Thanks to an email from Alex, a regular Church of the Churchless visitor, I learned about Don Cupitt's book, "Above Us Only Sky." It's short and inspiring, a paean to finding meaning through "solar" living of our everyday life.
By solar, Cupitt means...
We accept and we joyfully affirm life and its limits, traditionally described as Time, Chance, and Death. We no longer wish to veil the truth about life, nor do we dream of somehow being able to transcend its limits. Instead, our religion is now our joyful and immediate engagement with life, just as it is.
For a long time, during my true believing days, I felt that my goal should be to attune myself with some hypothesized Sun of Ultimate Reality -- to find a way to bask in its warmth and be absorbed into its gravitational attraction.
Now, I'm comfortable with being my own source of meaning. In other words, I'm much more concerned with what is radiating from me, rather than what is being beamed into me.
This is an active, not passive, approach to living. It doesn't deny that other people and the physical world exist, but accepts that how we relate to reality is our subjective responsibility -- not an objective given to be imposed from outside.
Here's how Cupitt describes solar living in more detail.
Solar living, then, precisely reverses the traditional Western account of the religious life. It is living by continual self-outing, or expression -- which explains why modern people attach so much importance to coming out with it, declaring themselves, and generally feeling uninhibitedly to be themselves in public without concealment.
But since the Middle Ages in the West the individual's religious life has commonly moved in the opposite direction, being described as a second 'interior' or 'spiritual' life, a life of hidden inwardness in which the soul related itself to the invisible God who was its Ground and its End.
The language used implied rather sharp distinctions between body and soul, and between outer appearance and inner reality. Everyone was an amphibian, living simultaneously in two worlds or at two levels, like an actor or a spy.
Your apparent, outward or bodily life was a life of social relations with other people in this visible world, but at the same time you were also withholding part of yourself in order to live a second, inward life in which you continually referred everything to the eternal God.
To do religion you sought solitude and stillness, sat still, shut your eyes, recollected yourself, and turned into your own interior mental space.
I reject this traditional Western [and also, I'd say, Eastern] picture utterly, insisting that there is no interior core-self with a hotline to Eternity. We just are our own outer lives in time, and our public life of self-expression just is our religious life. There is only the outward, passing show of things.
Our language is a single, outsideless, human continuum, and the world that our language gives us is also a single outsideless continuum. There is only one world, and only one self.
We are not dual, amphibian creatures, and religion is not concerned with any other world than the everyday world. Religion is simply our own activity in trying to get ourselves into the most affirmative and productive relation to life that is attainable.
That is not easy, however: we will not get it right until we have learnt to look head-on at the insubstantiality, chanciness, and transience of everything -- including ourselves -- and have found the courage and the faith to say Yes to life in the face of all that. All of which, I warn you, is going to be very tough.