Compassion and hope without the overhead

Lovely piece in the New York Times today about a former evangelical pastor who is basically doing the same ministering i.e. spreading the message of love and values but without the overhead of supernaturalism. h/t to @chrimc for the article.

A few sections stood out for me:

Atheists and agnostics have long tried to rebottle religion: to get the community and the good works without the supernatural stuff. It has worked about as well as nonalcoholic beer.

Why is that? None of the atheists or humanists or people who describe themselves as “spiritual” attend anything like church. Many as they get older reflect that they wish they had the community of church but without the need for god or supernaturalism. I imagine several of the modern versions of paganism e.g. Wicca are at heart an attempt to build the community and sense of “we” but without traditional mainstream god concepts. Comic con, Cosplay, and things like that also appear to be community-building with an ethos of openness and inclusion; the new churches for a new millennium (or new Millennials since they don’t attend church).

Campolo told me that when students come to talk about a job they’ve been offered, he asks questions like: “What’s the culture like at that place? The guy who interviewed you — would you want to end up like him, with the kind of marriage he has and the kind of friendships he has?” Campolo went on: “And they say, ‘Huh, I never thought about that.’ And you want to say: ‘Where are your parents? Or your pastor? What is your Uncle Joe doing? Why is nobody asking value-oriented questions about your life?’ ”

Wonderful suggestion and something I will do when/if I am asked about career, college, etc. Much better than my normal line of “I don’t know, take a gap year or three and go ski in the Alps”.

 

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