Empiricism & Experientialism
There is a third aspect, not unrelated to the above, of the politics of religious experience. This is the apparent tension between objective, empirical research versus experiential, hands-on spirituality. In his history of the AHS John Franklin (2006, P22, P37, pp45-46, & P49) refers to issues around this area such as pastoral care, counselling responsibilities, and the academic side of the Society. Interestingly, the course I studied on Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology offered core modules in both empirical research methodology and integrated experiential learning. The danger is, of course, again one of perceived academic respectability. There are a multitude of organisations offering opportunities for experiential practices but the majority of these are not academic.
My view then is that, as far as research is concerned, experiential approaches are useful and necessary provided they are performed for a specific purpose and use a stated methodology. However, as researchers, hands-on spirituality should never be simply an opportunity to experience for experience's sake.