Chp 5 is one of the more important chps in Robert Webber, The Divine Embrace. Here’s why: it addresses the postmodern provocation in spirituality noted by neo-Gnosticism.
Secularism moved away from historic Christianity and spirituality into (1) a world without God, (2) a theory of progressive evolution of the species, and (3) the worship of the self. It led to heroizing the counter-cultural anti-hero and the committed free thinker. It rejected accountability to God, to others, and to one’s community.
New Age spirituality stepped in to the gap and it looked for God within the self. Here’s what Webber sees:
1. The love of the world spirituality.
2. The experience of mystery
3. A life lived by sacred principles
4. The embracing of spiritual disciplines.
The problem: each spirituality is grounded in a story. The new spirituality has a theory of God and the world, of the self, and a message/gospel. The goal is release from material existence. What are its features?
1. No beliefs.
2. No particular community
3. No demands.
How can we respond:
1. Resist by intellectual defense.
2. Adapt to the trend to shape a me-shaped spirituality.
3. Return to the ancient-future option of truth and passion grounded in God’s story of God’s embrace.