Diana Butler Bass describes a revival that took place in 1734, 1) A general stirring toward moral living, 2) an awareness of personal shortcomings and sins, 3) an experience of ‘converting grace’ and 4) a sense of joy from encountering the ‘new light’ of God. These were the steps Pastor Jonathan Edward had realized which lead to a spiritual awakening, but first and foremost what was essential for it to occur was prayer. Prayer opened the heart to sense God and opened the eyes to see God’s activity.(p.254)This Spiritual Awakening involved four steps which enlivened the members of a Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts.
First Great Awakening- prayer
Second Great Awakening- preaching- power of the word
Third Great Awakening- healings, speaking in tongues; acceptance and adapting to insights of science, history ,psychology, sociology, theology and biblical criticism—progressive theology and politics
Performing faith involves prepare- learning the story, practice—rehearsing a new way of life, play-having fun and participate-joining with others
Prepare- learning the religious story of our time-
Practice- doing actions that rehearse love, charity, kindness, goodness mercy…
Play- laughter, fun
Participate-everyone takes part
Today we are experiencing a Great Global awakening- belonging, behaving, and believing. To nurture this we must prepare for an awakening, engage practices of faith, have fun, make changes in order to have an experiential faith. But this experiential faith demands action in the world and in public. Yet to do this one must realize that you are not alone as you act in and with community and with God.
REFLECT for a moment:
Butler-Bass states that we are now in a Great Global awakening. Do you agree? Why/not? What is important in your understanding of who God is and where the Spirit of God leads you?
What have you learned about the church your understanding of God and religio for today through reading this book by Butler-Bass?
What will you share with your church friends and community to bring about change?
God help us as we learn to be the church of today’s practise and thoughts. Helps us to be the community you have called us to be and to become. SILENT PRAYER for self, others and God. Amen.
Diana Butler-Bass Christianity after Religion: the end of church and the birth of a new spiritual awakening. .New York Harper2012 (chapter 9)This concludes this series of reflections on Butler-Bass’ book. Be sure to check out the reflection next week when we look at “Doubt”