They’re Treating It As If Their Whole Life Were At Stake

MS. TIPPETT: So, if I ask you to think about yourself in church all those years ago in west Texas, the church you grew up in, which was just given to you like the air you breathed, and then when you’re in church now, what’s going on that’s different? How is that experience different?

MR. WIMAN: Well, it’s utterly different. I think it’s a weaker experience now. I mean, I’m just too conscious. I’m unable to let — I wish I were able to let myself go in ways that those people did in my childhood and still do when I go to my mother’s church now. It’s one of those big mega-churches. You know, I don’t agree with their theology and I don’t like a lot of the ways that they commercialize their services, but it is an incredibly diverse church and the people are intensely involved. They’re treating it as if their whole life were at stake. The churches I go to, liberal Protestant churches, it seems pretty casual. I wish there was some credible middle ground. I wish there was some way of harnessing the intensity that I felt in my childhood in more sophisticated ways.

— Christian Wiman, interviewed by Krista Tippett for On Being


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