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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Back somewhere in the archives of this blog, I posted a paper reacting to a Robert Wuthnow book. Wuthnow is (the second half of the title was ‘Spirituality in America Since the 1950s) a Religious Studies professor from Yale. Wuthnow’s main contention seemed to be that spiritual life in this country broke down into those with ‘dwelling’ and ‘seeking’ ways of conceptualizing relation to God or the Other (if you like). In brief, dwelling was stable, familiar, and generational; seeking is transient, fluid, and in search of a spiritual high. He went on to say that the seekers wanted stability and familiarity, and some dwellers felt their spirituality was stale, or focused on preserving a social order they knew. Fairly ticked off about the lack of depth in pretty much everyone profiled in the book, (either Wuthnow’s fault, or the people) I sought to defend what I understood as the gospel. I called it in part, “A Spirituality of Dwelling in the Incarnation.” We need stability, we need to stop wandering. But what keeps our dwelling from being dull, lifeless, or misdirected? I think I found the answer: God with us. That is what the Incarnation teaches us. God isn’t out there somewhere; he was and is right here. I was just beginning to understand the brilliance of this. So, whether we rest or we journey, we are God’s. We need not fear. America and baseball could pass away (may it never be! Ha ha) and I’m just fine. May I believe this!
I got a little annoyed just now; looking through my music files on my computer, I noticed that Windows Media Player had labeled the genre for Jim Brickman’s Destiny as, ‘New Age’. “Well, that’s unacceptable,” I thought, conjuring images of hippies praying to rocks and sticks. “I know Jesus, and if Jim wants to pray to rocks, or have other fans who pray to rocks, well, I guess I can’t stop them. But I can’t look at that.” So, I changed it to ‘Instrumental.’ Which isn’t strictly true; 7 or so tracks have guest vocalists. But hey, Jim plays the piano. Thinking that ‘piano’ was too much of a stretch for a genre, I made my choice. Irony to God’s glory: as I type, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey is playing. Don’t worry, I won’t:)