As a church in the post-modern 21st century, we are in the sea of changing spirituality. People are redefining for themselves what it means to be spiritual apart from the church. We must pay close attention to questions people are asking and stop trying to tell people what we think they should believe. Churches are repeating the same answers my generation rejected more than half a century ago, and people of all ages think now that churches are irrelevant.
People are asking spiritual questions, and churches, by and large, are promoting antiquated institutionalism. People want to know how to stay alive and maintain their mental health, and churches are spending time talking about returning to old rituals. People are asking questions that arise from the depths of their souls, and churches are only offering escape of emotional ritualism. People are exploring the spiritual journey of daily life, but churches are focused on the artificial separation of sacred and secular.
The pandemic will leave a trail of pain and grief in its path, and the church must be ready to help people find sacredness in their experiences. We must bring the message of hope in Jesus to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. We must be the message of abundance in God to those who are experiencing scarcity. We must bring the message of love and acceptance to those who are experiencing hatred and rejection. We must be ready to provide healing grace to those who were hurt by their friends and neighbors.
Religions and religious expressions must change with time, or it will become obsolete. At times changes come slowly, and small adaptations will do. But at times change comes like a tornado that destroys everything in its path and we are left with nothing more than debris of what once was. The post-pandemic landscape for churches will be different than what we have known in the past; some say it will be so different that it will be unrecognizable. Even if the government tells us that it is safe to be with others, people will still keep their social distance and will be afraid to touch one another. Even when they are told that it is safe to attend a worship service, many will stay away.
Churches must show new expressions of the spirituality of the post-modernity. It is not in ritualism or emotionalism, but it will be in the sacredness of daily life. Younger generations are rejecting the idea that they will kill themselves for a corporation, but they want to experience the fruits of their labor. They want honest answers regarding scriptures. They want to know how to live their lives here on Earth, not about what will happen after they die. They want to experience spirituality for themselves, not being told by someone what to do. We need genuine answers to genuine questions.
We must not be afraid of human experiences and human spirituality. The new spirituality will not separate sacred and secular but will find the sacredness of secular life. Our discussion must be about the spirituality of the human experience. This is spiritual humanism.
I believe God is big enough to handle questions people may have and is not offended by our doubts. Let us be honest with one another and help each other find genuine answers to questions of our hearts.