your teen years and maybe even into your Adolescence Age or quite possibly all the naturalizations of your Life are fraught-filled self-flagellatings relevant to none but those whom which you make aggrandizements unproportioned fulcrums of lollygaggling generalizations unworthy the mindset of brainairial barnyards anywhere!

      August 7, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Paul P

      If you have been to AA and it didn't work for you, I'm sorry for you. I haven't had a drink for 15 years and haven't craved one for 14 years. I don't believe in god and had a problem with "the God thing" when I first came into the rooms. A wise old guy told me to forget about it and just listen to the "rest of it". Talk to people and believe that it they could do it then I could do it. Listening to others and always having an ear to listen to me. That's what got me sober and to a large extent that's what helps keep me sober.
      Sadly, you sound like a "dry drunk". There's a saying in AA "Take what you need, and leave the rest." It worked for me and I'm now resonable happy and SOBER.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Nothing But Smiles

      Captiva......My Grandfather taught me at a young age that it is wise not to speak of the lumps in someone else's potatoes until you get the lumps out of your own. It has proven to be sound advice.

      August 7, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Frogist

      @captiva & CharlieD: You two shouldn't be talking about someone else being self-centered. I cannot believe the lack of compassion and outright arrogance of your posts. In terms of humanity, I'll stand with the Grinnans of the world before I stand with whatever you two are.
      @Nothing But Smiles: You have a wise grandfather. It's a shame these two didn't have one as wise as yours.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  9. missingblue

    I agree with the poster who said that Guideposts harrassed his family for more money and dontations. They did the same to my grandmother to the point where she was sending them checks out of guilt and anxiety when she could not afford her own rent.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  10. guy

    Storytelling has been used by genrations of cultures/societies to teach...I guess it really does work:)

    August 7, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  11. Amistavia

    Down Syndrome is not a disease, authEism is and a dreaded one.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Amistavia

      How clever of you to seal my name. Christians you know- unlimited imaginations, but rarely bright.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • tallulah13

      What the heck is authEism? Sounds like something authors get that gives them writer's block.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Frogist

      @tallulah: I think it's what atheist authors write about. 😉

      August 9, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thanks for the clarification.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  12. Jim

    Great story. I recently recognized 20 years without a drink, have a similar story and am in the process of writing a book about my life. No, I didn't have rehabs to rely on, but the divine intervention was pretty powerful. Especially considering I was far from a God guy. http://obsessedwithconformity.com/672/monster/ Be sure to click the link inside the post for a look at the actual epiphany. The idea of writing a story about a man who had no faith and then suddenly was faced with accepting something more powerful than myself, followed by miracle after miracle – should certainly help someone else.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • TheyNotHim

      Please offer one piece of evidence that any of these "miracles" actually happened as a result of intervention from a higher power, and not because of inner strength.

      Still waiting for proof...none forthcoming...

      August 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  13. Amistavia

    I am insecure and find it entertaining to belittle someone else so I can feel better about myself. I suffer from low self esteem and depression so stop insulting me, I need help. I didn't graduate from high school because I couldn't handle it but that doesn't mean I aint smart. So cut me some slack, I am just a red neck that believes you have to take the bible literally otherwise you will all go to hell.

    And I'm an atheists that's why I'm behaving here like typical atheist are.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Charlie D

      using someone elses name to try to make them look bad? sure says a lot about your intelligence and integrity.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Nah. You're just a buffoon pretending to be someone else because you don't like them. We're anonymous enough on this site. Try using your own name to tell her why you think she's wrong instead of proving her point by acting like a jerk.

      August 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      What a good Christian, lying and bearing false witness. I bet God is so proud.

      August 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  14. BD70

    Whatever helps...have to wonder though why so many belief articles on CNN.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  15. this won't last long

    I'm happy for anyone that is happy with their beliefs. I would prefer however that they keep them to themselves. Challenging or affirming your beliefs is a catalyst for friction

    August 7, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Guest

      I really wish you would keep that belief to yourself..it just caused friction

      August 7, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  16. Trog

    I like that the author didn't preach his religious views because this story rings of humanism rather than religion.
    At no point did he say "god did this" and instead, showed how connecting with other people enriches and empowers.
    Now if we can just get the supernatural out of the picture, our race just may have a future.

    August 7, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Totoro0101

      You won't, it's embedded in our subconscious mind that there is something higher on the food chain. The only thing you can do is to set up a dissonance between the conscious and unconscious mind. The thing to do is to be reasonable, not to use this a license to perpetrate harm on others.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Amistavia

      Totoro0101: Reason solves the problem entirely.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Frogist

      @Trog: I agree with your take on the article and Grinnan not invoking the "Jesus Did It" usual opinion. He did hint at a guiding force beyond his own. But he wasn't pushy about it. A far cry from the usual believers this blog gets.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  17. arribadas ostional guanacaste

    i have a story to tell

    August 7, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  18. Totoro0101

    Thorns in the side are never fun, I guess they serve a purpose though which appears to be transformative, Rowling would call it a boggart. Most people won't expose that really, it's sort of like cooking an oven stuffer roaster. No-one wants to mess with the process, they just wait until the button pops. We and he should be grateful to his wife for pushing him. I initially wondered at his word choice solipsism, but that turned out to be exactly right 🙂

    August 7, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  19. Jeanette

    Congratulations Edward. A life well worth living. Storytelling is a very powerful tool for passing along stories of transformation and giving hope. To me, it doesn't matter whether these are religious stories or not. It is empowering others to move in positive ways and in being open and honest in telling those stories – that demonstrates real courage.

    August 7, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  20. Josiah

    What are you, the Onion or something, with this kind of crap story?

    August 7, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • someoneelse

      Journalism used to be smart people informing the public about what is going on in a straight forward and unbiased way (mostly). Now it is about good looking idiots who throw some random fact or event out there and blab about what they think for an hour.

      August 7, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • John Richardson

      @someone else: Oh god, save it for sunday school. Journalism has ALWAYS been mired in seedy sensation. And lack of bias? Where? When?

      August 7, 2011 at 11:12 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.