“Spiritual But Not Religious:

Seeking Transcendence in a Secular Age”

A Discussion of Christianity and Pacific Northwest Spirituality
 7:00 pm, May 2nd, 2014
University Presbyterian Church

4540 15th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105


The Pacific Northwest has some of the lowest rates of “religious” observance in the world. The Northwest is filled with people who describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” Most of them believe in some sort of spiritual reality or higher power but they would never darken the door of a religious institution.

For these “secular spiritualists” the experience of the “divine” occurs outside the boundaries of institutional religion. God is not found in institutions, books, dogmas, or preachers, god is found outside, and god is found in oneself. These Northwest forms of secular spirituality tend to be episodic, elastic, environmental, emotional and individualistic.

The Christian church in the Northwest has struggled to both understand and engage this new cultural reality.

Come and hear from a collection of thoughtful Christian scholars as they reflect on the meaning and significance of secular spirituality for the Christian church in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. James K. A. Smith (Calvin College) will give an opening lecture on the phenomenon which will then open up into a panel discussion with responses from three local panelists, Dr. James Wellman (University of Washington), Dr. Chelle Stearns (Seattle School of Theology and Psychology) and Dr. David Leong (Seattle Pacific Seminary). The panel will be moderated by Dr. Matthew Kaemingk from the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture and closed by Rev. Ashley van Dragt of Graduate Christian Fellowship.

These local experts will contextualize the conversation for our reality here in the Pacific Northwest and help us think about how the Church is to understand and engage a culture in which secular spirituality is the norm.

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