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When God Talks Back: Understanding The American Evangelical...


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Some here might be interested in the book, "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God," This is a study done by an anthropologist, Tanya Luhrmann, with the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church, an evangelical church that seems to be growing across the country.


The author was interviewed recently on NPR's Fresh Air. If anyone is interested in listening to the podcast or reading the transcript:




The focus of the church seems to be on the experiential feature of religion and experiencing God. There is much discussion about talking with God, having coffee with God and the like. Members are schooled on techniques to improve their ability to communicate with God.


The author, who seems to be personally agnostic (or just ambivalent) treats the people and the church very respectfully and makes no judgements on the authenticity of their God experiences.



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The transcript is intriguing. I have used the kind of imaginative prayer she talks about - not quite to that extreme, and I know it "isn't really God" talking back, but I seem to get the most creative and responsive following this kind of prayer.

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An excellent piece. Talking to God in best practices of the Vineyard seems very healthy.

The couple examples of people who got lost mentally shows that it should not be done without companions for feed back.


Useful distinction of two types of meditation/prayer practices


apopathic: dis-attend to external and internal worlds


cataphatic: hyper-attend to mind


I think there are those among us who practice either or both.


Even in non-theist narrative many use personal relationship language to connect with Ultimate Reality.



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