Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation

Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation

Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation

Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation

Synopsis

Just as the formative experiences of Baby Boomers were colored by such things as the war in Vietnam and the 1960s, so Post-Boomers have grown up in less structured households with working (often divorced) parents. These childhood experiences leave them craving authentic spiritual experience and also cause them to question institutions. Flory and Miller develop a typology that captures four current approaches to the Christian faith and argue that this generation represents a new religious orientation of "expressive communalism," in which they seek spiritual experience and fulfillment in community and expressive forms of spirituality, both private and public.

Excerpt

This book BEGAN LIFE SEVERAL YEARS AGO in a conversation we had about a potential follow-up project to our GenX Religion book, based on our observations of many young Christians we knew who were giving up on the relatively sterile, rationalist Protestant worship they were experiencing in their churches. In this, we saw them making what to us was a fairly radical switch from, say, a Presbyterian church or a Baptist church to a Catholic, Episcopal, or Orthodox church for, among other reasons, the full-bodied experience of a worship service in one of these traditions. The radical thing to us was that they could make that switch given the different conceptions of theology, including such strange—at least to Protestants—practices as venerating the saints, praying to Mary, or kissing the garments of the priest. When we started asking questions of these young adults, we found that they were much more interested in what we have come to call the “embodied spirituality” inherent in these traditions, where, as one person told us, participating in the different elements of the liturgy is like “being in the orchestra instead of watching a performance.”

We initially conceived of the project as “the recovery of ritual,” where we saw the central piece of what we were trying to figure out being the attraction of the embodied and ritualistic aspects of these traditions. However, as we started visiting different churches and interviewing different Post-Boomers, we quickly discovered that there was much more going on than just a “recovery of ritual” in ancient Christian traditions. There was . . .

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