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One Breath at a Time

A Skeptic's Guide to Christian Meditation

J. Dana Trent • January 2019

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In secular mainstream America, meditation has become as ubiquitous as yoga. But how does meditation fit into Christianity, and how does it differ from prayer?

One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic's Guide to Christian Meditation reframes meditation for those who are skeptical because (1) they doubt their ability to be still and quiet and (2) they doubt the validity of meditation as a Christian spiritual practice. Using scripture, theology, and examples from the early church, this book challenges the prayer habits of Christians that leave little room for enough silence to experience and listen for God.

Using five approaches—breath meditation, lectio divina, centering meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and devotional meditation—One Breath at a Time provides a practical, 40-day guide to beginning and sustaining a Christian meditation practice in an often chaotic world.


The Rev. J. Dana Trent is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and professor of World Religions and Critical Thinking at Wake Tech Community College. An ordained Baptist minister and former hospital chaplain, she has been featured on Time.com, Religion News Service, Religion Dispatches, as well as in Sojourners and The Christian Century. Dana is the award-winning author of books on holistic wellness and multifaith spiritual practices: One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic's Guide to Christian Meditation, For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community, and Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk. Her fourth book, Dessert First: Beginning with the End in Mind, releases in September 2019 from Chalice Press. Dana is a certified group fitness instructor and teaches for the YMCA. She and her husband, Fred, are longtime vegetarians and live in Raleigh, North Carolina, with their orange tabby cat.

ISBN: 978-0-8358-1855-1

Kindle ISBN: 978-0-8358-1856-8

EPub ISBN: 978-0-8358-1857-5

Imprint: Upper Room

Pub Date: 20190101

Trim Size: 7.5 in (w) x 9.25 in (h) x 0.239 in (d)

Page Count: 112

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth

BISAC1: REL012120

BISAC2: REL055000

BISAC3: REL042000

Whether you are new to meditation, lapsed in your practice, or simply curious, you have found the right teacher. Dana Trent is not only wise about the ways in which our tech-driven lives are stunting our spiritual growth but also serious about offering us an invitation to be still with God for a few moments each day. The added bonus of her skepticism is that she knows how hard that can be—and why it remains essential for our soul’s health.
—Barbara Brown Taylor Author of Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

Dana’s journey into contemplation is, to me, a sign of the times. As we reach for a still point in the turning world, meditation isn’t a flight from the world of action but a way of staying centered in the midst of it. One breath at a time, indeed.
—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove Author of Reconstructing the Gospel