“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, more times than not they mean Christianity in the United States of America. The claims of certain doom to religion 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 Americans. So if religion needs culture pressure to survive, then it will completely die out. 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 so called 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. To those on the outside, this type of reaction only confirms what they see as the coming demise of religion.
I believe that Karl Rahner accurately 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 chocking weeds that remains. The challenge that remains is adapting the church to fit 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. Briefly, Mercersburg Theology the Incarnation with a central focus of Christ in the world. Mercersburg Theology has two obvious advantages when it comes to Raner’s vision. First, Mercersburg Theology is already focused upon Christ in the world, therefore it is 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. This goes all the way back to John Williamson Nevin, one of the founding theologians 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 the topics of computers and deeper spirituality. Which is why I feel that it is all the more important to explore this neglected area.