Most recently, I’ve been learning about so-called “Nones”—the religiously unaffiliated who answer “none” when asked with what religion they identify. Many people assume that Nones are atheists or other types of unbelievers. But, in fact, the majority hold beliefs and engage in spiritual practices that aren’t entirely inconsistent with those of the religious institutions they often reject. What’s more, many unbelievers celebrate and nurture the human spirit, engaging in practices of meaning-making that wouldn’t be entirely foreign to many religious folks. Still, Nones are hardly traditional in their approach to meaning-making, self-realization, and self-transcendence. Likewise, those who do think of themselves as religious unbelievers of one sort or another continue to wrestle with Big Questions of meaning and value that have animated religious thinkers and philosophers for eons.
For the past few years, I’ve been traveling around the United States interviewing Nones, conducting focus groups and narrative surveys to get beyond the demographic data that has poured out on the religiously unaffiliated for the past few years. I’ve also interviewed more than 100 Nones from Maine to Maui about their spiritual lives. Gleanings from the surveys, focus groups, and interviews will find their way into my next book, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, which will be published by Oxford University Press later this year.
Meanwhile, please amble around my website, where you’ll find more about my writing projects, and information about upcoming speaking. You’ll also find information about my previous books, Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse, 2011) and, with Keith Anderson, Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012), and links to my writing on other platforms. My most recent commentary is likely to appear on the magazine I edit with Keith Anderson, The Narthex, which explores the changing contours of American religion.