On Prayer and Religion…

 From John Koenig, a quote;

*point of note; Koenig is distinguishing between “religion,” which is historical and traditionally rooted and “religion in general,” which is more of a pop spirituality that often consists of shallow stabs at transcendence and is unwilling to put in the work to find the freedom on the other side*

“In recent years the great devotional classics of both the Eastern and Western traditions have become available to the reading public on an unprecedented scale. Many contemporary works are also of excellent quality. The popularity of retreat centers for prayer and meditation continues at a high level, and there is no shortage of people ready to offer their services as spiritual guides. In addition, the various twelve-step programs have helped tens of thousands find their way to a lively relationship with a Higher Power. As whole new body of writing on spirituality has developed from such programs and from other groups and movements that are best identified by the term New Age.

Yet there is a difficulty with this recent upsurge in devotional practice and literature, for much of it seems to reflect and foster a diffuse kind of religion in general, only marginally related to the biblical forms of faith. While I empathize with people who find the worship life of their local churches and synagogues to be less than inspiring, I cannot quite believe that the present growth of non-institutional or para-institutional religion signals a real deepening in our communion with God.

I mean that religion without a solid base often falls prey to peculiar romanticisms, which in turn lead to the very opposite of spiritual truth and freedom. Moreover, religion in general, as I perceive it, frequently lives in deprivation. Always standing just outside the houses of the ancient traditions, it does not get properly nourished at any one of their tables. Religion in general often searches for esoteric experiences but turns away from daily sustenance. Such a tendency, I believe, nearly always proves to be self-defeating. And it is far from necessary.

From Rediscovering New Testament Prayer, pgs 1-2

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