Alternative Altars: Unconventional and Eastern Spirituality by Robert S. Ellwood

By Robert S. Ellwood

Filenote: PDF is searchable photo ocr, 212 pages with Front/Back cover.

The explosive occasions of Jonestown and Koreagate have riveted the eyes of the USA at the burgeoning and principally misunderstood circulate of latest non secular cults. Robert S. Elwood makes an attempt to additional our knowing of those occult, mystical and japanese religious hobbies within the usa via putting them in a a distinctively American context, demonstrating that they're neither new or alien.

This compact quantity combines awesome volume of historic info with present interpretative theories approximately deepest pilgrimages and sectarian differentiation. the writer covers quite a lot of emergent, non-normative spiritual kinds and notes that they've omprised myriad members, every one following comparable styles of private excursus or quests for internal recognition. After discussing the typical beneficial properties of such religious festiveness, Ellwood highlights Shaker Spiritualism, Theosophy, and as illustrative of a continuing and sundry culture of non secular experimentation in America.... possibly this book's maximum contribution is to make it most unlikely to any extent further to disregard those religions as real expressions of non secular crisis which mainline church buildings attempt vainly to demonize
-- Religion experiences Review

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Extra info for Alternative Altars: Unconventional and Eastern Spirituality in America (Chicago History of American Religion)

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Enacted in the praxis of the excursus The noncompetitive stance is typically reli- maintained by advancing (particularly in the diffuse promotion) a single, simple which can produce fairly immediate and perceptible subchange and can be practiced alone or in a small, ad hoc practice jective group quite independent of the kind of elaborate structural ramifications of the parish church. activities and Meditation, yoga, mediumship, chanting, and exciting concepts like those of Theosophy (as much as anything, this last is a spiritual way in which the transformative power comes from simply thinking over mindexpanding ideas) would be examples.

The cosmology is and to stress that likely to feature a nondualist Absolute rather than a personal God, and sin is a violation of rules which is punished automatically by karma, thus fulfilling the rule of order on the metaphysical plane. But between the Absolute and the more chaotic world here below there is likely to ordered hierarchy of intermediate masters, range a vast but spirits, polytheistic gods, or kabbalistic spheres. This pleroma suggests at once the order and compulsion of a vast strong grid and group assembly to which one is privy, and the reality of numinous but anthropomorphic beings with whom one can have a warmer relation than to the impersonal Absolute.

Zen also has a self- replenishing charismatic leadership in principle, though the training process is quite stylized. Theosophy has become quite definitely changed in the direction of routinization in its second and especially third generations of leadership, no longer claiming mediums little different Chapter 36 the sort of charisma ers, It and transcendent communication of its found- but content simply to propagate may also 2 its teachings. be noted that excursus religious groups have most of the general characteristics of withdrawal groups: a tendency to reach (young people, older women, and so on) rather than the families and demographic cross-sections one would expect ethnic or community religions to reach; easy but definite entry procedures; provision for meaningful participation by nearly all members (or at least serious members) in responsible as isolated people or a single status class , well as receiving roles.

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