What are we to expect from religious rituals? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So in these chapters, and if you’re curious the book has 20 chapters and we’re on 15 and 16, Humphrys talks about the church experience and there is so much to say here. Humphrys says he’s fine with something like shaking hands a nod to someone he’s not nearby, but having to give hugs to show you’re brothers and sisters in Christ is too far. I really agree. My problem with a lot of so-called “manners” in today’s society from someone on the spectrum is that it seems fake.
You have a number of people that engage in small talk with you and ask how you’re doing that day, but then the rest of the week, they don’t reach out to you at all. They’re a no-show. It’s hard to think someone is truly your brother and sister in Christ when the only display you get from them is one that seems fake.
A big problem we have in many churches is we’re really all about joy, and joy is great, but many of us in the Christian life can also be miserable at times. I’m thankful that when I came to Tennessee again before living in New Orleans where I am now, I found a church that was connected with DivorceCare and I was allowed to be someone hurting there. One of the greatest gifts a Christian can give a fellow Christian who is struggling is to let them know it’s okay to hurt and be there when they are.
Another story in these chapters is one Humphrys received from a lady who had been brought up in the Church of England and thought when she got confirmed that something incredible would happen to her.
Now for me, I would say that this is okay. Unfortunately, this has not been the experience in many churches. Go to your average church. Find out how much the emphasis is on how you feel about what is going on.
Do you feel God here today?
Do you feel the Spirit?
Can you feel the love tonight?
Oh. Sorry. Song lyric got in here. How did that happen?
Is our relationship with God supposed to give butterflies in the stomach like falling in love? (Which also isn’t a sign of real love anyway. That’s another problem we have. When the feeling fades, we think the love has faded. Of course, there can be no harm taking that to our walk with God.) No feeling lasts forever. Your walk with God will ebb and flow and if it’s dependent on your feelings, you’re going to be in for a hard time.
I can also add in people expect to hear the voice of God. Do you want to hear God speak? Go to Scripture. His word there is still just as valid as it was the day it was written.
Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of people in your church who are much more on the emotional side and they will understand the idea of feeling God. There are many who are not who will not. They are not deficient. It’s a shame that we live in a day and age in the church where being seen as an intellectual is seen as detracting from your walk with God.
This is one benefit also of reading non-Christian literature. You understand why they don’t accept us from their own words and you can be open to things in our approach that are wrong. The emphasis on experience is one. Sometimes grand things will happen. That’s fine. Sometimes they won’t. That’s fine too.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)