The Need for a Twenty-first Century Spiritual Anchor 05-01-2014

We throw our faith anchor into the twenty-first Century Ocean and find our rope isn’t long enough. The length of rope that worked for our ancestors no longer works for us. The ocean has gotten deeper. The uncharted globe has become the pluralistic global village accessible by internet, cell phone, and global positioning satellites.

The spirituality that sustained our great-grandparents doesn’t have enough breadth to weather the postmodern storms. When confronted with interfaith dialogue, we lack adequate answers and the holes in our faith become apparent. When all we knew was fried chicken and spuds, it satisfied. But now, across the street there’s chicken curry at the Thai restaurant, Tandoori chicken at the Indian restaurant, and Kung Pao chicken at the Chinese restaurant.

The world is shrinking. And now we have access to anything, including powerfully rich spiritual traditions from the East. So, if we’re going to stay with Christianity, it will have to withstand comparison shopping. Accepting Jesus as personal savior, going to church weekly, and hearing comforting words about deliverance on the last day may no longer sustain us. This may have worked for our ancestors and it may work for traditional people who have chosen not to look past their back yard. But there are many, including me, for whom the standard exclusive model of Christianity doesn’t completely satisfy.

So where do we go?

The “God-shaped hole,” as Augustine put it, yearns to be filled in every generation. The yearning for God may be more acute in this generation than ever before. For we live in an age of spiritual homelessness—an age of spiritual poverty. Not only do we find homeless people walking our streets. We also find the spiritually homeless—people without an anchor—people without the enduring stability and roots that come from generations-old faith communities. In America alone, there are increasing numbers of people disconnected from their spiritual source. In fact, it is estimated that thirty-five million Americans have lost their faith.

Like many spiritually homeless Westerners I’ve had a longing too deep for words. I’ve been searching for a spiritual home for my head and for my heart in the twenty-first Century. My book, Healing The Divide, is about that search.