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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
Leigh Eric Schmidt
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Since the 1960s, our expanded and enhanced spiritual explorations have changed us from a nation of church goers into a culture of seekers. But the American fascination with mystical experience and churchless spirituality goes back much further than the psychedelic era. In Restless Souls, historian Leigh Schmidt deftly traces this American romance with the interior life from the likes of transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson to television host Oprah Winfrey, from poet Walt Whitman to Senator Barak Obama, from questing psychologist William James to Zen basketball coach Phil Jackson. We' re taken from pioneer Johnny Appleseed to translator of Sufi poetry Coleman Barks, from theosophist Madame Blavatsky to meditation guru Ram Dass, and then to many more.
This book places the most recent spiritual upsurge in the context of a broader cultural and intellectual history. In contrast to prevailing fears about the conservative influence of religion in America, Restless Souls depicts a vibrantly open American spirituality and serves as a timely reminder of the ample religious resources of the liberal tradition.
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