Dave-ism

Away on vacation this week, I’m re-posting some of my earliest posts that still help frame how I explore faith, community and culture in my life and here on my blog. It's interesting to go back and see where I was and where I am now...

This post is from November, 2006 - “Dave-ism”:

It's a common tendency in North America to choose faith or truth on the basis of personal preference. One of my professors, John Stackhouse, has a blog post on this subject: "Spirituality: Informal, implicit, invisible..." Stackhouse refers to this phenomenon as “do-it-yourself religion.” In the smorgasbord of religion choice is left up to the individual where any sort of faith experience is completely separate from organized religion. Hence the motto, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Stackhouse is simply describing the modern context in which faith is practiced.

This type of customized personal faith leads to what Stackhouse calls “Sheila-ism.” Basically, religion and spirituality becomes a mere reflection of personal choice and experience. All you have to do is take your name and insert it in front of “ism.” Truth, meaning, and even God, end up being a reflection of oneself. While I understand this is likely a reaction against traditional religion where choice was often left to an elite few and then imposed upon society, I wonder if we have swung too far in the other direction? I wonder if an understanding of reality and faith that is completely personal (e.g. "Dave-ism") will bring sustained meaning and understanding to my life? I'm not so sure.
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The question of whether or not my life and faith is simply a “Dave-ism” is a helpful challenge to myself, and perhaps you as well…

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