I just finished reading Ronald Holheiser’s, The Holy Longing (The search for a Christian Spirituality). Rolheiser is a Catholic theologian who offers amazing insight into our spiritual journey. He speaks profoundly about the purpose of prayer, our mandate to do good deeds and the nature of the church.
He makes the following observation: “A strange thing is happening in the Western world today. As the numbers of persons participating in our churches is dramatically decreasing, the numbers of persons interested in spirituality is proportionately increasing. We are witnessing a drastic decline in church life right in the midst of a spiritual renaissance. What is happening?”
You may have seen the study that was released last week about the decline in American church attendance–specifically in the Catholic Church. However, the study also revealed that non-denominational, Jesus-following churches are growing. I appreciate that Rolheiser is asking the right question.
In speaking about the incarnation of Jesus he writes: Many people believe that . . . “God came to earth physically and then, after thirty-three years, went back home. It uses the past tense for the incarnation and that is a dangerous under-understanding. The incarnation is still going on and it is just as real and as radical and as physical as when Jesus of Nazareth, in the flesh, walked the dirt roads of Palestine . . . The incarnation began with Jesus and it has never stopped.”
I love his theology that the church continues to be the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ here on this earth.
Holy Longing is an important read.