Monday

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Many writers talk about religious “currents,” but I think that term is too generous. The term “current” implies something sustaining and capable of moving things forward in a meaningful way. It implies the existence of a stream or river—something steady, often deep—where it can run.

That type of symbol doesn’t fit today’s spiritual pond. It doesn’t fit the mega-church movements where ministers vie to aggregate large congregations with gimmicks and watered down religious messages. It doesn’t fit the feel-good messages of preachers like Norman Vincent Peale and his preaching descendants who treat prayer as a route to earthly riches rather than an avenue of grace. It certainly doesn’t fit the New Age religious movement, which is centered on the practitioner’s ego and the pursuit of pleasure. The term “current’ doesn’t even fit much of Catholicism, whose liturgy, in the wake of Vatican II, has been spiritually and intellectually “dumbed down” to make it accessible to the most casual pew dweller and nauseating to all but the sleeping.