I became a Christian 40 years ago but only in recent years do I consider myself nonreligiously Christian.  So this interested me.

Philip Yancey wrote about Hip Christian Books in last month’s Books and Culture.

“Addie Zierman’s When We Were on Fire is a model of the raised-Christian-then-left-the-church-and-maybe-the-faith-then-warily-climbed-back memoir. She pulls it off. Here’s a sample: ‘Some of us searched longer than others, but in the end we faded out. We were looking for Jesus. Instead we found programs, guilt, and awkward small talk. We found fog machines and Five-Simple-Steps-to-Spiritual-Growth and fill-in-the-blank Bible studies. So we started sleeping in on Sunday mornings. We went to the farmers market and bought good things straight from the earth. We drank our morning coffee at small café tables outside, and people walked by with their dogs at a slow, Sunday-morning pace. It felt more like rest to us than those chaotic church mornings, when we moved through the loud small talk of the church foyer and felt invisible.’

Leave.  Searching for something which is real, genuine.  And then in finding it is enabled to return to faith and service.

Now I’m interested in Zierman’s book.  And so it seems is an Old Testament story which joined me as I read the excerpt.

Elijah flees Jezebel, his people, his place as a prophet.  He takes off.  Under a tree in the wilderness the word of the Lord comes to him.  Sleep and eat.  Sleep and eat.  He journeys further and encounters the Genuine.  Not in programs, fog machines and Bible studies.  But in a sound of sheer silence.  It is there that God speaks to Elijah who then returns to his people and his place.

When people leave, weary of religion and the loud small talk at church, “ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”  This would be what I consider faith.

Elijah (1 Kings 19) and “ask” (Matthew 7:7)

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