Why are so many of us, former Church People, so cynical and cranky? Even those of us, like me, who haven’t actually left the church? What’s wrong with us?
I’ve wondered about that (and what to do about it) for a while now. Thanks to Mike Cosper, I finally have an answer.
Who would’ve thought it would happen at Book Club? Who would’ve thought I’d ever end up at Book Club? I guess that’s what happens when you make new friends and ask the Holy Spirit what to do next.
I am NOT a literary. I’m not really even a writer, at least not personality wise. That fact is made painfully obvious at every writer’s conference I attend. I actually prefer Math over English because it is concrete and has nothing to do with people’s opinions.
But there I was, tucked into my corner of the couch, knees curled, a mug of hot tea cupped in my hands, listening to the Book Club members talk about pencils. Apparently there is a store in New York City dedicated to pencils and they were very excited. Then the topic switched to pens and the size pen point they like to use on their paper because of the way it feels. They might as well have been speaking Mandarin. I was that lost. I like black pens. Black pens that write smoothly without leaving excess ink on my paper. And that’s all I got. 😉
It’s good to get out of my comfort zone. Book Club is good for me. It’s good to listen to truly literary people talk about authors I’ve never heard of, and pencil stores in New York City, and favorite pen sizes. And it’s okay that I can’t contribute to those conversations. I’m learning that we need all sorts of people in our lives! We cannot live in a bubble with people who only think like us. It’s not healthy. We need to be stretched in order to grow.
Besides, we are going through a book by Mike Cosper called, Recapturing the Wonder – Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World.
Reading the title is what convinced me that I needed to join Book Club. I want transcendent faith! Who doesn’t? But as I started reading the introduction, my heart lurched. Trigger words!! This book was actually about spiritual disciples? Sneaky Mike Cosper!
I have struggled with the concept of spiritual disciplines ever since I left my legalistic church/mindset. Sure, I practice some of them, but I don’t call them disciplines. Spiritual Disciplines were too often used in an attempt to impress God and other people with our spirituality. Maybe I didn’t want to go to Book Club after all.
I resisted the urge to pitch the book across the room and kept reading. Near the end of Chapter One, I found this gem.
“But if our starting place with God is the radical grace extended through Jesus, then the spiritual disciplines are invitations, not obligations – ways of being with God, not appeasing Him.”
The first two chapters ended up being a breath of fresh air. Redeeming. Freeing. Then I got to Chapter Three and this huge light bulb exploded in my brain! Everything was weaving together and it all made sense.
We are spiritual beings living in a disenchanted world. Our modern culture doesn’t embrace the supernatural and mysterious anymore. We have logical answers and a scientific understanding for everything. It’s cut, and dry, and over. And this disenchanted world is totally unsatisfying. We long for more.
The Christian culture has bought into this idea too. We don’t expect God to actually show up, so we go overboard to “make an experience” in our church services, retreats, youth events, etc. As Mike says,
“If we’ve primed ourselves to live in a world where God doesn’t show up, then we have to figure out how to make something happen on our own.”
As a result, we live from one emotional high to another, but it doesn’t really satisfy and we kind of know that it’s fake. So we end up cranky and cynical.
We don’t know how to have an ordinary, every day life with God. We don’t know if it’s really possible. We are so busy seeking the big moments (and yet feeling cynical about them) that we miss the still, small voice of the Spirit.
“All of our religious efforts grow from hearts that long for redemption, for transcendence, and that most of all long to connect with God.
The mountaintop experiences don’t satisfy, but the presence of Jesus does, and he’s promised that he won’t forsake us” Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder.
I love this!!
Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed with the problems in our modern church. I’m frustrated by all the people who are blissfully ignorant of the problems and content within their Christian bubble. I’m angry at all the hurt that happens and gets covered up in the name of “Jesus.” But as I’ve read books, and written, and heard your responses lately, I’m also encouraged.
There are a lot of us cranky people out there! And we are seeking after Someone who will satisfy our desire for more. He probably won’t come in a whirlwind or a burning bush, but we are gonna find Him. We are going to learn to hear His still, small voice in the ordinary moments of our lives. Because He promised we would…because He wants to be found!
And we ARE the church. So, there is hope!!! 🙂