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When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church Paperback – January 14, 2014
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About the Author
She writes for a wide audience in the Huffington Post, Christian Century, Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and Books and Culture, but on Sundays you can find her preaching at First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa, where she serves as Senior Minister.
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1455523097
- ISBN-13 : 978-1455523092
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
- Publisher : Jericho Books; Reprint edition (January 14, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #736,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Still, while she never really offers a clearly outlined argument as to why "Spiritual But Not Religious" is not enough, many of the chapters are laugh-out-loud funny or tear-wrenchingly moving. It's a quick, easy read, and was a great selection for our book club. We had a great discussion on the true meaning/function of Church and how to relate to people in our lives who are generally anti-Church.
Chapter one of "When 'Spiritual But Not Religious' is Not Enough" regaled me by boldly claiming what is often seen as a forbidden sentiment for someone in my position: I find the SBNR narrative (i.e., the "heilsgeschichte" or "salvation story") to be rather boring and self-serving. Daniel captures it perfectly: "Let me guess, you read The New York Times every Sunday, cover to cover, and you get more out of it than the sermon. Let me guess, you exercise and where do you find God? Nature. And the trees, it's always the trees during a long hike, a long run, a walk on the beach. And don't forget the sunset. These people always want to tell you that God is in the sunset." (5) She goes on from there to point out what most clergy and many SBNR folks have come to experience first-hand: "...push a little harder, on this self-developed religion, and you don't get much, at least not much of depth. So you find God in the sunset? Great, so do I. But how about in the face of cancer? Cancer is nature too. Do you worship that as well?" (6) Some will be put off by Daniel's sharpness and candor, but it is also clear that her critique is rooted in pastoral concern. SBNR works great when life is working great, not so good when times are tough.
The remaining chapters present a series of short stories organized loosely around the themes of searching and praying, confessing, communing, wandering, wondering, and remembering and returning. Daniel artfully weaves together reflections on everyday experiences and about the church that many of us have come to know and love--the rough and ready church full of imperfect people who together create imperfect communities. I finished the first chapter thinking that I was in for a quick read that would affirm all my basic assumptions about the subject (and who doesn't appreciate that from time to time!). But as I parsed through the stories, I began to sense that there was more going on beneath the surface. I think the most significant contribution of this book is that it clears some common ground on which honest dialogue about what SBNR means can take place. It enticed me to return to the table and reengage in a conversation that is sorely needed, both by the church and by those who claim SBNR as their creed. Like everything that Lillian Daniel writes, this book is a delight to read, and full of wit and humor. My one criticism is that it suffered somewhat for inadequately framing the discussion. I wanted a concluding chapter to help tie together some of the threads that appeared in the stories. Nonetheless, I think it is a worthwhile read for clergy and laity and would serve well as a conversation piece for any kind of small group.