The Spiritual Journeys of the Baby Boomers
Toward a Spirituality of Practice
1. Sweeping religious and cultural shifts
Of course, shifts in American religion are fairly common. Especially for religion as most people know itin the "God-tangles of actually lived lives"there is always a volatile element, the sacred never quite contained in its familiar forms. American religion has long been known for its dynamism and fluidity, its responsiveness to grassroots opinions and sentiments, its creative capacity in relation to the cultural environment. . . Religion in the United States is like a brilliantly colored kaleidoscope ever taking on new configurations of blended hues. Not just popular religious beliefs and practices, but religious institutions themselves undergo transformations in form and style, encouraged by a democratic, highly individualistic ethos and rapid social and cultural change (Roof, Spiritual Marketplace, 4).
The Seekers speak to the Church:
The Church speaks to the Seekers:
Wade Clark Roof dismisses the notion of the current American religious climate as "secularization". He sees the current situation as more complex and calls it "reflexive spirituality":-- a contemplative act of stepping back from ones own perspective and recognizing that it, too, is situated in a plurality of possibilities.
This capacity of understanding ones own view as just thata viewforces attention to biography, history, and experience and creates consciousness about the positioned nature of all our perspectives.. . Generally it encourages a more open stance toward religious teachings and spiritual resources; more experiential and holistic views; and active incorporation of religious input into constellations of belief and practice, or greater agency on the part of an individual in defining and monitoring ones own spiritual life. The effect is to create . . . a deeper awareness of who we are and how we became who we are . . . it suggests that spiritual seeking is elevated as a prominent religious theme and can itself be a creative, revitalizing experience, even a venue to transforming the meaning of the religious itself (Roof, Spiritual Marketplace, 75).
What have we lost?
What have we gained?
What do we do next?
"God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Dont let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand."
Rilkes Book of Hours, I, 59, trans. By Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy