Reflexive Spirituality: Seeking the Spiritual Experience in a Modern Society
- Category: The spiritual path
- Created: Monday, 21 April 2014 16:54
- Published: Monday, 21 April 2014 16:49
- Written by Kelly Besecke, Utne Reader
- Hits: 1974
Somewhere between modernity and religious tradition lies a middle road known as “reflexive spirituality” that pulls from pluralism, reflexivity, and modern society. Those who practice reflexive spirituality draw equally on religious traditions and traditions of reason in the pursuit of transcendent meaning. In You Can’t Put God in a Box (Oxford University Press, 2014), Kelly Besecke provides a window into the theological thinking of these educated spiritual seekers and religious liberals, and shows how they have come up with a unique way of addressing the problem of modern meaninglessness. The following excerpt, from Chapter 1, explains the background and attitudes of those who practice reflexive spirituality.
Reflexive Spirituality: Finding Meaning in Modern Society
How can I find a spirituality that makes sense to me intellectually? How can I have an intellectual life that speaks to my soul? How can I find meaning in my life and in my religion?
These questions are central to the lives of educated spiritual seekers who find little meaning in either ordinary secularism or traditional religion. On one hand, secular life can seem spiritually empty, focused on the material, the practical, and the expedient, to the exclusion of deeper meanings. On the other hand, religious life can seem intellectually untenable, focused on lists of required beliefs, and dogmatic in a way that leaves no room for critical inquiry. Educated spiritual seekers are looking for something more than these two alternatives offer. They’re looking for a spirituality they can sink their intellectual teeth into and a worldview that puts the mundane into meaningful perspective. Educated seekers are looking for the intersection between “what’s inspiring” and “what makes sense.”