Recorded in 2010, Marc Gafni’s “Who’s Out There? Dual Citizens?” explores the audiences for a World Spirituality.
There are two broad groups of people out there we need to understand as we lay the foundation for spirit’s next move, an emergent World Spirituality.
Group One. People who are part of an ethnocentric religion (“We got the truth, you don’t,”) 70% of the world is hanging out over there.
The second group is people who have for whatever set of religion moved beyond the world religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, whatever. They no longer view themselves as part of the classical religions. Moreover, they don’t feel comfortable in the classical religions. They don’t feel held, addressed, compelled, invited.
Why? Lots of different reasons. Some of them may have actually internalized the critique of the religions introduced by modern thinking and post-modern thinking ” and we’ll look at those critiques and where they are relevant and overstated. But whatever those critiques are, they have been incorporated into the Zeitgeist, the very fabric of our contemporary context.
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People grow up today in a world without feeling they needed to be part of a religion. That wasn’t true before. Three hundred years ago that was a given. What the modern and postmodern critiques have done is enable the possibility of people to grow up and say they are beyond religions or spirituality, to say that they are beyond that. That’s group two. They don’t practice any spirituality or religion. They are living their lives generally guided by reason. They are global citizens fully removed from the religious or spiritual context.
Group three. Tens of millions of people are primary candidates for World Spirituality. Actually this group of people which might be you and might be me are already practicing a sort of World Spirituality. They are drawing from this and that seminar they went to, piecing together with bubble gum and tape some sort of spiritual life. They are citizens of the world. They don’t feel limited. They may live in a country and have some sort of loyalty, but the way they feel is that they are global citizens. Their practice is put together from different places. It is not coherent, but they are trying to find their way without rooting themselves in any particular religion. They don’t feel comfortable in any particular religion.
Group four. You may well be part of this fourth group as well –most people listening to these conversations on World Spirituality fit into group three or four. They are what we like to call in the Center for World Spirituality, dual citizens. You are a member of a particular religion: let’s say Christianity. But you are trying to evolve Christianity, you are trying to engaged in some movement of renewal of Christianity, even as you are deeply connected to Christ, Christ Consciousness, the great teaching that has come down to you. Or you might be Islamic or Buddhist or from a native religion. You are part of a religion and yet that religion doesn’t exhaust your identity. It’s not the only true religion. You practice in that system. You’re a citizen in that system. While at the same time, you’re part of the larger context of the world scene. You are a citizen of a particular religion, and a citizen of a World Spirituality.
A World Spirituality will speak to all four groups in different ways.
It will challenge the first group if it’s compelling and deep: the people who are committed to only one religion as their only and exclusive practice. What critiques do they have of a World Spirituality that are valuable and compelling?
It will challenge the second group if it offers a genuine possibility of moving beyond a religion of reason: a religion of reason leaves people profoundly empty and directionless but they don’t want to go to the religions. They aren’t aware that there is an alternative. It will speak powerfully to them if science and religion are appropriately integrated.
It will speak to group three – people who are naturally already trying to piece together their deep engagement with spirituality. It will help them organize their core principles. They are practicing some sort of de facto practicing some sort of world spirituality but are confused. They have a new seminar every three weeks. They’re trying to piece it together with their friends, but they’re not sure what values to pass down to their children.
What we want to do through World Spirituality is to offer a cogent, cohesive vision to help people guide their way as we begin together to unfold this new move of spirit.
It will also speak to the dual citizens because it will offer people a cogent vision of World Spirituality that is informed by and influenced by their chosen tradition as well as move beyond it into a World Spirituality.
World Spirituality is a compelling necessity of spirit’s unfolding for all four of these groups of people living today.