Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X
Tattoos. Body piercing. Retro. Grunge. These are some of the stereotypical images of Generation X. Look a bit harder, and the images are troubling, even heretical: crucifixes as fashion accessories, music videos with religious and sexual imagery in unashamed juxtaposition, rave masses in which prayer and ecstatic experiences aren't quite what they used to be. In this profoundly original book, Tom Beaudoin issues a provocative challenge: what if, instead of dismissing these expressions as heretical or blasphemous, we took them as serious expressions of a generation's search for a religion they can believe in? Beaudoin, himself an unapologetic member of Generation X, explores fashion, music videos, and cyberspace and concludes that his generation has fashioned a theology radically different from but no less potent or valid than that of their elders. Virtual Faith is an invitation to explore this theology with him as our guide. Beaudoin's investigation of popular culture uncovers four themes that underpin his generation's theology. First, all institutions are suspect? especially organized religion. Recoiling from perceived hypocrisy, yet hungering for spiritual experience, this generation has taken religion into their own hands. Second, personal experience is everything. GenXers want to discover everything for themselves, and every form of intense personal experience? including sex? is potentially spiritual. Third, suffering is also spiritual. Images of a suffering Jesus have a personal meaning for this generation that they don't have for their elders. Finally, this generation sees ambiguity as a central element of faith. Rather than retreating from doubt, they embrace it. This book opensa long overdue conversation about where and how we find meaning, and how we all can encourage each other in this central human searching. Parents and religious leaders of all religious persuasions will gain an understanding of GenX theology in its own terms.