Yesterday morning I fulfilled the role of guest preacher as I have the opportunity to do many times a year at several partner churches. About halfway through the sermon I looked the room over and became extra aware of something. These folks look tired and a bit preoccupied.
You’re thinking that was most likely the result of a lame sermon, which might be true but I think there’s more to it than my preaching.
I realized that the energy of the second half of my message needed to lean more toward God’s affection toward them rather than a charge to go serve and be with the poor.
This wasn’t an isolated observation. In my work I’m seeing this collective exhaustion and disconnect with spiritual intimacy across a diverse Christian landscape.
So many people of faith are tired, burned out, and don't need one more voice telling them to go and do more for the poor.
So, what now?
Soul care. Whole life developmental and friendly soul care.
Americans spend the majority of their days earning stuff. Often times they get to Sunday only to feel like they're being directly or indirectly encouraged to earn more stuff. It's killing us.
The emerging vision for soul care is ecumenical and inclusive. What if soul care is even good news to people of other faiths or those who claim disassociated with faith? There seems a universal desire for spiritual companions who are open to listen attentively and walk the varied terrain of life's unpredictable paths.
I wonder if soul care just might be the work that sustains the church in the coming years.
I'll always encourage folks to come and befriend those most marginalized by our culture. That's a significant aspect of my job. But what I'm feeling most called toward, what feels urgently necessary and culturally compelling is the balanced whole life work of loving soul care.