As people with complex religious bonds become more visible in US congregations and in public life, their presence promises to shape worship, ritual, teaching, preaching, fellowship, and spiritual care across religious traditions. Spiritual care providers, especially chaplains and pastoral counselors working in pluralistic institutional contexts, need new practices and theologies to engage more effectively and faithfully with the gifts and sufferings of religiously multiple people. Yet scant literature addresses practical, pastoral questions about complex religious bonds. Using John J. Thatamanil's framing of religion as both an interpretive scheme and a therapeutic regimen, this paper illustrates the value of intersectional analysis in understanding and responding to complex religious bonds. It does so by documenting the effects of religious multiplicity, culture, family crises, migration, and relational dynamics on a Buddhist-Muslim-Christian man. It then considers his experience in light of the comparative theologies of Thatamanil and James L. Fredericks to suggest that Buddhist emptiness and the Christian doctrine of God's incomprehensibility could function as useful resources for care. Finally, it identifies resource needs of spiritually fluid people that could be addressed by scholars of Buddhist-Christian studies.


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pp. 151-161
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