You Can’t Put God in a Box is about reflexive spirituality—a thoughtful, reflective kind of spirituality that we see both inside and outside of traditional religious institutions such as churches. Reflexive spirituality is about the pursuit of spiritual meaning, and it’s particularly appealing to people I call “educated spiritual seekers”—people who strongly value reason but are also interested in spiritual insights that narrow rationalism might miss out on.
In their search for meaning, people who practice reflexive spirituality prefer metaphor to literalism, spiritual experience to doctrinal belief, religious pluralism to religious exclusivism or inclusivism, and ongoing inquiry to “final answers.” They find inspiration in liberal theologies of any number of faiths, and allies among the “spiritual but not religious.”
You Can’t Put God in a Box draws on original sociological fieldwork to describe how people practiced reflexive spirituality in an urban United Methodist church, an interfaith adult education center, and a variety of secular settings. These descriptions offer a window into the theological thinking of educated spiritual seekers and religious liberals as they find the intersection between “what’s inspiring” and “what makes sense.”
Find You Can’t Put God in a Box at these links:
Barnes & Noble
Oxford University Press
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Reviews of You Can’t Put God in a Box
“Kelly Besecke compellingly captures the notion of reflexive spirituality—the idea that under conditions of modernity, pluralism, and a rationally-dominated world, we increasingly carry on an internal dialogue about religion—and does more. She advances the discussion, sorting out its nuances and applications. Her writing is engaging and beautifully presented, blending scholarship and narratives that give life to her analysis of reflexive spirituality.”
– Wade Clark Roof, J.F. Rowny Professor of Religion and Society Emeritus and Research Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara
“You Can’t Put God in a Box offers a rallying cry for meaning makers.”