Apparently two-thirds of all Christians in America feel so alienated or so indifferent or see church as so irrelevant that they aren't showing up. I call these Christians the "spiritually homeless." Many of those we met on our walk across America told us they have faith but had found no spiritual community in which they felt at home practicing it. They felt spiritually disconnected and alone. (Asphalt Jesus, p. 105)
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tending to the Spiritually Homeless
In reading the excellent new book by Eric Elnes, Asphalt Jesus (Jossey Bass, 2007), I came across his discussion of the issue of spiritual homelessness. I find this an intriguing idea. Diana Butler Bass speaks of tourists/nomads and pilgrims, but this concept is more troubling. Eric Elnes writes in the context of his walk across America -- a trek that essentially put him and his compatriots in a position of being without their normal abodes for a time.
Noting that the polls say that somewhere around 90% of Americans speak of themselves as being Christian, but on any given Sunday maybe 20 to 30% participate. There is, then, a tremendous disparity between those considering themselves to be Christian and those actually participating. He then writes:
The question is -- how interested are we as church in reaching out to the spiritually homeless?