CNN recently reported that America is a “less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago.” There has also been an increase in the number of people expressing no religious affiliation at all, according to the report. What do you believe is the reason or reasons some people are stepping away from the church? And what can do to encourage those people to come back?
I do not agree with the conclusion in the recent CNN report that America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago. Today, people of all ages have a “hunger and thirst” for spirituality, not necessarily the formal religious structure found in the church of their childhood.
There is a great energy stirring in our country. It is the energy of transformation that is born from the desire of the human heart to experience meaning and purpose in life. They are looking for answers to questions like: “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “How can I feel love and fulfillment?” Americans (and I believe people in all the other nations on our planet) are seeking a connection with their higher power. They may call this power God, source, infinite intelligence, father-mother or universal law.
Perhaps, we in the clergy (and all religious leaders) need to look at other ways in which we can help these spiritual seekers feel connected to God, other than in the historical churches, synagogues, temples or mosque settings. Let’s keep asking ourselves how we can stretch and go beyond the x traditional, religious setting. Let us ask how we can provide counsel and support to the many who want a direct connection with their higher power, how they can learn to live a spiritual life, feeling connected with their higher power every day, in all circumstances, not necessarily a religious life where worship is practiced in a building, and at a prescribed day and time.
Those that say they desire spirituality over a religious experience, will find their way. They are on a spiritual path. God is still God and all paths lead to the one.
JERI LINN is pastor of Unity Church of the Valley in Montrose. Reach her at (818) 249-4396.