You Cant Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age

Paperback | October 23, 2013

byKelly Besecke

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Kelly Besecke offers an examination of reflexive spirituality, a spirituality that draws equally on religions traditions and traditions of reason in the pursuit of transcendent meaning. People who practice reflexive spirituality prefer metaphor to literalism, spiritual experience to doctrinalbelief, religious pluralism to religious exclusivism or inclusivism, and ongoing inquiry to 'final answers.'Reflexive spirituality is aligned with liberal theologies in a variety of religious traditions and among the spiritual-but-not-religious. You Can't Put God in a Box draws on original qualitative data to describe how people practiced reflexive spirituality in an urban United Methodist church, aninterfaith adult education center, and a variety of secular settings. The theoretical argument focuses on two kinds of rationality that are both part of the Enlightenment legacy. Technological rationality focuses our attention on finding the most efficient means to a particular end. Reflexivespiritualists reject forms of religiosity and secularity that rely on the biases of technological rationality - they see these as just so many versions of 'fundamentalism' that are standing in the way of compelling spiritual meaning. Intellectual rationality, on the other hand, offers tools foranalysis, interpretation, and synthesis of religious ideas. Reflexive spiritualists embrace intellectual rationality as a way of making religious traditions more meaningful for modern ears. Besecke provides a window into the progressive theological thinking of educated spiritual seekers and religious liberals. Grounded in participant observation, her book uses concrete examples of reflexive spirituality in practice to speak to the classical sociological problem of modernmeaninglessness.

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Kelly Besecke offers an examination of reflexive spirituality, a spirituality that draws equally on religions traditions and traditions of reason in the pursuit of transcendent meaning. People who practice reflexive spirituality prefer metaphor to literalism, spiritual experience to doctrinalbelief, religious pluralism to religious exc...

Kelly Besecke is an independent scholar who earned her Ph.D., Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002). She is formerly a professor of sociology at Colorado College and Kenyon College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:October 23, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199930945

ISBN - 13:9780199930944

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPreface Meaning, Mind, and Religion in Two Lives1. Reflexive Spirituality: Finding Meaning in Modern Society2. Reflexive Spirituality in Context3. The Tyranny of the Technical4. Flat Religion and Flaky Spirituality5. Using Reason to Find Meaning in Religion and Life6. The God of Reflexive Spirituality7. You Can't Put Reflexive Spirituality in a Box8. ConnectionsNotesBibliographyIndex