To this day I walk down the blood red center aisle of my church on communion Sunday, mentally preparing myself to experience deeply the sacrifice of Jesus’ life for my wretchedness. And every time, I drink the wine and eat the bread (slowly of course, to sell the spiritual experience I am pretending to have) and take five perfect right angle turns, finding myself back in the pew, unchanged. A little more guilty, quite theologically unstable, but experientially unchanged. I am a twenty-two year-old pursuing ministry with my life, who loves Jesus dearly and seeks the will of God however I can, but… I prefer theology talks at a bar over the sacrament of communion, I am more transformed by prayer time in the steam of my shower than the rebirth of baptism, and I trust people who describe their faith experiences by using phrases like: bullshit, asshole, what the fuck, and why the hell would this happen, in lieu of: trust Jesus, God’s plan, I am just so blessed or pray about it.
For me these alternative experiences with the divine allow me to see the raw, wild and explicit tendencies that the world has when relating to God. For others their desires are different, less extreme and more or less comfortable. This dualism is not meant to elevate one way of experiencing God over another, but it recognizes the sacredness of all God experience(s) not just those rites of passage we deify as equating to God.
What is sacred experience? Is everything? If so, should that scare us?