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You Can’t Put God in a BoxThoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age$
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Kelly Besecke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930920.001.0001

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Reflexive Spirituality in Context

Reflexive Spirituality in Context

(p.27) 2 Reflexive Spirituality in Context
You Can’t Put God in a Box

Kelly Besecke

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the significance of reflexive spirituality in the context of four stories: (1) The disenchantment of society and the modern loss of meaning. In this story, reflexive spirituality is part of an effort to re-enchant modernity. (2) The discipline of sociology defined modernity as a movement away from religious tradition and toward reason. In this context, reflexive spirituality is a surprising combination of reason and religion that shows how religion can contribute to the project of modernity. (3) As modernity progressed, liberal religion lost a sense of its own mythology as it tried to accommodate the demand for reasonable religion. In this story, reflexive spirituality is part of a theological revitalization movement among religious liberals. (4) More and more Americans identify as “spiritual, but not religious” but don’t realize that they are part of a long tradition of unchurched spirituality in the United States. In the context of this history, reflexive spirituality offers a way of engaging religious traditions without making them totally authoritative.

Keywords:   disenchantment, liberal religion, modernity, mythology, reason, re-enchantment, religious tradition, spiritual, unchurched

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