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'Sacred Matters' designed with 'nones' in mind

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Church on Mainstreet by Don O’Brien via Flickr.

At last, there's a magazine aimed at reaching the fastest growing religious group in the United States. "Sacred Matters," a new online venture, is dedicated to public scholarship that delves deep into the phenomenon of the so-called "nones," those who claim to be spiritual but not affiliated with any established faith group.

Hosted by Emory University, "Sacred Matters" is co-edited by Gary Laderman of Emory and Michael Altman of the University of Alabama, two scholars who aim to go against the current flow.

The magazine's premiere articles range widely across the cultural landscape: Eminent American church historian and Emory emeritus professor Brooks Holifield gives his take on "Why do Americans seem so religious?" Duke Middle Eastern studies expert Shalom Goldman contrasts American and Israeli attitudes toward medical marijuana—of course it's titled "Holy Smoke." Rounding out the offerings is Emory religion graduate student Alexis Wells' discussion of singer Beyonce as a model of liberative praxis.

In a world of ever-faster output of digital offerings tied to the subject du jour, "Sacred Matters" is dedicated to "slowing down a lot of the output around religion," says Laderman.

Both editors acknowledge this change in style and focus means the magazine won't be following the news cycle of religion and politics stories.

"We want to get off the well-worn topics and find new currents in religion and culture," says Altman. "We hope to bring interesting stories that you wouldn't expect from scholars, who nevertheless are committed to writing for a more general audience."

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