Published: Sunday, Nov. 25 2012 5:00 a.m. MST
[Over the next few years, watch for the name of Anne Lamott to start showing up
in textbooks.]What text books include the names of
flavor-of-the-month, self-help gurus? Will they include Joel Osteen and
prosperity preachers? Wayne Dyed, Dr. Phil, Deepak Chopra, and whatever other
feel-good, emotional snake-oil salemen Oprah is pushing that week?This is just another fad. Eventually, all these books will only be found in
thrift store bins where teenagers read the nonsense contained within aloud to
each and snicker inbetween the asinine passages.Anybody remember
"Chicken Soup for the [Target Demographic]'s Soul"? Obviously, this
latest "soft sprituality"
Is there something actually newsworthy here?
The most distinctive characteristic that I find among writers and
"thinkers" like the ones mentioned here, is the need to avoid any chance
of offense or even contradiction to....just about anything.The goal
is comfort. Clarity of thought, where the reasoning has edges to it, is
strictly forbidden. Thus, what is left is a gauzy diffusion of inoffensive
words, meaning very little, when boiled down.Unfortunately, when
there's no wrong, everything is right.And, as history has shown
us too often to ignore, the result of that kind of chaotic thinking is a
chaotic, ineffective and, ultimately, evil society. We're well on the way
to repeating that pattern.
I would imagine that the Bible of such "free-thinkers" reads "So Man
created god in his own image..."
While some core truths remain unchanged, religion has always been an evolving
phenomenon (or is there anyone alive today who actual puts into practice all of
Leviticus?). If it doesn't change to meet modern needs, and adhere to facts
(i.e., science), it atrophies. The fact that we live in a democratic
and pluralistic society with no State religion simply accelerates this process.
The real problem is not that religions change, but that due to calcified
doctrines and Bronze Age sacred books, they don't change fast enough; which
is why over the past 50 years the fastest growing segment of our society is the
"spiritual but not religious" group.
This reminds me of the points made in the web article Friendship with a
Marshmallow God, an article at the Christian Answers for the New Age (CANA)
website that reviews the book Looking at Friendship with God by Neale Donald
Walsch.A quote from the review:"Walsch accepts
unquestioningly that G is God, although G gives no evidence that he is who he
says he is. G evades questions, contradicts himself, makes sweeping grandiose
statements with nothing to back them up, has trite platitudes for philosophy and
schtick for humor, butters up Walsch, and offers shallow advice culled from
previous New Age writings. In fact, every single idea offered by G, which seems
to strike Walsch as profound wisdom , was an idea this writer studied or read
about starting back in the late 1970?s when she was personally involved in
Eastern and New Age beliefs. And this is supposed to be God -- a gooey, gushing
marshmallow of a god with a greeting card mentality?"Dr. Laura
Schlesinger also always had a few choice words for callers who had disdain for
organized religion. Everyone doing their own thing doesn't add any value to
[But to a budding generation of Americans who've grown suspicious of
organized religion — kids who see no way to separate religious history
from folklore or drain theology of superstition, the Anne Lamotts of the world
are a safe harbor.]Young people don't read this tripe.
It's by and for aging Baby Boomers. The author of this article and the
authors of the books mentioned here are all about the same age. Young people may
subscribe to this "spiritual, but not religious" nonsense, but they
don't read books about it.
'Designer faith' trend here to stay: Faith is only as good as the
object of that faith. Jesus said in John 8:24, if you don’t
know that I am (God) you will die in your sins.
The human yearning for the transcendental is as irrepressible as hunger for food
or thirst for water. Man does not live by bread alone.Jesus spent 40
days in the wilderness before embarking on his life’s work. Others have
had life changing experiences before a burning bush, in a sacred grove, or
kneeling in prayer at their bedsides. Some of them encountered virulent
antipathy from a scornful world. Yet the yearning and the search will not be
A religion that demands nothing ultimately has no ability to impact the lives of
its followers. While I appreciate self-reflection and introspection, we live in
a world of actions and finite time. Keeping oneself locked in a spiritual
malaise, even with good intentions and comfortable chant-worthy feelings of
wellbeing to all, may rob an individual of the heart-breaking challenge that
comes in exercising concrete faiths filled with concrete people with concrete
It would be a mistake to think that people who resonate with writers like Lamott
are simply saying "I want God *my* way." What they--or should I say,
we--are actually trying to do is sense and understand God from our own spirit.
The spirit which, we believe, was given to us by God in the first place.In short, we approach God from the inside out, not have God
"handed" to us by dogmatic religions from the outside in. That simply
has never worked for us.And I would hardly call our encounters with
God "unanchored." True, we have no "inerrant, infallible"
religious books, but we feel very much anchored in our ongoing communion with
God.Finally, please do not link writers like Lamott with self-help
gurus like Joel Osteen. The two couldn't be more dissimilar.
This is a P.S. to my earlier comment on Lamott.I hadn't dipped
into her latest book, "Help, Thanks, Wow" when I posted. But I've
since read an excerpt of it on Amazon.If you think hers is a
"marshmallow God, feel-good religion," I urge you to read that excerpt.
She's dead serious. Or should I say alive serious.Believe me,
no one's taking the "easy" way out if they sincerely choose to be
spiritual but not (dogmatically) religious.Please read it.
Admirng Gentile, I did just as you suggested, but only found mystical
marshmallow. Sorry. However, yes, I do understand that she's
serious about it. I wouldn't deny her that.
Designer Faith...sounds like the philosophies of man.
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