To start the year, let’s take a look ahead. What issue dealing with religion do you think Americans — or people around the world — will be talking about in a year that we are not discussing today?
Of course, there is some hoping and dreaming in all of this. But it is easy to get caught up in the rush of events and focus only on today. For a moment, let’s look over a longer horizon. We asked the Texas Faith panel this question:
What religious issue is likely to gain traction in 2014?
From health care, the gap between rich and poor, the Middle East, genetic medicine, Islam and the West, and most especially Pope Francis, our experts on religion and faith have predictions that are thoughtful, upbeat and diverse.
AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms
Mine is not so much a prediction, but a wish: the complete re-imagining of spiritual services. For over 2000 years church and temple has been literally by the book, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Koran. The central focus has been reading and commenting on scriptures and the singing of hymns or chants. Even most New Thought and pagan services are variations on Protestant church.
As we shift from the age of belief to the age of experience, the focus will be less upon the written word as we become more concerned with connection. As our work and play lives are increasingly enmeshed with technology, we yearn for embodied experiences. Most of us are deluged with data, increasing the appeal of wordless worship. A first step would be creating services elements that appeal to all learning styles, including visual, verbal, aural and kinesthetic, and accommodate both the social and solitary.
A tremendous challenge lies ahead!
Read the Panel