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What the “new religious person” will be like

By Staff | Aug 24, 2018

Many thanks to my friend Ethel Hornbeck, director of spiritual formation at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, for sending me this quote from her former mentor, Franciscan nun and theologian Ilia Delio, Ph.D. It aptly describes what the “new religious person” of the 21stcentury will be like.

“The new religious person is grounded in practices of meditation and is earth-centered, scientifically literate, interspiritual, communally oriented, open to emerging forms of religion and, while open to religious traditions, not bound or constrained by tradition. In other words, religion is not a closed system for the 21st century seeker but an open system that flows into and out of other systems such as science, ecology, socialization and politics.

“In this respect, the new religious person arising in the 21st century is horizontally transcendent and by this I mean that the search for God is not oriented above but in the other. Transcendence means being drawn out of oneself and into the other by way of vision. This incarnational spirituality reflects the deep hidden presence of God in our world. The worldliness of the world is no longer the obstacle to God (as we were taught in the novitiate!) but the very place of God’s self-becoming. It is a new religious consciousness which requires new forms of religious life and new levels of creative freedom. For the new religious person may or may not be celibate, may or may not belong to a religious tradition, may or may not be gay or straight, may or may not be married, may or may not be of the East or of the West. What marks the new religious person is being locally communal, globally aware, scientifically open, less bound by laws and dogmas but attracted to rituals of belonging.

“As a new religion of the earth emerges, I anticipate that religious life in the 21st century will be more provisional and local rather than institutional and permanent.”

Note the qualities of open mindedness to what is new and perhaps somewhat outside one’s comfort zone. Note that it involves a new consciousness. Note that it centers on the earth. Need help with this? Call Bill.

Bill O’Brien is a Shamanic Practitioner and Consciousness Coach. He can be reached in Shepherdstown at billobrienconsciousnesscoach@gmail.com or 304-876-6071.