Monthly Archives: February 2016

Media: Retrieving Women’s Voices in the Christian Theological Tradition: Four Doctors of the Church, by Elizabeth A. Dreyer

Because of a new publication by SSCS member Elizabeth Dreyer, a new category has been added to this blog: Media. Available in DVD, CD, and MP3 formats, Dreyer’s Retrieving Women’s Voices in the Christian Theological Tradition uses video and audio recordings to communicate information about the spiritual experiences and teachings of Teresa of Ávila, Catherine of Siena, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Hildegard of Bingen. For more information about this publication, visit the publisher’s website.

Book: Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, by Elizabeth Drescher

For those of us still following a religious tradition, the growing number of people who are religiously unaffiliated raises many questions. Perhaps Elizabeth Drescher’s new book, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones (Oxford University Press, 2016), can help start a dialogue between believers and “nones” that will enrich our understanding of what it means to be a spiritual being.

To the dismay of religious leaders, study after study has shown a steady decline in affiliation and identification with traditional religions in America. By 2014, more than twenty percent of adults identified as unaffiliated–up more than seven percent just since 2007. Even more startling, more than thirty percent of those under the age of thirty now identify as “Nones”–answering “none” when queried about their religious affiliation. Is America losing its religion? Or, as more and more Americans choose different spiritual paths, are they changing what it means to be religious in the United States today?
In Choosing Our Religion, Elizabeth Drescher explores the diverse, complex spiritual lives of Nones across generations and across categories of self-identification as “Spiritual-But-Not-Religious,” “Atheist,” “Agnostic,” “Humanist,” “just Spiritual,” and more. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews conducted across the United States, Drescher opens a window into the lives of a broad cross-section of Nones, diverse with respect to age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and prior religious background. She allows Nones to speak eloquently for themselves, illuminating the processes by which they became None, the sources of information and inspiration that enrich their spiritual lives, the practices they find spiritually meaningful, how prayer functions in spiritual lives not centered on doctrinal belief, how morals and values are shaped outside of institutional religions, and how Nones approach the spiritual development of their own children.
These compelling stories are deeply revealing about how religion is changing in America–both for Nones and for the religiously affiliated family, friends, and neighbors with whom their lives remain intertwined.

Article: The Clash of Transcendence and History: The Conversion of Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Part I, by David B. Perrin

David’s article appeared within a year after Archbishop Romero was beatified, the final stage before sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Here’s the article’s abstract:

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917-1980), a Salvadoran bishop, lived during a time of great political and civil turbulence. The local Roman Catholic Church, regrettably, did little to quell the suffering of its people. Romero, in the earliest part of his episcopacy and similar to the bishops around him, fell into this space of complacency. Quite remarkably all of this was to change for Romero in a radical way with the turn of events in 1977. At this time Romero changed from an introverted conservative to an outspoken champion of his people. This article is an analysis of how such a change, such a conversion, can be framed and understood within the traditions of Christian spirituality: in the clash of transcendence and history, that is, an understanding that God meets God’s people in the events of their lives – even tragic ones as is witnessed in the people of El Salvador – is conversion wrought. What is special about Romero’s conversion in the clash of transcendence and history is the similarity of it with the lives of those whom the Church has come to know as “mystics.” Romero, in the end, gave his all to become the very Face of God, for his own people but as importantly for those of Latin America and now for the whole world. The sign of a mystic, martyr and saint indeed.

Here’s the complete citation information:
David B. Perrin, “The Clash of Transcendence and History:  The Conversion of Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Part I,” Vol. VII, No. 1, January 2016, Vinayasādhana: Dharmaram Journal of Psycho-Spiritual Formation, Dharmaram College, Bangalore, India, 53-62.

Part II will appear in the July 2016 edition of Vinayasādhana.

Book: Fruit of the Spirit: Pauline Mysticism for the Church Today, by Michael Crosby

Michael Crosby’s new book, published by Orbis Books in 2015, employs an interdisciplinary approach to interpreting Paul. His reading of the Pauline letters leads Crosby to describe Paul’s theology as mystical. From the publisher’s description:

When Saint Paul writes about the “Fruit of the Spirit” in his Letter to the Galatians, what does he really mean? What are we to make of the list Paul provides (and that others have elaborated on over the centuries)? Spiritual writer Michael H. Crosby argues that by exploring Paul’s understanding of the Spirit’s fruit, we can envision a “mystical theology” that would transcend the divide between “episcopal nomists” who think the church can simply be equated with the bishops, and the many disaffected Catholics of the past 30 years who found little in institutional Catholicism that gave them joy or hope. Using insights from biology, neuroscience, scripture, spirituality, and literature, Crosby also includes suggestions for spiritual practices to help the reader achieve the graces of the Fruit of the Spirit.