American religion is a mass of contradictions. We want community, but on strictly individual terms. We want human closeness without feeling cramped or obligated. We want a personal God who doesn’t ask much personally. We want mystery, but in a controlled, non-disruptive way. We want a faith that’s fulfilling, practical, earthy, tolerant, transcendent, fun, empowering, morally serious without being morally demanding, a faith that restores wonder and deepens intimacy, and we want it not to cost too much or take up too much time.
—Mark Buchanan, “A New Beginning” (in Books and Culture)