Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Sunday Sermonizing: Disenchanted

The word was mentioned at least six times this morning. Whether it was because my ear was especially attuned to the word, or because of some other strange work of magic, it’s where my brain focussed today. 

Disenchanted. 

The speaker was using the term in the context of Christianity and faith. He was talking about the number of people (including himself at one point in his story) where disenchantment with Jesus-following had become real enough to walk away.  

The word “disenchanted” is the opposite of being under “enchantment”.  In the kinds of stories I like to read, enchantment can take on a variety of nuance. 

It has a dark side in stories like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.  It can be a beautiful experience for folks like Cinderella.  

Mysterious. Unexplainable. Magical.  

This describes so much of real life. 

Or it should.  

We’re about to take a 30th anniversary trip to Alaska.  I want to see two things while we’re there.  A bear in the wild (I’ve always wanted to see a bear in the wild.  I don’t know why) and the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights.  It will be the beginning of the viewing season and we’ll only be in Fairbanks for one night.  

Those are things that hold wonder and mystery. 

Enchantment.  

The world — the real world that can be studied and tested and verified — is still full of the unstudied, the untested, and the unverifiable.  

Magic.   

Enchantment.  

Disenchantment happens the magic has dissipated.  The spell is broken. The thrill is gone.  We have verified all that can be verified. We know all there is to know and can explain it. Anything left unexplained may not even exist.

Even a modern father of science and reason had much to say about our modern loss of wonder. 

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.
— Albert Einstein

The problem with the faith of the modern Jesus-follower in many of today’s Western churches is not so much that we can’t explain our faith well enough, but that we can explain too much. 

Or at least we think we can. 

We live disenchanted. 

And there’s too much wonder for that.