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Am J Community Psychol. 2008 Mar;41(1-2):22-34.

The sacred character of community life.

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Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA.


Theory and research suggest that there is a basic and irreducible human yearning for a relationship with something that transcends ourselves, something sacred. The sacred can be understood not only in individual terms, but also in terms of relationships, settings, and communities. Empirical studies indicate that the sacred has powerful implications for human behavior; it can be an organizing force and a resource to people in their most difficult times, yet it can also be a source of seemingly intractable problems. This paper reviews several of the promising steps psychologists have taken to learn about the sacred, learn from spiritual communities, and collaborate with these communities in efforts to better the world. Research and practice in this area is enriching our understanding of the meaning of community and the meaning of spirituality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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