Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Casserole-Toting Ladies Have the Secret to Happiness

[Elizabeth] Gilbert’s divorce-hedonism-remarriage-divorce saga is obviously distasteful to many Christians, but we can be equally fascinated (and misguided) by a very similar narrative. Gilbert wrote a memoir about questioning expectations and leaving her husband; Christian authors are writing about questioning God and leaving the church (for awhile, anyway).
These spiritual wanderings are propelled by the refrain: I don’t want to be a Christian anymore. Or, at least: I don’t want to be that kind of Christian anymore. And thousands of us quickly turn the page, eager to read what comes next.
Perhaps we’re intrigued by the spiritual adventurer’s premise that there might be something new to find out there, out beyond the ordinary spiritual graces of Word and prayer and sacrament. Perhaps, as one writer suggested about Gilbert’s book, we are looking for permission to pursue our own wanderings. Or perhaps we see the writers’ frank confessions of sin and doubt as uniquely authentic expressions of spiritual experience.
The memoirs of spiritual wondering and wandering are diverse—there are at least 50 ways to leave your church. But the dazzling quality of the maverick spiritual quest can cause us to overlook the quiet, ordinary, Sunday-by-Sunday faithfulness of the women in our own church’s pews.
And maybe it’s time to find new heroes.
You can read the rest.