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 Addiction Recovery

Spiritual but not Religious

Spirituality and Narrative

Spirituality and Theology


Sample of Publications on Addiction & Recovery by Dr. Linda Mercadante

What is addiction, really? Some think it is a medical problem, others think it is essentially a spiritual illness, and still others insist it is about personal choice.  How can we consider all these aspects in a compassionate and effective manner?  Understanding the theology that undergirds addiction recovery is one very important way.  The good news is that addiction recovery can become a blessing in disguise, being the start of true spiritual liberation!

“Helping Addicts Move Beyond the Spiritual Wading Pool: A New Approach to Religion and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions,”in THE JOURNAL OF EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY + PSYCHOTHERAPY Fall 2010

“Religious and Theological Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous,” Vol. 1, THE PRAEGER INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION ON ADDICTIONS, Praeger Perspectives on Abnormal Psych., 2009

“Theology of Trauma,”CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, Cambridge University Press, (forthcoming 2010)

A Spirituality for “After” in the Journal of Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute

“Anguish: Perspectives on Victimization,”CONSTRUCTIVE THEOLOGY: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes, with CD-Rom,Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland, eds., Fortress Press 2005

“Sin, Gender and Addiction”

“Anguish: Unraveling Sin and Victimization” in the Anglican Theological Review

“Addiction and Recovery: Bill Moyers PBS Special” in The Christian Century

“The Church and Addiction Recovery” in Addiction in America, Christian Networks Journal, Summer 2005

“Sin, Addiction and Freedom,” in Reconstructing Christian Theology, eds. Rebecca Chopp and Mark Kline Taylor, Fortress, 1994

“Of an exceptionally high caliber… achiev[ing] an impressive clarity [and]… skillful… passionate ‘intertwinement’ of doctrine and problematic.” Douglas John Hall, Ph.D., Theology Today, Apr ‘96

“Addiction,” Dictionary of Feminist Theologies, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996

“Addiction and Recovery,” The Christian Century, March 18-25, 1998

“Gender, Sin, and Addiction,” Journal of Ministry in Addiction & Recovery, Fall 1996

“Anguish and Victimization,” Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes,
Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland, eds., Augsburg Fortress Press 2005

“Violence, Abuse, and Oppression”
Women’s Bible Commentary, InterVarsity, 2001.

Dictionary of Feminist Theologies
Westminster/John Knox, 1996

“Gender, Sin, and Addiction”
Journal of Ministry in Addiction & Recovery, Fall ‘96

“Pelagian Theology Lives on in Science: Medical Model of Addictions Blames ‘Religion ’ Interview with Linda Mercadante.  In VITAL THEOLOGY: HELPING PEOPLE THINK THEOLOGICALLY, 11/07, 4:4

“Soul Survivors: Spirituality in Addiction and Recovery,” Report on researchers, SOCIAL WORK TODAY, March/April 2006

“Interview on Addiction & Spirituality Conference,” SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY NEWS, 2005

Sample of Resources on Dr. Mercadante’s Spiritual But Not Religious Project

Many people today claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” They avoid dogmatism, shun institutionalism, practice a variety of spiritualities and draw from many wells. How did this movement start and what can we learn from it? Most important, how can we serve the needs of this growing group of determined seekers?

A Sampling of Articles and Interviews on Dr. Mercadante’s new book, Belief without Borders: Inside the Mind of the Spiritual but not Religious

The National Catholic Reporter 

Spirituality & Practice

First Things

THE Times Higher Education

The Columbus Dispatch

The Christian Century

 Publishers’ Weekly

Association for Mormon Letters


Blogs: The Huffington Post,, and OUPblog

Click on these links to read more:

“Examining the Growth of the SBNRs,” The  New York Times

“Good News about the Spiritual but not Religious”

“Are the SBNRs Turning East?

“SBNRs: Knowing the Types, Avoiding the Traps”

“Going, Going, Gone, Books Studies Exodus from Religion”

“Theology Prof Advises Faiths on Reaching the SBNRs”

Prof. Interviewed in Columbus Dispatch”

“The Seeker Next Doors: What Drives the SBRNs?”

“Religious Indifferents: What’s the Big Deal Anyway?”

“Spirituality and Practice”

A Sampling of Audio Resources:

“The Spiritual but not Religious Show” interview with host George Lewis, Mar. 1, 2011

“Spirituality or Religion?,” Interview and Call-In, WOSU 820 AM, All Sides with Ann Fisher, Aug. 2010

“What Does it Mean to Say You’re Spiritual but Not Religious”, Interview with L.Mercadante.  On OPEN LINE WITH FRED ANDERLE, WOSU [NPR affiliate] 6/08

A Sampling of Published Resources:

“Minister Launches SBNR site: Interview,” THE CHRISTIAN POST, April 2009,

“Help Needed,”THE’S POSTEROUS, Jan. 2009,

“Minister Studies Why Americans Are ‘Spiritual but not Religious,” THE CHRISTIAN POST, Oct. 2008,

To church or not to church: PC(USA) researcher studies the ‘spiritual but not religious,’” Jerry Van Marter,  PRESBYTERIAN NEWS SERVICE ONLINE, 10/08

“What Does it Mean to Say You’re Spiritual but Not Religious”, Interview with L.Mercadante.  On OPEN LINE WITH FRED ANDERLE, WOSU [NPR affiliate] 6/08

“Minister Studies Why Americans are Spiritual but not Religious,”ANGLICANS ABLAZE, 10/23/08

“More Describe Selves as Spiritual, Not Religious,” Front page story on Mercadante research project, in BOULDER DAILY CAMERA [BOULDER, CO] 4/08

“To Church or Not to Church,”KRUSE KRONICLE, 10/08

“What does ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ Mean?”NOVA SCOTIA SCOTT, Oct. 24, 2008

“To Church or Not to Church,”JOHN MARK MINISTRIES, Oct. 2008

Sample of Publications on Spirituality & Narrative By Dr. Linda Mercadante

Would you like to “come home” to your spirit?  Did you know that stories heal us and sometimes even save us!  Let Dr. Mercadante show you how narratives tap into and release your spiritual center. She uses film, memoir writing, and story-telling to help her audiences find spiritual insight, growth and liberation.

Bloomfield Avenue: A Jewish-Catholic Jersey Girl’s Spiritual Journey  [Rowman & Littlefield, Cowley Imprint, 2006]

“Colorful and compelling!”  Publishers’ Weekly, Aug. 2006

“Tasting the Bitter with the Sweet: The Spiritual Geography of Newark, New Jersey,SPIRIT IN THE CITIES, Katherine Tanner, ed.; Fortress Press, 2005

“Bess the Christ Figure?: Theological Interpretations of Breaking the Waves” in Journal of Religion and Film

“The God Behind the Screen” Comparing The Truman Show and Pleasantville in The Journal of Religion and Film

“The Religious Truce” in The Christian Century

“Italian-Immigrants and Religious Conversions,” in PASTORAL PSYCHOLOGY, Spring 2010. SpringerScience+Business Media, LLC 2010 pdf

“Are We All Immigrants? Ethnicity, Guilt and Religion in ‘The Sopranos,’” Journal of Theology, Summer ’04, 3-14

“Life After L’Abri,” THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, Sept. 22, 2009

“My Conversion and Aspiration: A Comparative Case Study, Constantine Panunzio,” ITALIAN AMERICANA, 26:2, Summer 2008.

“Using Film to Teach Theology, THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION, Association of Theological Schools, 42:2, 2007

“The God Behind the Screen: Pleasantville and The Truman Show,” The Journal of Religion and Film, Fall 2001, Journal of Theology, Spring 2000.

“High Tech or High Touch: Will Technology Help or Hurt Our Teaching?” Teaching Theology and Religion, 5:1, Jan. 2002, pp.56-58.

“Faith and Film: Teaching Theology Through Film,” Connections, Vol. 6, No.3, Fall 1999 (Association for Communication in Theological Education)

“The Christ Figure in ‘Breaking the Waves’” Journal of Religion and Film, 5:1, April 2001

“Ann Lee”, “The Shakers” Dictionary of Christianity in America, Intervarsity Press, 1990.

Sample of Publications on Spirituality and Theology by Dr. L. Mercadante

Beliefs and spirituality are intimately related. Such issues as gender roles, reproductive loss (infertility, miscarriage, etc), and ethnic heritage impact our growth, sometimes making it a challenge to find a spiritual “home.” By using story, theology, and history, Dr. Mercadante will help you break free of constraining ideas so you can move toward spiritual liberation.

Abingdon, 1990.

“The first comprehensive and systematic study of the Shaker doctrine of the dual, male-female God…demonstrates both the innovative aspects and the limitations of this nineteenth century experiment in inclusive God-imagery.” Prof. Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett Ev.

“We are all in debt to Linda Mercadante’s book because it locates theological reflection about inclusive God-language within the social dynamics of a specific religious community. [It] skillfully traces connections between forces of language, doctrine and social structure, and thus provides new perspectives for…all theologians.”
Prof. Mark Kline Taylor,Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary

(GMH Books, Regent College, 1978)

“Mercadante puts her finger on the all-important matter of hermeneutics — what causes us to perceive what we do in scripture? Her work should make us much more aware of how our culture informs (and sometimes determines) our exegesis, and should help us be a bit more cautious and humble in using scripture.”
Prof. Larry W. Hurtado, Ph.D., New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

“The Center for Women and Religion receives frequent, sometimes anguished letters and calls about just what to do with biblical passages like this one. Anyone who has tried to answer such questions will welcome Linda Mercadante’s thorough and readable answer.”
Mary Cross and Barbara Waugh, Directors, Center for Women and Religion, The Graduate Theological Union, Univ. of California, Berkeley

“Infertility, Ecclesiology, and the Quest for Family,” in Hope Deferred: Theological Perspectives on Reproductive Loss,
Nadine Pentz Franz and Mary Stimming, eds., Pilgrim Press, 2005

“From Infertility to Spiritual Abundance”
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Educational Series, 2005

Faith and Values Columnist, The Columbus Dispatch

  • Going Through My Mother’s Drawers,” 4/08/04
  • Christians Should Heed the Victims Among Us,” 4/15/05
  • “Mother’s Legacy Can’t Be Found in Possessions,” 4/4/05
  • “God Wants Us to Treat Immigrants with Compassion and Patience,” 12/20/05

“Is Addiction Sin?” Interview, ADVENTIST REVIEW, 2003

“From Infertility to Spiritual Abundance” an RCRC Educational Series (pdf)

“Response to `Our Audience: Atheist or Alienated?'”, “Report on Galatians 3” (with Richard Hays), and “The Role of Women,”
Conflict and Context: Hermeneutics in the Americas, Mark Lau Branson and C. Rene Padilla, eds., Eerdmans, 1986.

“Core Issues in Theological Debate”
CRUX, Vol. XX, #4, Dec. 1984, 7-11.

“Racism in the Women’s Movement”
Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Sp. ‘88.

“Making the Wrong Connections”
Daughters of Sarah, March/April 1985, 14-15.