According to recent news reports, spiritual seekers are forsaking religious institutions en masse. "A revival is underway," writes Stephanie Nolen of the Toronto Globe, "but for a phenomenon with Jesus at its center, it has surprisingly little to do with mainstream religion."

Writing for the New York Times, Laurie Goodstein reports that, "a growing number of Christians across the country are choosing a do-it-yourself worship experience." Goldstein labels it a "decentralized religious phenomenon." The cause? "Some are rebelling against the contemporary culture of the mega-church. Others say they have been alienated by pastors who hoard power."

Speaking from the perspective of the trench rather than a news desk, I would explain the phenomenon with fewer syllables: we love God, but we don't need a church board telling us what to believe. We want honest answers to our biggest questions, but the organized church has been hedging on us and can't look us in the eye. We want a freelance walk with Jesus Christ, but the church has put Him in a box and said in so may words: "Worship our version of the Savior, or else."

There are reasons why the organized church acts this way, reasons that go far deeper than contemporary culture, power and religious authoritarianism.   

Copyright 2002-2006 by Martin Zender.  All Rights Reserved

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