Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Living Beyond Functional Atheism

I've been reflecting lately on the fact that I walk through too much of each day as if God does not exist. In other words, I go through the daily stuff of life with a totally secular point of view. I'm not beating myself up about this. It's just the reality of the world we live in. It's the air we breath. We live in a scientific age, a logical world that we can explain life according to the principle that if we do a certain set of activities that we will get a certain set of results. It's a world that tells us that we are in control. And if we feel out of control, we need to attain more information so that we can get back to that place of control.

This is called a disenchanted world. Before the development of events of the last 300 years in the West, to walk through a day as a functional atheist was unheard of. The world was full of mysteries that could not be explained. But now we know everything and if we don't know it all we have to do is find out on our smart phones. Enchantment is gone. Mystery, wonder and the presence of otherness is a distant memory.

In addition, we cannot go back to a pre-disenchantment state. We are shaped by disenchantment, whether we like it or not. There are those idealists who look to the past and call us to return back to something experienced in the past, as if we don't really live in this world. All that results in is a church life that has nothing to do with the life we live every other day of the week. We need fewer of those voices. Instead we need voices calling us to encounter God in the realities that we face day-in day-out. That's where God is. He's here now with me in this coffee shop with the blaring music and the 1000s of cars speeding by in this crazy big city of Houston.

I cannot adopt the plan of encounter God that someone else developed. I have to encounter God right here, right now in the mystery of his presence. He meets us in the midst of the disenchantment and pulls us into his otherness, his mystery.

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