Wild and woolly

Fits, Trances & Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James, by Ann Taves

American religion tends toward the wild and woolly. Pentecostals proclaim the wonders of being "fire baptized." Evangelicals testify to their personal experiences of being "born again," experiences that may have prompted them to fall powerless to the floor, cry out for mercy or shout hysterically. And adherents of alternative spiritualities attest to the life-altering wonders of shamanic ritual, Eastern meditation or 12-step recovery programs. "Experiencing religion" seems to come in almost every size and shape, and none of us can quite escape the dilemma of how best to explain the various "fits, trances and visions" that we encounter in the course of our lives.

 

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