01: The recent criticism of the religious right from leaders and activists appears to have found a special hearing among younger evangelicals and other conservative Christians.
This is suggested in the current issue of Re:generation Quarterly (Volume 5 Number 1), which is devoted to the “Flawed Tactics of the Religious Right.” Most of the articles in the magazine, published by Generation X conservative Christians, criticizes the religious right for politicizing Christianity and for ignoring the role of culture and building community in extending Christian influence.
The issue costs $5.95 and is available from: Re:generation Quarterly, P.O. Box 381042, Cambridge, MA 02238-1042
02: As Jon Bloch states in his new book, New Spirituality, Self and Belonging: How New Agers and Neopagans Talk About Themselves (Greenwood Publishing Group/Prager, $55), those adhering to New Age and Neopagan teachings believe “The self is considered the final authority as to what to practice or believe.” They hold that dogma is an unreliable source of truth; truth can only be determined through one’s personal experience.
Although those involved in countercultural spiritual movements generally exhibit a wide range of beliefs, one can detect commonalties and, indeed, an underlying sense of community that binds disparate believers together. Bloch’s research sought to analyze this diverse community, using interviews with 22 persons whose core beliefs tended to be rooted in varying forms of Neopagan and Native American religion. Most (77 percent) had been raised Christian; the remainder had been raised with little or no religious training.
Bloch’s respondents exhibited considerable overlap in beliefs. All appeared to practice an evolving spirituality, in which they were continually open to new experiences and beliefs. Bloch implies that his subjects’ beliefs were thus not the product of aimless searching for just anything to believe in, but the result of an active quest for the “right” faith. While Bloch provides useful and often insightful commentary on his subjects’ beliefs, he often neglects to closely challenge respondents’ statements and seems to accept their stories at face value.
— Reviewed by Lin Collette, an RW contributing editor.
03: It’s not a good sign when a co-author gets the title of one’s own book wrong, but that’s what happened last month.
Somehow, we cited the book by RW‘s editor and Don Lattin as Against The Stream: American Religion in the New Millennium when the actual title is Shopping for Faith: American Religion in the New Millennium. The former title is the 1994 book by the editor (the full title of which is “Against The Stream: The Adoption of Traditional Faiths By Young Adults”; please write for more ordering info on this book).
Needless to say, we are still offering Shopping at the discount price of $18. Foreign orderers should add $7 and Canadians add $3 for postage and handling (with payment made out through a U.S. bank or money order).
All payments should be made to Religion Watch and sent to P.O. Box 652, North Bellmore, NY 11710.