To say “you just need to pray more,” or “you just need Jesus,” or “you should just read the bible” is like saying “you’re just mad because you’re hungry.” True? Perhaps. But a horrible thing to say within a relationship.
That kind of rationalization is perhaps my greatest source of discomfort with modern ‘evangelical’ or ‘fundamentalist’ Christianity. So much of the language I hear is so overtly spiritual and so perfectly crafted that I feel like I’m being told something so true and obvious that I must be an idiot if I don’t agree. And yet, the most spot on nugget of truth doesn’t really help if I’m not in a place where I can experience the implications of the truth. And stating the most simplistic view of the truth is rarely a helpful way to experience or overcome the reality behind mere words.
Relationships are first about experience and only then about words to give shape and understanding to that relationship. “Christian culture” tends to speak with words as though the words have meaning apart from the experience of relationship – and if you don’t see the meaning behind the words, there is no logical or reasonable pathway between those words and the power of relationship toward which they are attempting to point. Just like telling me I’m mad because I’m hungry doesn’t make me less angry no matter how true – explaining Christian truth when I don’t experience relationship with God doesn’t make me feel loved. Feed me when I’m hungry; care when I feel unloved – and then we can talk.