Sunday, February 08, 2015

Why America Needs a New Spirituality

America desperately needs a new spirituality. One rooted in reason, love, and sound, historical evidence, not in religious fundamentalism or pseudo-spiritual wishful thinking. One not at odds with reality. 

This is one of the big ideas in my latest project. I'm exploring the implosion of conservative Christianity (barring a few exceptions) on the one hand, as evidenced by a continual string of evangelical-leadership and church scandals, and the spiritual void of secular scientific thinking on the other hand. 

Despite being well meaning, conservatives have a whacky theology when you look under the hood that doesn't line up with science and reason and sound biblical, historical scholarship. Liberal and secular alternatives on the other hand, despite their intellectual fluency, often discount all things spiritually-serious and Jesus-focused as the rantings of wild-eyed, dim-witted religious idiots. Really now. Are these are only choices? 

 Of course not. There are many, exciting progressive Christian streams emerging and growing in our day. But why does popular media typically couch "Christian" spirituality in such black-and-white terms? And, is progressive Christianity just a reaction to fundamentalism with lots of questions and few concrete answers? Is "Christian" faith meant to be confined to some obscure Divine Mystery? Or, is there an objective history based on reality that should inform it? 

My answer to that last question is "Yes." History matters. Not the traditional history we may have heard. That is often bad history and the foundation of much of fundamentalism and evangelicalism. But not revisionist history, either, which is the basis for much of liberal and secular thought on Christianity. What's needed is good, solid, historical scholarship. That's where I'm headed in an emerging story about how a history we never knew taps a spirituality we really need

What do you think? Is there a place for another look at Christian history that might reveal a solid spiritual direction outside the conservative and liberal extremes of our day? Where would you look to uncover such history?

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