Closing the Gap : Recovering the Experiential Nature of Reformed Spirituality

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Tom Schwanda


During a break at a recent ecumenical gathering, I had the opportunity to speak with a Roman Catholic and a Methodist. When they learned that I was a minister in the Reformed Church in America and had my roots in John Calvin they both rolled their eyes. The Methodist quickly added, "Oh, you are the people who always try to explain everything!" Since this was a conference on spirituality I had a pretty clear idea of what she meant. Unfortunately there is much truth in her statement. We who call ourselves Reformed are prone to validate my Methodist friend's observation. We often exhibit a strong concern for the analytical, intellectual, and cognitive dimension of the faith. Although this concern is absolutely essential, there is the danger that preoccupation with the cerebral aspects of Christianity may cause us to miss its more affective dimensions.

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Experience (Religion); Spiritual life -- Christianity; Reformed Church -- Theology; Devotion; Prayer -- Christianity