Pop psychology. Pop religiosity. Ultimately, just a New Age guru popping off. Keen (Fire in the Belly, 1990), the bestselling author who, along with poet Robert Bly, helped spark the so-called Men's Movement, here hopes to start a fire under society in general in this new look at religion and spirituality. According to Keen, we are experiencing a spiritual renaissance. Alienated from institutional religion, people are turning to 12-step programs, Native American spirituality, goddess worship, Eastern religions. Even scientists, who once eschewed the possibility of any reality beyond that discernable through science, are embracing religion. All are seeking spiritual security in the postmodern world where so much seems to have lost meaning. What is needed, the author avers, is new organizing myths for our time, new rituals to imbue our lives with meaning, new ways of sacralizing the ordinary and our everyday lives. He invites readers to journey with him as he attempts to map the route to this new awareness. Using insights of thinkers like Paul Tillich, Erich Fromm, and Martin Buber—and examples from pop icons as diverse as Clint Eastwood and the Grateful Dead—he shows how people can read their lives as sacred texts, freeing them from the canons of organized religion, and how they can approach ``ultimate reality.'' In particular, this means a healthy embrace of sexuality and the sensual and an ability to be creatively in community with other beings (human and otherwise). A final chapter provides a sampler of rituals for the inquiring spirit. Though he would doubtless reject the phrase, Keen has produced a theology for the New Age. In the process, he has covered ground traversed better by more serious scholars, notably Tom Driver (Patterns of Grace and The Magic of Ritual). One can't help feeling that this book was written simply because, as the author himself says, ``spirituality is in.''
Read full book review >