Looking for God in all the Wrong or Right Places?

Check out this article summing up which is George Barna State of the Church for 2011.   (Good luck plowing through it, good material but long)  Then there is this summary article of the report that might be easier to digest.  Read it here by clicking anywhere on this sentence.

These reports points to how there is a growing disconnect between congregational life and religious experience.  I try to read interpretations of data, such as in this article, with open eyes.   So, I offer my interpretation of this study with a degree of humility.

For more than a thousand years it has been assumed disciple’s growth was “picked up” from the society; the world of Christendom was the “teacher” of the faith.  There is a surprising gap between the experiences ordinary people have of God and the experience they have of their congregations.  A growing number of people are speaking of spirituality in terms of having a direct experience with God.  People don’t connect those experiences with the religious congregations.  They feel the congregation expects their support and attendance at worship and activities, but that the congregation has no interest in their religious experience.

Congregations are to be a place where religious experience is welcomed and nurtured.  The world needs places with a sense of community, which each person’s experience of God is affirmed-or at least brought into the open.  Fellowship is not a social, but it is being a part of group that provides space for intimate storytelling and encourages members to share those deep experiences.  Congregations are needed that take any experience of God as the norm.  Thus I think a congregation that can find ways to recover mystery, so it can be shared and not judged will thrive in the coming days.  What say you?

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Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Along with the need for mystery I’d add encouraging and enlarging the imagination as well as inviting more participation. Good thoughts Rusty.


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