Five items of counsel for a soul-sick culture and God-starved Christians.

If all your friends were suddenly to begin talking about the state of their digestion—comparing symptoms, calling up for advice, swapping remedies—you would not consider it a hopeful sign. Nor does the widespread interest in spirituality today lead me to think that the North American soul is in a flourishing condition.

A person who has healthy digestion does not talk about it. Neither does a person who has a healthy soul. When our bodies and souls are working well, we are, for the most part, unaware of them. The frequency with which the word spirituality occurs these days is more likely to be evidence of pathology than health.

By taking this stance, I am not dismissing current interest in spirituality as sick. The interest itself is not sick, but sickness has provoked the interest. There is considerable confusion regarding the appropriate treatment, but virtual unanimity in the diagnosis: Our culture is sick with secularism.

But deeper and stronger than our illness is our cure. The Spirit of God that hovered over the primordial chaos (Gen. 1:2) hovers over our murderous and chaotic cities. The Spirit that descended on Jesus like a dove (Matt. 3:16) descends on the followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit that filled men and women with God at nine o’clock in the morning in Jerusalem during Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4) fills men and women still in Chicago and Calcutta, Moscow and Montreal, around the clock, 365 days a year.

What’s more, there is a groundswell of recognition spreading through our culture that all life is at root spiritual; that everything we see is formed and sustained by what we cannot see. Those of us who grew up in the Great Spiritual Depression and ...

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