Actor Andrew Keegan Starts His Own Religion
As reported by Eryn Brown in her article “At Full Circle church in Venice, picking up where earlier seekers left off,” Los Angeles Times, 21, March, 2015, (http://www.latimes.com/local/westside/la-me-full-circle-venice-20150321-story.html#page=1)
, actor Andrew Keegan, known for his notorious role in 10 Things I Hate About You, has founded his own religion. In May of 2014, after a spiritual awakening, Keegan leased a building in Venice, California where he established his church known as Full Circle. Today, converts gather in the church to participate in Active888, the Sunday morning service. According to Lauren Bans article “Om-ing by the Beach With Andrew Keegan, Former Teen Idol Turned Spiritual Guru”, each service is never the same experience. Full Circle encompasses multiple practices within its services such as “intention-setting”, alternative healing, group chanting, singing and mantras all which focus on love, happiness, beauty, peace and community.
The theology of Full Circle is difficult to identify. Bans’ article claims the group roughly follows Hinduism, whereas Keegan states the church’s purpose is to allow individuals to discover their originality and spirituality while also fighting local gentrification within Venice. At the core of Full Circle is their belief and dedication to developing and solidifying community, both locally and beyond.
This commitment to community and expression of love and unity aligns significantly with “world-rejecting/transformative” New Religious Movements as discussed in the article “The sociology of new religious movements” by David G. Bromley. Similar to Keegan’s Full Circle, these transformative movements take on an “alternative logic that resists the dominant social order” (Bromley). This is portrayed in Keegan’s support for anti-gentrification. Transformative movements stress the importance of “love, trust, family and community” as well as “emotional expressiveness” (Bromley), all of which are practiced in Full Circle.
Due to the emphasis on “We-ness” (Bromley), transformative movements tend to place little importance on the individual however in Full Circle this is not true. Keegan accentuates the importance of both community as well as the individual, which is both unique and commendable.
What I found enthralling about Brown’s article was her mention of individuals known as “nones” which are those with no religious affiliation. What is admirable about Full Circle is its ability to provide an atmosphere where these “nones” can experiment and find their spirituality as well as community. Keegan’s church brings a refreshing new spin on the new religious movements of the 60s and 70s, opening up the doors for this generation’s “nones” to believe in something greater than themselves.
Bromley, D. G. (2012). The sociology of new religious movements. In The Cambridge
companion to new religious movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Other related links:
(Lauren Ban’s article in Vulture) http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/andrew-keegan-encounter.html
(Shyam Dodge and Shanrah Wakefield’s article in Vice) https://www.vice.com/read/andrew-keegan-started-a-new-religion-814