Featured Book: The New Spirituality: An Introduction to Progressive Belief in the Twenty-first Century


You would be “hard pressed to find a more accessible guide” than this book to progressive spirituality, Rice University’s Ann Gleig warrants in her Religious Studies Review critique. Naomi Goldenberg, religious studies professor at University of Ottawa, reckons that Gordon Lynch’s book “will likely be regarded as the classic text about our contemporary western religious scene.”

In it, Lynch demonstrates, The Living Spirituality Network observes, “the theological coherence, historical lineage, and social conscience of progressive spirituality.” This is marked by four concerns, Gleig submits: “the desire for forms of spirituality that resonate with the values of modern liberal societies; the rejection of patriarchal religion; the attempt to harmonize science and religiosity; and the quest for ecologically friendly forms of religiosity.” For researchgate.net, Cardiff University’s Alp Arat adds, “As rightly identified by Lynch, this [emergent ideology] represents a clear trend towards an increasingly panentheistic conception of God.”

In his book, Lynch maintains that it will be only in cultivating progressive spirituality, “focused on the immanent divine, that we can hope to…move beyond demoralization in the West.” A faculty fellow at the Centre for Cultural Sociology at Yale, he holds a named professorship in modern theology at Britain’s University of Kent.

The New Spirituality: An Introduction to Progressive Belief in the 21st Century
By Gordon Lynch
I.B. Tauris & Co., 2007