Faith Styles

Faith Styles

Faith Styles: Ways People Believe by John R. Mabry

A noted spiritual director suggests new ways of looking at how different people understand and relate to the divine. Explores the many styles of faith that characterize believers in all religions, examines the various modes of believing, and offers ways for spiritual directors to use this knowledge as they work with their clients. Includes illustrative case studies and practical suggestions for offering spiritual direction.


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“Genuine dialogue requires understanding and honoring the other ‘as other.’ By providing vivid descriptions of various faith-stances, Mabry’s interesting sketches will motivate serious participants in inter-faith dialogue to pursue further knowledge of how differently—and sincerely—believers experience their faith. In a post-9/11 world of tension fueled by sectarian divisions, Mabry’s survey of the landscape of faith is a timely guide for deeper exploration and mutual understanding.”

Wilkie Au, Professor of Theological Studies at
Loyola Marymount University and coauthor of
The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path

“This is a fascinating book, giving tremendous insight into why people of the same religion are often at such odds with others who share their faith. John Mabry peels back the layers of religion to reveal the more basic psychological, social, and spiritual differences between us. He shows how people in all religions, and even agnostics and atheists, seem to cluster into one of six basic approaches to faith, approaches that may divide those within a particular religion, while ironically making them similar to those of different faiths. This book is a must read for those trying to understand the human spiritual yearning and why we choose the faith practices that we do.”

N. Graham Standish, PhD, MSW, pastor, spiritual director, and
author of Humble LeadershipBecoming a Blessed Church
and Discovering a Narrow Path (

“Mabry’s book is most helpful in clarifying who I can work with most effectively and the importance of avoiding the temptation to mold a directee into my own faith style. There is great mystery surrounding every person’s unique spiritual journey, and Mabry reminds us what a great gift spiritual direction can be in the unfolding of the mystery and what it takes to be an effective guide and companion to others along the way.”

Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, June 2007


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