It won’t go away. The spirituality craze I mean. I thought it might. This is an age of faddism, and it’s also an age when people have the attention span of a gnat, but it looks like spirituality is here to stay.
New Age spirituality is a pastiche of myths, mysticism, eco-wisdom and placebo-healing. You pays your money - it ain’t cheap - and you takes your pick.
Then there is post-Diana spirituality, a wannabe popular religion, with its touchy-feely gospel, its rituals of public pathos and its sacraments of ribbons and flowers. At a deeper level it may express a longing for a lost sense of sacredness - but it can’t deliver the goods.
As for the hooey and hoo-ha of The Da Vinci Code, it too may indicate a thirst for something “more” - which is the best spin you can give it - but what it finally demonstrates is that people who are parched will drink from even the most polluted of wells.
Meanwhile, many Christians themselves run for shelter from the Pentecostal fire and wind. Some have sold our rich heritage of prayer for a mess of Jungianism, focussing on human personality and potential rather than on the mystery of God. Others have lobotomised spirituality, reducing it to the non-rational, even the irrational, sneering at “theology”. Still others have privatised spirituality, emptying it of all social significance. If the current circuit of “quiet days” implies a God who is not in the noise and conflict of the quotidian, as if we have to be somewhere else than where we actually are to encounter God, then it is a distraction.
The best definition of spirituality I know is “faith on two feet”. It is about how each of us - heart, mind and body - and all of us, as interlocking communities of interrelating people, reflect the reality of God as revealed in Christ crucified. Therefore our touchstone will not be heightened awareness, or human growth, or being in touch with buried feelings, or with peace of mind, but the agenda of the cross - speaking truth, exposing evil, practising forgiveness, pursuing non-violence. If Christian spirituality begins in prayer, it ends in politics.