They value a “relationship with God” above all and like the idea of “falling in love with Jesus.” They don’t see much value in the rules, strict reliefs, or structures of “religion,” although they like going to church if it helps them feel closer to God. They are largely uninformed about the teachings of their churches and may even see doctrine or theology as enemies of authentic spirituality. They like the sense of belonging and acceptance that they find in their congregations but are not very open to being corrected by fellow believers. Their God is always there to help them feel better about their problems, and this is one of the chief benefits they see in their faith. They like the idea of spiritual growth, but they may not know much about how to grow and may rate themselves more highly than they should. They are drawn to religious experiences that produce emotional highs and sometimes assume that experiencing strong feelings is the same thing as spiritual authenticity. They see themselves as in charge of their own search for a satisfying sense of religious identity. In short, American Christianity looks a lot like we would expect it to look if many Americans were stuck in a Christianized version of adolescent narcissism (25).<idle musing>
Wow. Not a god you would die for, that's for sure...Lord, send us a fresh vision of who you really are! May we catch sight of the faith that drove the early church to give all, that has caused people throughout history to dedicate their entire lives to serving and loving you. May we give up our caricatures of you and see you as you really are!