“The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” ~ Karl Rahner SJ
“My own religion was constitutionally of a mystical tendency and turn. It is not necessary to say what exactly it amounted to in myself more than this, that there was in me a sense and feeling of much in Christianity which was not to be reached in the way of common thought; but needed for its discernment and apprehension a deeper and more vital mode of knowledge.” ~ John Williamson Nevin
In recent years, many have declared that religion will soon be dead in America. And by religion, they mean Christianity. These claims of certain doom to Christianity are almost always rooted in some culture shift in society. If religion has its foundation in culture, they are right in saying that religion will soon be dead. People do not attend church on Sundays, just because it that is what we do as part of our duty as Americans. So if religion needs culture pressure to survive, then it will not survive a major culture shift. The debate over if the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation does not matter. Even if the United States of America was at one time a Christian nation, it is not a Christian nation now. So to try to insist upon a past that most historians consider a myth is not helping anybody. It is only betraying a position of fear and panic in the midst of weakness. In fact this type of reaction is what gave birth to prediction of the coming demise of Christianity.
Karl Rahner predicted the current crisis of the Western church. In his famous statement, he declared that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” To Rahner, a mystic is a person who has a genuine experience of God emerging from the heart of their existence. In other words, the time is coming when there will no longer be any middle ground in the church. The future of the American church will be like Jesus’ parable of the sower who spreads the seed. In the end it is only the seed that falls upon the good soil with deep roots and away from choking weeds that will remain. The challenge that remains is the church adapting to the new reality that surrounds us. In today’s world it is not unusual for people to spend more time with computers than other people. The rise of computers and the Internet at the birth of the information age has been another game changer. So how does one seek to develop deep and meaningful Christianity spirituality today? I believe that Mercersburg Theology is a good starting point. In a nutshell, Mercersburg Theology primarily focuses upon the Incarnation. (The Incarnation was the act of God becoming fully human in the person of Jesus Christ.) Mercersburg Theology has two obvious advantages when it comes to Raner’s vision. First, the focus upon Christ in the world makes it more adaptable to changes in the world. The second is that Mercersburg Theology tends to be more mystical in nature. In fact Mercersburg Theology has a history of leading people into mysticism. Starting with John Williamson Nevin, a founding theologian of the Mercersburg Theology movement. I will get into more detail about Mercersburg Theology in future posts. It is my goal to write practical posts that are able to benefit anybody that has a computer. I realize that people rarely mix topics such computers and deeper spirituality. Which is why I feel that it is all the more important to explore the neglected areas.