Welcome to the OFFICIAL 'About The Author' page of:
Fred Howard is the award winning author of Transforming Faith, a fresh and often unconventional guide to the inner life. Following in the footsteps of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Howard uses the time tested strategy of storytelling to blaze an adventurous new path for spiritual growth and faith development.
AUTHOR: Fred Howard
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, Fred Howard is an ordained minister by the Christian Universalist Association and is currently the minister of the Unitarian Church of Valdosta, Georgia. He graduated in 2006 from Candler School of Theology at Emory in Atlanta and spent a year in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Emory Hospital. Prior to that, he attended Valdosta State College and the Medical College of Georgia, and practiced medicine for twenty years.
Active in his church and community, Howard is married to Kathy Riggins Howard and lives in Valdosta. They have three grown children, Mandy, Misty, and Dustin, and seven grandchildren.
BUY THIS BOOK DIRECT FROM THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER
Transforming Faith, by debut author Fred Howard, utilizes tales from personal experience, ancient wisdom teachings, as well as popular culture, to cut a wide swath through the provincial literalisms of conventional Christianity. The book manages to clear this path through the many difficult and sensitive issues in the contemporary spiritual and religious landscape while maintaining a healthy and commendable respect for all faith traditions.
Those looking for relevance for the life of the spirit in today’s jaded times should find a kind and helpful guide in Dr. Howard. He takes a decidedly different approach to faith development beginning with a section on the role imagination plays in spiritual growth. From there the author expands his unconventional approach into the areas of faith, compassion, God, and Christianity.
Kirkus Reviews called the book “A profound, moving take on faith in an age that often vehemently challenges it.”
In our postmodern world, outmoded, provincial literalisms are making a laughing stock of traditional religious beliefs. It is so gratifying to read about a faith leader willing to put his neck on the line to help people move beyond what he calls the Adopted Faith* common to most people in most traditional, organized religions, and toward a more mature stance. This more mature stance can only be accessed after a period of honest open-ended questioning and critical reflection involving risk of defection from the church. Dr. Howard calls this middle stage Individuating Faith, similar to James Fowler's individual-Reflective Faith** Many clergy are unwilling to encourage this necessary questioning due to fear of losing congregants. But without that facing down the inevitable doubts suggested by the findings of modern science and our increasingly globalized society, a person is held back in a spiritual infancy. I congratulate Dr. Howard on his clear, concise articulation of the spiritual path, and description of the type of Faith that can form on the other side of doubt. What Howard has called Holistic Faith*** is "a way of seeing life that [gives] wholeness, meaning and purpose to life,...better understood as a process....a verb rather than a noun...It's an alignment of one's heart with the heart of life and the heart of the universe." Brilliant!!
Beautiful flow with new ideas developing upon conventional wisdom at every turn. Example after example from culture, proverbs, and experience which flow seamlessly with fresh and memorable insight. Dr. Fred speaks with a voice that is delicate and respectful, yet authoritative. He justifies his logic/conclusions with thoughtful and thorough consideration. It caused me to stop and think; my husband and I had a number of extended conversations about the book as we considered its new and enlightening perspectives. Dr. Fred speaks of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in this way, but I also found that it reflected the way that I found Dr. Fred to write the book: “[it] works because it does not preach. It merely invites. It’s a protest song, yet it’s not mired in anger or blame.” Ultimately, this is an inspiring message of optimism and hope as he invites us to come to terms with conventional notions but imagine a new reality that could be so much greater than what the current church is today. Suffice to say, this was one of the most thoughtful and inspiring books I've read.