We are on a precipice. We may have been standing there for nearly 500 years, or maybe only 100 years, but on a precipice we stand. We do not know what lies beyond in what looks like a deep dark chasm below—it may be a jagged cliff with a solid rock floor, or it may be a cool blue ocean full of life and calling us to join in the fray.
It has been said for decades now that the traditional church is in decline, and it is for sure. The decline in church attendance has given rise to the “nones,” those who choose “none of the above” when asked for their religious (or even political) preferences. They are not choosing “nothing,” they are just not choosing what is being presented to them. Their aversion to “institutional religion” is not filled with hate but an innate realization that faith was never meant to be institutionalized. It is a dangerous animal that sets us free and cannot be caged in denominational structures and strictures. God cannot be put in a neat box and tied with a bow.
In C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the savior lion, Aslan, is described as a good lion, but not a safe lion. Following in the Way of Jesus is a dangerous way, but a way that ultimately sets us free from the cinctures of fear that threaten to choke us if we are not careful.
Institutions have their place, don’t get me wrong. And some boundaries or borders can help us make sense and meaning of our experience of the divine. But as soon as we think we have grasped the essence of God, it’s clear we never had it in the first place. When we start to define and defend our experience of the divine over and against another’s experience, then it is no longer God we’re living in, it’s something else—something more sinister.
We are on a precipice in the ongoing journey of self-discovery. What comes next I do not know. The question remains whether or not we will leap from the towers we’ve built to satisfy our insecurities, towers that served their purpose a long time ago but are now crumbling. Will we be crushed by the stone blocks we made for ourselves, or will we jump free from avalanche behind us into the unknown and trust that God will be there to welcome us when we finally splash down? Take the leap. Don’t be afraid to risk what is already being lost.