A Way Back to Soul – Part 8

 

In several places I’ve read and heard Richard Rohr say something like:

Christianity has become a religion of membership rather than a religion of transformation.

Rohr opines that even though the U.S. continues to be one of the most religious countries on the planet, there’s very little evidence that participation in church is creating Christians who embody the simple values of the carpenter from Nazareth.  Rather, church has become another place where people are encouraged to give intellectual assent to information about God rather than encouraged to simply encounter God.I’ve expressed my opinion that this precisely why many have turned away from organized religion.  And worse, why many people decide they either have no faith, or have somehow “lost” that faith.

There certainly are those, as evidenced by comments to my last post, who argue that getting the information correct is critical.  They may be right.  I just don’t think so.  I’ve suggested a few reasons why in previous posts, and I could lay out a few more reasons, but it seems to me that this is not time well spent. Intellectual arguments don’t transform people.  I guess I agree with thinkers, like C.S. Lewis, who also says a focus on such arguments is exactly what distracts us from the real purpose of the spiritual journey.

If you’re confident in your theology, and it serves your journey toward living a life consistent with the challenges Jesus poses in the Gospels, then my little “project” here is really not that important to you.

However, if you are among those who find religion to be less and less relevant, then the question I’d ask is: Can you still trust love?

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About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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3 Responses to A Way Back to Soul – Part 8

  1. Linda Filgo says:

    Love is all there is.

  2. KONeal says:

    Wes, you asked “Can you still trust love”? Is say yes. My faith journey has not met a crisis in that I’ve abandoned faith or even mainstream religion. But, I certainly relate to some of your postings and to some of what Donald Miller describes. In recently reading Miller’s book Searching for God Knows What, he discusses (and I apologize if my summarizing misrepresents him) the disenchantment with formulaic focus in some religions and the beauty and importance of relationship – with Jesus Christ, with God. When I try to step back from it all and look with larger focus – I without-a-doubt embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and our majestic creator God. But I also suspect that, as humans often due (or is that always), humans have just maybe mucked up God’s plan a bit. To me, that allows the possibility that perhaps exactly how we teach, preach, and practice Christianity may not quite be an exact manifestation of God’s plan. And I agree with you Wes in that intellectual arguments about what’s amiss – or not – will not transform me. It never has. What has transformed me is relationship . . . with Jesus Christ, with God. It that real or a brain illusion? I have no idea; I am an expert of neither neuroscience nor accepted theological doctrine.

  3. Angela says:

    “Can I still trust love?” Yes. Absolutely. Love that is real. Love of a god who doesn’t actually exist? No.

    On the subject of whether intellectual arguments on religious matters are time well spent… well, that’s kind of why I have opted out of commenting on many of these posts. It is not that I don’t think they are important topics to be discussed, but among people who have already made up their minds and have no interest in anything outside of that I feel it is time rather poorly spent. I have been reminded that most arguments in forums such as these are really for the multitudes of silent readers who do not comment and are undecided and thoughtful as opposed to the very outspoken who will not be swayed by anything one might have to say and I think that is a good point to remember. However, that does not keep it from being an infinitely frustrating topic to talk to many people about and for me, those particular situations are time and emotion very poorly spent. I am on the other hand endlessly thankful for the people who lovingly labored to challenge and talk sense into me when I was imprisoned in a world of nonsensical dogma and doctrine, but unfortunately I am not that even-tempered nor patient about this particular topic to be as benevolent yet. I desperately hope to be some day.

    Have intellectual arguments transformed me, however? I would say vehemently so, as they have pushed me far far very far away from Christianity and all such religions and have helped me happily and wondrously embrace the awe of science, astronomy, evolution, and other wonderful ways in which the earth, universe, people and all living things work in real life. That is love. That is true beauty. And it is wonderfully amazing. ❤

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