01: A book attracting considerable public attention is Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost its Meaning (Harper SanFrancisco).
Written by the chaplain at Tufts University, Scotty McLennen, it presents narratives of spiritual searching among Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. The author’s thesis is that religion and spirituality are just like your [the reader’s] moral development, your psychological development, your cognitive development.”
To date, the work is being warmly received in both academic and church-related settings.
(Source: USA Today, Nov. 4)
— By Erling Jorstad
02: Communist-Unification Rule over All (CURA) is a growing Russian religious movement based around the deification of past communist leaders.
The Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad)-based group considers itself a party where Lenin and God are seen as one and the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are sacred texts. CURA does not associate with other communist groups as it interprets most communist concepts into a mystical belief system. The “class enemy” of CURA is negative energy and the “class ally” is a healthy lifestyle, involving a stress on the “purity of the bowels.”
The name of Lenin and the word communism are themselves seen as sources of energy that help purify human nature and heal disease. CURA also holds that reincarnations of Christ and Lenin are living in Russia in the form of a 24-year-old girl and a young boy. Most members are said to be from the lowest strata of society, and about 6,000 people have passed through CURA’s school from 1993 to 1997, according to the group’s figures.
Poverty and nostalga for the past are said to be fueling the movement’s growth.
(Source: Spirituality in East and West, No. 12).