New Article on “Nones”

    Are You a “None?” Many people are unsure whether they are “spiritual but not religious,” agnostic, or just plain not religious. Read this article, for which I was interviewed, and see if it adds some clarity to your identity. https://www.northjersey.com/in-depth/news/2021/09/20/nones-religiously-unaffiliated-americans-increasing/4386549001/   Picture courtesy of Austin Kocher

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    “The Chair” on Netflix is Real

    If my husband hadn’t been sitting next to me, I would’ve been crying as I watched the new Netflix series “The Chair.” It’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s real. I know this from my own experience in academia and from the many academics – proven professionals who are forcibly terminated for made-up charges, or forced to retire, pushed out, misused, manipulated, or mishandled — that I’ve interviewed recently. As they show in the series, tenure doesn’t mean much anymore. Nor does loyalty, nor dedicated service, nor intelligence, nor years of excellent teaching. Although ethnicity and prejudice is its calling card and a vital part of the story, the…

  • Education,  SBNR

    From Teaching Faith to Losing Faith

    Many think of a Christian seminary as a quiet place of contemplation, faith-seeking, and life-changing learning. And it often is. There you will find dedicated teachers who try to turn their students toward God and toward others. These professors have endured long years of schooling, low salaries, and 24-7 work schedules: counseling, grading, meetings, research, writing, dealing with student angst, and hours in the classroom. It can be an inspiring place for students and teachers alike. What many don’t realize, however, is that many of these hard-working teachers who have tried to instill love of God and world-helping ethics in their students are now being pushed out. It is true…

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    Getting inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious

    What are they thinking about?  SBNRs have been misrepresented as “salad bar spiritualists” or “eclectic dabblers.” But when you really listen to them, you find they are thinking seriously about theological issues.  For more on this, see my recently published book with Oxford University Press: Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.  Available in hardback at your local bookseller or through oup.org, or as an ebook, on Amazon Kindle and other ebook sellers.  See my blog posts as well on CNN.Com Belief, Oxford University Press blog, and The Huffington Post. Let me know what you think.

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    The “Spiritual but not Religious” Show

    Log on to the “Spiritual but not Religious” Show as host George Lewis interviews Linda Mercadante about her spiritual memoir and research project.  They also have a good chat on spirituality, religion, and mystical experience.  Listen and post a comment.  “The Spiritual but not Religious Show” interview with host George Lewis, Mar. 1, 2011 http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13033144

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    Encouraging Reflections on Spirituality, Theology and Young People

    Check out this article in America magazine by a professor at a Roman Catholic school. His observations on the current needs and contributions of students, as well as their critique of religion, is well taken.  He calls them idealistic realists, which fits well.  Read it and let us know what you think. http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=12681

  • SBNR

    Are We Being Honest? Are We Being Respectful?

    Recently I attended a Winter Solstice event held at a United Methodist Church.  On this evening, they did many of the things I have become familiar with from my three years researching alternative spiritualities and the ‘spiritual but not religious’ movement.  At this event they “called the directions”, had a guided meditation about finding spirit in nature, did some drumming, invited people to do a dance from Dances of Universal Peace, and had a hymn to the goddess Persephone.  Now, I realize that the mainline Protestant churches are more and more open to inter-faith dialogue and cooperation.  And I realize the white mainline Protestantism is rightfully concerned about its decline in…

  • Clark Pinnock,  The Spirit is tricky,  Uncategorized

    In memory of Clark Pinnock

    I just came back from the funeral of a dear friend and mentor of mine, Clark Pinnock, held this week in Hamilton, ON.  I met him when I was a student at Regent College, wondering how I — a journalist, feminist, and former atheist — ended up in a Christian graduate school. I wasn’t sure I’d last very long in that environment where there were no female professors and many still believed in ‘the subordination of women.’  But only when I heard that one of the professors had a wife who was a feminist, did I think there was a chance for me there. I figured I’d have to ask for Clark…

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    Do you call yourself “spiritual but not religious?” Are you involved in an addiction recovery group? Do you think there is any connection?

    The roots of the current “spiritual but not religious” movement (if one can call it a movement, since it isn’t organized as such) got a great boost from the addiction recovery movement of the 1990s.  The connections are both theological and sociological. Oddly enough, the roots of the addiction recovery ethos, particularly as advanced by Alcoholics Anonymous, comes from an evangelical Christian para-church group of the early 1900s known as The Oxford Group, led by Lutheran minister Frank Buchman. You can read more about this in my book *Victims & Sinners: Spiritual Roots of Addiction and Recovery.*   What do you see as potential connections or disconnections between the “SBNR” upsurge and addiction recovery movement?