America is a rich nation, culturally and spiritually. Newsweek’s new cover feature “In Search of the Spiritual,” is a rather soft attempt to show the diversity of American spirituality. Although it touches on a rather wide range of religions and spiritual practices, sadly I found it lacking on many levels, particularly in the author’s references to some of the less mainstream practices that were mentioned.
Newsweek’s “A Dictionary of Divine“, I found to be curious at best, and wholly lacking on factual information about the “definitions of some of the terms” in “America’s religious vernacular.”
Interestingly, their story on the Kabbalah was a fluff piece on how the Hollywood version of the Kabbalah is fluff. “Tibetan Buddhism: Learning to Let Go“, offeres a unique view of a black woman called to study Tibetan Buddhism.
A mention of the “rebirth of Pagan religions that look for God in the wonders of the natural world” led to a story that had absolutely nothing to do with Paganism, what so ever. My favorite quote from that piece:
The biggest challenge, Johnson says, will be to convince fellow Christians that his group is not New Age wing nuts, or, heaven forbid, liberals.
Most galling of all however was this quote from Newsweek’s “In Search of the Spiritual”:
Move over, politics. Americans are looking for personal, ecstatic experiences of God, and, according to our poll, they don’t much care what the neighbors are doing.
If that were truly the case, I would think that we would have far less evangelicals pushing their way into the Beltway (see this post from earlier in the week: Inside the Beltway — God’s Politics 101) and instituting their brand of God into the political policies of our country.
Last time I checked we were still a country founded on the Separation of Church and State.
Perhaps the Newsweek author, Jerry Adler, was sleeping during the Terry Shiavo affair. With the Pat Robertson remark on Monday and the debate raging on Intelligent Design in the schools, it does seem to me that Adler is a bit out of touch…
There’s a huge contigent of American’s who do care what their neighbors are doing, and they are hell bent on inserting their views into the politics of our country.
NOTE: Hat tip to Joseph at Martini Republic, who on Friday emailed a few members of the Greater LA Bloggers Alliance suggesting that we all take part in some theme orientated blogging. He noted that on Saturday’s he frequently blogs on religious orientated stories from the news. Great idea from Joseph (his post is here) … the call was also answered by Steve at SteveAudio and RJ at NiteLight.