Nora Gallagher is a wise and spiritual writer. She has a way of exposing and celebrating the depth of life that is possible with God as part of what you experience every day. In her most recent book, Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, she talks about what happened when her alcoholic father got sober. She describes what happened when he and his AA friends would come to their house:
They talked freely and openly about falling down drunk, about lying in the ditch, and about running out of any other option besides this Higher Power. If you had fallen off the edge, I understood finally, you could talk about God. Their stories were "grassroots religion..." (p. 14)So simple, yet so true. The stories of recovering alcoholics and addicts perhaps come the closest to miracle stories of our day. There's nothing mysterious about them until you try to explain them; there's nothing unusual about them other than their straightforward honesty.
What would happen if we tried this in church. No, really try it, not as an experiment, or a time of witness and testimony in the rest of the ritual. What if this was THE ritual? What if the down-to-earth honesty were the rule and not the exception? What if religion was "grassroots" rooted?
The miracle stories of the Bible might begin to make sense in the 21st Century as reality and truth, rather than challenges to scientific theory. The passion of the early disciples might be the passion we feel within us. The desire to live and share might take on new dimensions in seeing "attraction rather than promotion." Our community of faith might begin to live by "principles rather than personalities."
Sure I'm an idealist. But without such a vision and hope we won't get anywhere.
Grassroots religion for the 21st Century.