Wuthnow, Robert. After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

The Author

Robert Wuthnow

Professor of Sociology at Princeton University

Selected Quote

“It is thus practice, rather than a spirituality of dwelling, that is most capable of generating a balanced perspective on the sacredness of the world. By engaging in spiritual practices, the practitioner retreats reflectively from the world in order to recognize how it is broken and in need of healing; then, in recognition that the world is also worthy of healing because of its sacral dimensions, the practitioner commits energy to the process of healing. In her book on contemplative prayer, Joan Chittister expresses this paradoxical relationship between spiritual practice and the world. ‘Contemplative prayer…is prayer that sees the whole world through incense—a holy place, a place where the sacred dwells, a place to be made different by those who pray, a place where God sweetens living with the beauty of all life. Contemplative prayer…unstops our ears to hear the poverty of widows, the loneliness of widowers, the cry of women, the vulnerability, the struggle of outcasts.’”⁠1

1 {Wuthnow, 1998 #349@197}

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