EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Sensory Deprivation

In Thoughts on Christianity on September 9, 2012 at 7:28 am

There’s a fairly popular bar in Atlanta called The Graveyard. I’ve been a few times. A hearse, loaded with a coffin, is parked in front of the joint.

Here’s the thing. The Graveyard is a sensory deprivation tank. It’s dark. It’s loud with voices and music. It smells of cigarettes. And, for crying out loud, you kinda don’t want to touch anything (given the pervasive darkness). The last time I went to The Graveyard, I was so hopelessly freaked out by my inability to interpret my environment using my five senses that I shut down. I crawled on top of one of the high, wooden booths and sat there (smiling and nodding at my friends so they wouldn’t think I was losing it). I felt lost. I had no idea how to begin to enjoy myself.

I wonder if a person might feel like when she walks into church. She can’t talk to anyone, except to sing. She can only listen to the songs and the preacher. There are people around her saying things she may not understand. Church is not necessarily a realm of the five senses. Church relies on different senses: the spiritual and the corporate. School doesn’t teach those, and everyone doesn’t learn those at
home.

No wonder people, particularly new visitors and young people, shut down in church. They cannot use the senses that usually interpret the world. They feel lost, and have no idea how to begin to enjoy themselves.

How can churches help visitors and young people to interpret the spiritual and corporate environment around them?

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