You too can be a spiritual dilettante

National_Cathedral_Sanctuary.jpgGetReligion has offered few sympathetic words for Sally Quinn or for On Faith, the religion blog that she founded with Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. As many readers will remember, Quinn identified herself as an atheist until Meacham challenged her assertion. Since then, her specialty has been a spiritual dilettantism that declared evangelical women to be hyprocrites if they supported Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy and that invited President-elect Obama to attend Washington National Cathedral because it's such a pluralistic house of worship.

Now On Faith, in the name of social progress, is encouraging its readers to engage in a similar drive-by pluralism. Quinn writes:

Here's what we're inviting you to do.

Try a new faith (or non-faith) for one day. That exploration can include attending a different place of worship or an event hosted by another faith tradition, discussing faith with someone whose views differ from your own, or inviting someone of a different faith to experience yours.

Then come back to the site and tell us about your experience. What did you learn? What surprised you? What bothered you? What would you like to know more about? How did you experience with another faith impact your understanding of or appreciation for that faith or for your own? Take a picture and share that too.

Asking questions about another person's spiritual experience for one whole day? Such boldness!

On Faith's venture is, in some ways, a creative effort at reader participation, and some valuable insights may somehow emerge from the experiment. What's so off-putting about the venture, however, is the editors' assumption that readers are not already engaged in civil and frequent conversations with people of other faiths (or non-faiths, to use On Faith's pedantic formula).

That may be true of editors who inveigh against people to their political and theological right, but for many others of us in daily American life, such interaction is not only inevitable but something in which we rejoice.

Photo of Washington National Cathedral used under a Wikimedia Commons license.

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