Saturday, April 4, 2015

Just read: Religion & Public Life in the Pacific Northwest

You outdoor adventure and travel readers may only be interested in the closing paragraphs of this book review, but I’m including it here anyway.  It was a pretty interesting book for anyone curious about the religious breakdown of our Pacific Northwest region, and you can buy it from Amazon here or download it for Kindle.

This review will also be posted to my new Goodreads page:

This Pacific Northwest entry in the “Religion by Region” series is subtitled "The None Zone" and was edited by Patricia O’Connell Killen and Mark Silk.  It was required reading for me, and I already submitted my detailed report of this book to my Credentials Advisory Board.  In my report, I noted that this book would be very helpful for someone serving in ministry here in the Pac NW, as well as anyone interested in the history, evolution, and current trends in religious thought here in my neck of the woods.

The authors’ research stresses that people of the Pac NW are spiritually-minded but religiously unaffiliated, overwhelmingly so.  I appreciated that this book lays the groundwork for various religious and non-religious groups of the Pac NW to work together to “address the region’s pressing economic, environmental, and social issues."  And I was thrilled to find familiar references to the Church of God reformation movement, TomFest alternative music festival, Beaverton Foursquare Church, Lois Palau festivals at the Portland waterfront, Powell’s Books, Mazamas, etc..

As an outdoor adventure leader myself, one thing that surprised me was the authors’ take on what they referred to as “Northwest Nature Religion.”  Despite my Wesleyan Holiness leanings, by their definition I seem to be lumped in with nature worshipping religious groups.  I recognize our common passions: outdoor recreation and leadership, concern for the environment, a simple and sustainable lifestyle, and enhancement of faith in God while being out in nature.

Does that mean I worship the creation rather than the Creator?  Nope.  But I sure do enjoy the creation.

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