Two provocative insights surface in novelist and English professor Brad Gooch's introduction to Godtalk. The first is that the spiritual quest in America has become less superficial and "more sophisticated, more global and more interested in tradition." Borders are opening like never before between the world's cultures and religious traditions. A kind of free-trade agreement about rituals and practices is occurring, especially among the young.

The second is that "New Age" is becoming an obsolete term for the plethora of spiritual expressions originating outside mainstream Judeo-Christian religion. Even self-help books are evolving as a genre of popular wisdom literature "caught somewhere between memoir, common sense and sermon." Readers could convincingly argue that the book's subsequent chapters are comely but less than substantive elaborations of these insights based on the author's extensive, eclectic experience.

This book is quite different from the empirical assessment made in Robert C. Fuller's Spiritual but Not Religious. In contrast to Fuller's integrated evaluation, Gooch offers five unrelated snapshots of modern spiritual currents whose impact and fallout will be felt within and beyond mainstream religion.