Monday, March 26, 2012

Awakening, Counter-Awakening, and the End of Church: An Interview With Diana Butler Bass - Candace Chellew-Hodge

We are at a crossroads in history.

This year's seemingly crazy, religion-infused GOP primary race is actually part and parcel of an awakening that will transform how all of us structure and experience religion—as well as society—going forward.

We are at a crossroads in history—we can choose to move forward into new emerging spiritualities, or we can heed the siren sound of the traditionalists calling us back to a romanticized, rigid, past. 

We are in a period of intense cultural reorientation or revitalization, and that during an awakening, politics, worldviews, religion, education—the whole way a society approaches being community, and connecting with one another, and understanding their God or their gods—it all changes.

What we’re in the moment of right now in American culture is that our old institutions, our way of being church—our way of understanding any kind of religious tradition, —all of those older patterns are dying. 

I look at that whole arc of people who are leaving church because of the failure of the institution, and I don’t see that as threatening. I see that as a really exciting and hopeful possibility—if religious institutions will listen to the message those people are sending them.

When you have this kind of institutional collapse and large groups of people who are demanding a different kind of faith and moving out, taking risks toward an unknown future, that’s actually going to terrify a large number of people who are happy with the way things have been.

On one hand, you get movement toward the future, with people taking risks; you get people who are willing to engage new ideas about God and community and spirit. On the other hand, you get a counter-awakening movement; you get people who are very afraid and are trying to reinstate what they knew in the past.

I hope we get there quickly, because I don’t like it when people get hurt. That’s what happens with these backlash movements. They can express themselves in violence. And that kind of violence also does harm to the people who are in the mode of the fearful—it’s a devastating cultural moment.

The full article is available here