I write this as an observer of the culture, and as someone who is interested in the burgeoning of the multifaceted culture of spirituality, apparent in almost every area of life. This is a quick summation of the thoughts that have been running through my head following the ROMBS Conference last weekend.
Almost ten years agonow I was invited to be a part of a Christian group who placed stalls into Mind Body Soul exhibitions, at the time what we called New Age Spirituality was becoming a noticeable part of culture. This rise in a search for spirituality away from the mainstream religions ( or possibly because of them) reflected the cultural shift from modernity to post-modernity. Questions were being asked of the religion and its power bases and at the same time the search for spirituality was being spoken about in ways it had not been before, being a spiritual person was a good thing to be and topics that would have previously been taboo were suddenly firmly on the agenda.
For the following 5 years the Mind Body Soul exhibitions grew in popularity and attracted larger and larger crowds, to be spiritual said something really positive about you as a person. Supermarkets and advertisers were quick to catch on and products were marketed according to the experience they might give you rather than on a list of facts and figures, a spiritual experience was a plus.
In the subsequent 5 years something interesting began to happen, some of the big exhibitions were replaced by a proliferation of smaller ones, village halls and pubs became popular venues, I have even been asked to advise a schools on the subject of hosting spirituality fairs as fundraisers.
Spirituality is still firmly on the agenda, people are more open to speak about spiritual things and see spirituality as an essential part of being human. One thing that challenges me is the current readiness of folk to talk about Jesus in a positive manner, most recently this trend has been highlighted for us by Jade Goody and her statements about faith and baptism.
The question to the Church today is, are we ready to engage with the God who has gone before us, do we have eyes to see, and ears to hear where he is working so that we can join in?