Irreligious Seattle & The Spiritual Book Craze.
Podcast: Segment 3 from 05/22/06

Segment three of The Kindlings Muse originated from Hale's Ale Brewery & Pub on Monday May 22. Our subject is Irreligious Seattle and The Spiritual Book Craze. On today's podcast in segment three our panel of Greg Wolfe, Heather Hawkins and Bryan Burton continue their discussion Seattle's irreligiousity, taking a look at Seattle's so-called tolerance in the process.
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7 Responses to “Irreligious Seattle & The Spiritual Book Craze.

Podcast: Segment 3 from 05/22/06

  1. Bob says:

    I just finished listening to all three segments of the Kindling Muse.
    All I can say is….GIVE ME MORE!! What a great topic.

  2. “What role does prioritization play in the mix of individualistic, personal and community orientations to faith.” – Dan

    “Could each of you define spirituality?” – Rob

    Directed to Heather “ What are those “glimmers of hope” that you see happening?” – Janet

    “So what’s the big deal? Why should we care about the irreligious?” – Paul

    “Seattle is well known as a city of tolerance. Is it possible that we hold back from community or deeper relationships in Seattle to stay away from places where disagreement or intolerance might rear its head – true dialogue is costly – and rich.” – Paul

    “Do you think Seattle’s “Irreligiosity” is simply a rejection of the institutionalized church rather than a rejection of religion in general?” – Sarah

    “I’ve become bored with the typical/predictable ways that Seattle papers “address” religion/spirituality as “uncool” or “unfounded” – what good questions would you challenge the local media to ask in order to encourage illuminated journalism that truly keeps its mind open? ‘Cause I’m growing tired of the same “sermons” – especially from the “free” press. – anonymous

    “I agree with Greg Wolfe’s assertion that the Seattle religious scene exhibits a fortress mentality. What is that makes the Seattle religious community so insular and cocooned?” – Bill

    “Truth is the problem because it is about “belief” not “action;” community, shared life. Instead, aren’t’ we now irreligious because we have taken “truth” and bashed each other to death with it over the last 1700 years since Constantine?” – Paul

  3. Mike Dodaro says:

    I was taken by Mr. Wolf's metaphor of a "fortress mentality" in the culture war. To the degree that the metaphor applies, it is pretty clear who is on the inside of the fortress and whom they are trying to keep out. Conservative Christians have often been marginalized into a ghetto mentality, but it's the triumphalist liberals who are now trying to keep the rabble out.

  4. Bill and Mike:

    There is no doubt that a triumphalist mentality characterizes many Seattleites — some of whom are secular and liberal and others of whom are religious and liberal. But the sad thing, in my opinion, is that many Christians in the Northwest have decided to react to this in Newtonian fashion — an equal and opposite reaction. They become more strident, more defensive, more angry. In so doing, many of these believers lose their capacity to speak to anyone outside their own tribe. And that's unhealthy. It's certainly not what Jesus did. Of all people, Christians ought to be serene in the face of triumphalist attitudes: our hope doesn't lie in acceptance, popularity, or power. Jesus believed in persuasion — he talked to people, told stories. Why can't we do the same — in Seattle?

  5. Mike Dodaro says:

    Along the lines of the "equal and opposite reaction… more strident, more defensive, more angry." David James Duncan and Dan Wakefield, whom you've invited as speakers for Image-Magazine events, are not a good fit in the irenic persuasion mode. Duncan refers to the combination of religious right and neo-conservative politics as a "Two headed Beast". Wakefield comes tonight billed as the author of "The Hijacking of Jesus: How the Religious Right Distorts Christianity and Promotes Prejudice and Hate". Now, how is it these guys calm the tribes in the culture war? This kind of rhetoric is so common that it would be boring if it were not so prejudicial. What does it contribute other than stereotypes of conservatives that end the discussion? I guess Ann Coulter's books are selling better than Duncan's and Wakefield's so she would be too expensive to invite as the next speaker on your forum.

  6. Mike, I'm sorry, but I believe your last post has stepped beyond the boundary of civility. There is a very simple explanation to Image's policy. Since it is impossible to feature only artists who pursue an "irenic persuasion mode," Image features artists on both the politgical Left and Right. Instead of taking a tiny slice of our history — a few weeks out of 18 years — why not study the longer term? You will see something very different. You will see that we have provided a forum for artists on the Right, including such nationally renowned figures as Dana Gioia, Mark Helprin, and Larry Woiwode. Now, consider this: a journal of the arts that makes a hospitable place for artists of different political persuasions may serve a larger irenic purpose: to have both voices heard, rather than only one. They may not agree, but by participating in the same forum, they provide readers evidence of both similarities and differences. The differences are obvious and yet despite them they find that religion and imagination are important partners. In the process of airing both their opinions and their artwork, they add to the reader's ability to weigh the issues for themselves. You may wish that Image feature only politically conservative artists — but if so, just say that honestly and plainly, rather than complaining that Image has sponsored readings for a couple left of center artists in the last few weeks.

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