N.T. Wright describes man’s search for spirituality as a spring hidden deep within the human heart, bubbling forth from the deep places of our soul. This desire, according to Wright, is given us by our Creator God and indicates that for which we were truly created.
Wright argues that we’ve abandoned a holistic understanding of religion and spirituality. Whereas our forebears “would have gone to church, said their prayers, worshipped in this way or that, and understood what they were doing as part of the warp and woof of the rest of life, the Western world from roughly the 1780s through to the 1980s was very different. (p18)” For the past 200 years, we’ve constructed a society with clear demarcation between the sacred and the secular. In this paradigm, church life becomes separated from the constraints of “real life.” What does Saturday night have to do with Sunday morning?
As a result, members of the postmodern generation are leaving church in droves. They see no point in investing themselves in something that is inauthentic and unrelated to their real lives. Some would bemoan this attitude as a lack of spirituality. This indictment, however, is false. If you don’t think people are hungry for spirituality, check out the religion / spirituality section in your local bookstore. To the contrary, today’s seeker passionately yearns for spiritual experience. Most postmoderns, when asked, would confess a belief in some kind of Higher Power. They’re not concerned with our teleological arguments for God’s existence. They simply want to know how to experience Him.
Wright contends that this passion for spirituality is another echo of a distant voice. This is an exciting time to be a follower of Christ. People are genuinely interested in spiritual truth, in religious experience. There is a great opportunity for us to tap into this hidden spring of spirituality. Through the sharing of our stories, may we invite others to participate in the Great Story of God.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. — Ecclesiastes 3:11