Publishers Weekly magazine’s Senior Religion Editor Lynn Garrett reports this week on important new books that reflect the transformation of traditional religious boundaries nationwide. Like Garrett, we’ve also been covering this important news story for a number of years at ReadTheSpirit.
We are pleased that Garrett highlighted the newly released Blue Ocean Faith: The Vibrant Connection to Jesus that Opens Up Insanely Great Possibilities in a Secularizing World—And Might Kick Off a New Jesus Movement by Dave Schmelzer.
Garrett is a long-time expert on trends in American religion—and publishing. She opens her 5-page story by summarizing the latest data on “Nones.” (As we explained in our own cover story last week with Diana Butler Bass, that’s the label for the nearly 1 in 4 Americans who tell pollsters “None” when asked to give their religious affiliation.)
Garrett writes that millions of these Nones have abandoned traditional religions and now “seek to replace what those faiths provided—guidance, encouragement, comforting rituals and sacraments, even community.” Then, Garrett asks: Where are these men and women seeking? One place is books!
As she describes this new spiritual frontier, she starts with a wide range of physical-spiritual resources from mindfulness and yoga to disciplines that can control addiction. The link between recovery and spirituality has been an all-American connection since at least the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 and, today, publishers continue to offer new books on regaining mind-body-spirit balance.
Garrett also points to the long tradition of writing, storytelling and personal memoir as a source of spiritual renewal. (Stay tuned if you love this genre! In April, ReadTheSpirit will be recommending Barbara Mahany’s newest collection of “small moments,” called Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving.)
Garrett covers Blue Ocean in the second half of her report in which she looks at various ways that Christian communities are trying to break down the barriers that have scattered so many of the Nones. She concludes:
“Despite disillusionment with Christianity as an establishment, Jesus is still a fascinating and mysterious figure for many.”
Care to read more?