“Religion is not useful in a rational sort of way… I don’t want to go into a church to discover the rational things of life.” Nick Cave with Krista Tippett
Storyteller Garrison Keillor, once said, “We go to church every Sunday for one reason. That is, for just a few moments, to step out of this life and into the next.”
We long for a transcendent world, one that feels not the burdens, sorrows, and sadnesses of our present lives, but rather, one that extends into the mysterious, the loving, and the life filled full in the goodness of the Divine.
Transactional and Checklist Love
Unfortunately, those mysterious needs, those very basic and primal human needs are very often not met by the transactional church which seems to live by a tit-for-tat checklist managed and measured by God (and leaders/members of such a church).
I think much of the reason for this can be found in a couple ways: the first is the brokenness of the human condition. We simply refuse to accept the truth that we are worthy of the goodness of God. But then we are. Born in the very image of the Divine, created for love and divine acceptance.
The second reason is altogether different. It has to do with the impacts of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. This hugely influential thinking which proposes the universe can best be understand through logic and rational thinking, which is appropriated largely by science with unapologetic refusal for considering the mysterious.
We are stuck. The church is stuck.
The Righteous Remnant
Despite all the sadness and disappointments with God and religious traditions, we are not left without a grand plan of hope. In times when life seems totally awry, God has always achieved his most vibrant work in the heart of the righteous remnant—those refusing to accept the limitations of the human status quo in lieu of the somewhat hidden and sometimes obscure simple truths of the Gospel.
And those truths are often not logical. (Well… they are logical given the assumptions with which one begins the process.) In the eyes of many of the early church saints, intimacy with God is the primary goal for life, here now and forever. Such a relationship requires thoughtfulness, contemplation, and a sort of “reordering” our thought processes.
Bathed in Warm Love
How it is that we “bathe” in the goodness and love of God if not for exclusive relational times of prayer and pondering? The tepid bathwaters of transactional religion fails to delight us in the warmth of the Divine.
We long for the warm “spirit” of love and acceptance into the Kingdom of Hope, a hope that is sure. One that offers delight today and eternal pleasure tomorrow.
So, if you’re wondering and questioning the “reason” behind religion, begin with your heart and allow it to lead your head into what I call salvific logic—i.e. the logic of the Divine.
A Whole New Look at Divine Logic
Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto