on the professionalization of spirituality (part 2): what's next

this is part 2. see part 1 for framing.

so i had dinner with casper and posed to him my questions about the professionalization of spirituality these days. he said what’s he’s seeing is basically the disaggregation of elements of spiritual communities. religious institutions used to be like one-stop shops: they served the needs of families, single people, children, and also met needs like food, spiritual guidance, mentorship, service, personal reflection, etc. but he’s increasingly seeing that (for a number of reasons which he and his colleague explore in their beautiful reports) different organizations are taking on just pieces of those functions. so now instead of going to your religious institution for everything, you have different places and groups that meet different needs.

therefore, he believes we’re going to see two things: trade-centered spiritual groups and different models of pipelines of elders.

trade-centered spiritual groups

the old financial model of religious institutions is going to be replaced with more trade-centered groups. i can imagine things like tough mudder being examples of this. people and are willing to pay for them because of the races, but they’ll stay for the community that helps people figure out where they’re going in life.

after our conversation, i remembered that there are actually old examples of this: monastery breweries, convents that sell bread. it’s not exactly the same, but i can see the parallels.

different models of the pipeline for elders

we actually didn’t talk too much about this, but he did share one example that seems cool. it’s called altdiv school and here’s some text from their website. it’s illustrative.


Alt*Div is A self-directed, year-long learning journey for soulful community builders & A platform to support the broader re-imagining of theological education

super dope.

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