Greetings from the Heartland,
Today institutional religions are in crisis. People are going elsewhere to find what can feed, sustain and speak to the human spirit. In the search for relevance, there seems to be a mass exodus underway from organized religions. I have at various times in my life been one of those people myself. Put off by inflexibility, intolerance, and especially the poverty of critical thinking. But at root of this exodus I see the loss of the ability to imbue the symbols and rituals of faith with the meaning and life-giving energy that issues from them, leading people, I believe, to find other means that speak to an inherent religious sensibilities, to bring meaning and value to our everyday lives, and thereby spiritual maturity.
There continues to be a spirit at work in our churches and in our lives. I see it as enlarging our perspective, having a more open approach and a more inclusive, embodied spirituality. Part of what has impelled my own studies and search is the wish to come to a truer understanding of the roots of our Judeo-Christian heritage and bring this understanding to bear on a spirituality/religious sensibility that engages the whole person in a healthy and balanced way. I believe we need this new perspective and approach because what has become so familiar has lost its power to teach, inspire, guide and above all enable an encounter with the sacred, within and without, privately and in the larger human community. Participation in institutional religions may be on the decline, but I hope as we continue to search we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.