Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Jericho Books; Reprint edition (January 14, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
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"Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) is a classification that seems to be appearing in the spiritual autobiographies of more and more people these days. I wouldn't call it new, but at the very least anti-institutional or self-styled spirituality is more present in the public discourse and more widely celebrated than it has been in the past. It should be no surprise. Organized religion, it seems, tends to follow culture. Sociologist Robert Putnam, among others, has been tracking the erosion of institutions and the rise of individualism in the U.S. over the last several decades. The SBNR movement, in my opinion, has been conceived largely of those two trends in our society. Interestingly, I received my pre-ordered copy of this book during a week in which NPR aired a series titled "Losing Our Religion," which chronicles the decline of organized religion in the U.S.--a trend that is pronounced among people in their 20's and 30's. Being part of that demographic myself, and being the senior minister of a mid-sized mainline protestant church (with a solid contingent of 20 & 30 somethings), this is a matter of great interest to me.Chapter one of "When 'Spiritual But Not Religious' is Not Enough" regaled me by boldly claiming what is often seen as a forbidden sentiment for someone in my position: I find the SBNR narrative (i.e., the "heilsgeschichte" or "salvation story") to be rather boring and self-serving. Daniel captures it perfectly: "Let me guess, you read The New York Times every Sunday, cover to cover, and you get more out of it than the sermon. Let me guess, you exercise and where do you find God? Nature. And the trees, it's always the trees during a long hike, a long run, a walk on the beach. And don't forget the sunset. These people always want to tell you that God is in the sunset.
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