Wednesday, March 31, 2021

We're misunderstanding the problem

Spiritual problems cannot be solved by administrative techniques.

The problem is not how to fill the buildings but how to inspire the hearts. And this is a problem to which techniques of child psychology can hardly be applied. The problem is not one of synagogue [church] attendance but one of spiritual attendance. The problem is not how to attract bodies to enter the space of a temple [church building] but how to inspire souls to enter an hour of spiritual concentration in the presence of God. The problem is time, not space.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 103 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
It's really simple, isn't it? And yet, extremely difficult. We are trying to use techniques for attracting crowds, but what we should be doing is going for depth, not numbers. Jesus didn't go out looking for crowds; they came to him because they saw something attractive—something they wanted. He even turned people away. When's the last time you heard of a church or parachurch organization turning down a person who had cash in their hand? Or who was a well-known personality?

I can count that on less than one finger. Heschel is right, as usual, our problem is a spiritual one, not an administrative one. And the answer has to be spiritual as well...
</idle musing>

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