Our Need for Religious Experience: Part 1, We Need to Bump Into God From Time to Time

Last summer I had a wonderful conversation with Brian Smith while visiting our dear friends the Bywaters in St. Albans. During that conversation Brian said something that really struck and has stuck with me.

Among many of the things we talked about, Brian and I were discussing faith in a secular age, church-going in particular. An increasing amount of people, younger adults in especially, just don't find going to church very compelling. Brian's observation was that unless one is encountering God at church--having a religious experience of the sacred and divine--then church isn't going to be very attractive to people.

That might seem to be a fairly obvious observation, but I think Brian put his finger on something very important. That is why his comment has stayed with me.

Yes, it seems obvious that we'd go to church to encounter God, but that's not happening for many of us. And while some of this is a problem with the church--so feel free to pile on--a lot of the problem, as I'll argue in these posts, has to do with how we have closed ourselves off to having religious experiences. And if you cut yourself off from religious experiences, you cut yourself off from what makes faith vital, energized and passionate.

For many Christians--and especially post-evangelicals going through a season of deconstruction--faith is being increasingly reduced to political activism and ethics. And while politics and ethics are really important things, we need to bump into God from time to time if we want to sustain faith across the long haul.

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