A walk through the ruins. The ruins of a once mighty spiritual empire that took millenia to build and just a few hundred years to collapse.
In his prophetic book The Spiritual Revolution, David Tacey traces the working of the Spirit in modern society, particularly among students who's spiritual yearnings he understands and tries to serve. He describes ways in which the spirit is working which are often worldly, or taking forms rejected by earlier generations. These are ignored or even resisted by organised religion. What spirit is this? Well surely God's spirit, our God's spirit. But do we have a right to call it our God when this God is found popping up in all people everywhere?
Tactfully, almost by what is not said rather than said, Tacey reveals the Christian Church as a beautiful ruin, that has somehow missed the point about the way the spirit is revealing itself in a modern age. People in our secular, materialist, pluralist, sexual, choice laden society still feel, as powerfully as earlier generations, their need for meaning and purpose in the chaos of their lives. They can't find that in the discredited authoritarian pre-scientific outlook of the churches. But no one else ministers to their spiritual needs in the terms they would understand, and it is left to the spirit working through people's own imagination to provide answers to their hopes and dreams. As a christian, but also a child of my time, I too often find the church's message irrelevant or worse.
Surely it was the original purpose of the Church, to provide spiritual support and guidance to all God's people in every age. This enlightened age is not less but more deserving in its complexity.
Despite earnest and constructive ideas in the concluding chapters, there is no happy ending to Tacey's book. I was left with a deep sadness at the ruinous state of Jesus's Church, and a deep longing, surely born of the spirit, for the spirit to make a new move, and soon.
Tacey , David 2004 The Spiritual Revolution. The emergence of contemporary spirituality. Pub. Brunner-Routledge ISBN 1-58391-874-4