This post is in support of the Episode 12 Understanding personal mystical experiences Part 4 on our podcast. There I referred to a research project I did doing church. Below is the data:
Time spent in worship is the musical component primarily consisting of praise and worship with a little bit of prayer and commenatry.
Time spent in miscellaneous activities includes all the community related stuff such as tithing and a second preach on tithing, sacraments, marketing, report back, news and announcements, etc..
Time spent on the message is literally time spend preaching. This is, paradigmatically and practically, the focus of church services. The main event is the preaching and teaching in whichever form it is given.
Time spent as ministry time is specifically understood as the activity of tangible and experiential meeting with God. Out of the selection of churches, only one actually included this.
This breaks down in some handy graphics as shared below.
3 thoughts on “Reliability of personal mystical experiences – Part 4”
Wow! Excellent visual of how life-sucking, dead and business like what modern day Christianity looks like. I did not realize just how absolutely destructive it is to spirit but these graphs make it abundantly clear that Jesus is no longer in the house.
The indictment is both harsh and clear, and it is great being able to demonstrate it with supporting research. Have you listened to the podcast? Would be great to hear your thoughts.
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Well I listened to the podcast and was interested in your perspective that is for sure. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into at first as I am staunchly anti-religion but you and your friend certainly did a good job of fleshing out the issue at hand, perhaps a bit too intellectual for some but I followed along.
Allow me to preface the following comments with a brief outline of where I come from. My family and I left religion for good in 2007. As we followed God in faith we became homeless. During that 3 1/2 years God led us to a number of churches to test them, and witness how they treat the poor. For those that we encountered, without exception, all received a failing grade from us for many of the reasons you outlined in this podcast.
I say these things because what you and your friend talked about we experienced both from within the system and as strangers coming in through the front door, so we share the same feelings and attitude toward how modern church ‘plays’ at being a vessel through which God works but is anything but. We have not been in a church building for 6 years now, thankfully, and continue to have a deeper, more fulfilling intimacy with God sans the shackles modern religion tried to put on us.
The following is just some random thoughts I had from the podcast I found intriguing.
First off I do believe that the passive institutional dynamic has replaced and destroyed the relational dynamic which is supposed to be the defining characteristics of our faith. Sad to see but is the modern reality. Your assessment is correct, with a scientific basis for proof. What we have seen is that the basis of relationship has been expelled for the banality of business. Formalized, packaged and devoid of life modern religion is about as helpful to people as a brick is to a drowning man.
Although I have not subjected myself to modern ‘worship’ in a formalized context for many years I am horrified at the little glimpses of what people post online from their church ‘services’. My observation is that it has devolved into little more than infotainment, lacking in any spiritual, emotional or mental value. What you describe as the passivity in worship is very true and the picture of a tennis game is accurate. God is not involved with our ‘self’-led efforts because the whole purpose has nothing to do with Him so why should He get involved. Sometimes I meet people like this who talk at me then walk away. They think they are having a conversation with me even though I said nothing. So the lack of depth in worship coupled with the passivity makes it about as useless as a two-legged stool.
What I really was surprised at though was the admission of your friend, as worship leader, admitting that they were trying to control the emotions of the audience to create a feeling of connection with God. This is one of those things that modern religion seems to be willfully blind at. Worship, at its very core, is an expression of intimacy with God. Like all intimacy it cannot be forced but it is a meeting of two equal wills agreeing to engage in deeper communion. When we think we can create the conditions for worship, and manipulate people into it, especially in a group then we are functioning in diametric opposition to the use of the free will. This will, in turn, kill worship so the very thing we think is good for worship destroys it. I would add to this that praise can easily happen in a group and is necessary but worship cannot be done in a group. I liken modern religion worship to that of spiritual group sex or orgies; despicable and will not help anyone.
Your comments on the passivity in religion is very accurate. That passivity has been inculcated into the masses for many years and is foundational for the leaders to control and dominate their members. This is true in all of society as men have learned that maturity and exercise of the free will is anathema to their goal of control. I do not believe in the altruism of mankind, especially those in religious leadership. Having proven their own ‘self’ motivated goals and lack of spiritual maturity there is little point in following them. As your friend said one or two may be better than others but the culture has not, and will not, change so will continue unless forced to stop by an outward source, God Himself..
Internal change in people, and cultural change writ large, will only occur when people face their own ‘self’ nature and destroy it, walking in faith and growing in maturity. Our own walk of faith has a dealt a death blow to my believing this change will ever happen en masse however I am encouraged by the shaking God has allowed this year and how it is forcing normally passive believers to rethink their walk with Him. I sincerely hope that by closing down a vast number of dysfunctional and abusive churches many will find courage and hope in engaging with small groups of believers in an active manner. In this way they can overcome and escape altogether the bureaucratic infrastructure of man-made religion and find God. Tis, I believe, the only faint hope man has.
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