Trapped between the spiritual and the religious | Phil Wyman [ANVIL vol 35 issue 2]

Trapped between the spiritual and the religious: lessons from 20th century Pentecostalism

New England is a strange place. It’s a land trapped between new values and old habits.

Phil Wyman

I’ve been living just north of Boston for the last 20 years. In many ways, this strange world in the nation of my origin is further from my birthplace in southern California than it is from the land of my heart, which can be found in the wild mountains and coastline of Wales. There is a peculiar tension between formality and progressive politics, which is nearly impossible for a California boy like myself to understand, and I think offers a snapshot of the paradox that is found in the modern western struggle to connect to the sacred.

“What should I call you?”

Ellen is Jewish, and was the community event organiser for the city of Salem, Massachusetts. The church I had recently started was quickly becoming involved with the month-long Halloween events. Being Jewish, Ellen is an ethnic and religious minority among New England Catholics, Salem neopagans, mainline Protestants and the ever-growing category of those with no religious affiliation.

“You can call me Phil.” Ellen’s face scrunched up with a combination of confusion and frustration.

“No. I mean… should I call you Father, or Reverend… or,” she clumsily rifled through titles, “… minister? What should I call you?”

Looking back, I wish I had chosen a cooler title, because what I said here was going to stick. I could have chosen Friar and sounded like a rowdy monk from medieval tales, or I could have said “Archimandrite”, which I know nothing about, except that it is a particularly cool sounding title. Instead, I chose the least assuming, most gentle, friendly but most common title among American Evangelicals.

“You can call me Pastor, and please call me Pastor Phil. Using my last name is too formal sounding.” From that day forward, Jewish people, Catholics, lapsed Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, pagans, agnostics, atheists and the ever-growing category of “nones” (the religiously non-affiliated) would call me Pastor Phil.

Dan, who was my room-mate for a couple years, is a gentle agnostic soul. Yet even his New England sensibilities required that he call me by my title and my name. Ellen and Dan are just two among the majority of the people in Salem who fall into the impossible space between new values and old habits. Many of them have no formal connection to Christianity, and some, like a rising percentage of the population, never have. Yet, something deep inside drives them to respect the titles of my Christian faith. They simply cannot call me by my first name alone.

I am a Californian, and my informal, surfer-dude, egalitarian ways strain against that formality. Where I come from we are only reminded of these traditional ways when we watch Game of Thrones. Everything about such titles reeks of violence and the abuse of power.

Little did I know, many of the people on the growing list of my friends in Wales and England would suffer this same distant echo of formal respect for the leaders of religion that I found in New England. They often need to address me with a title attached. I am trapped in older cultures that can’t decide if they want the new ways or the old world. And here is the strangest paradox of this tension: the informal new world of California is home to megachurches, and the old world struggles to keep its small churches alive. In fact, the wild west of America is awash with churches the size of small towns. The old world carries echoes of the ancient religious ways in their respect for the formalities, but eschews church attendance as though it were a quaint leftover practice from superstitious days. Meanwhile, the new world mocks the formalities of religion, but those who attend church flock to their supermarkets of faith.

We are all living in the severe cognitive dissonance of our bumbling affiliation with the sacred. We are trapped between the “religious” and the “spiritual”. Problematically, we don’t even know what these words mean anymore, because the definition markers are moving all the time. Yet, perhaps, there is one thing we do know, or think we know: one of these things is less formal than the other.

These tensions between the place of my birth and the land of my heart are a perfect picture of the no man’s land of our souls.

“Religion” has taken on an ominous meaning. Without the descriptive adjective, one automatically assumes “organised” religion, and that term has become anathema. We imagine “Ichabod” scrawled over the pulpits of the “OC”. [1] It reeks of power and money. The gold of towering cathedrals and the passing plates of TV evangelists stand against the poverty of the masses. “Spiritual” has soft and gentle undertones of ocean waves, solitary meditation and feelings of oneness with the universe. We imagine ancient trees, and common folk gathering around the roaring bonfire with a horn of mead. One word carries the grip of compulsion, and the other a freedom from being defined by another’s expectations.

We are spiritual but not religious.

That’s what we tell ourselves, but we don’t really know what it means. And perhaps it doesn’t matter, as long as it isn’t the nun who rapped our knuckles, the priest who abused the children, the evangelical pastor who ran off with the offering and the secretary or the stodgy church leaders who refused to allow women to preach. Terrible things have happened right under the eyes of our religious leaders, and it appears that the word “religion” has taken more of the blame for these terrible things than the perpetrators of the acts themselves. Yet while our friends move away from religion, they have not necessarily thrown the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.

Surveys from both sides of the pond

The movement towards a post-Christian culture has been happening longer and more quickly in the UK than it has in the US. The percentage of people self-defining as “none” in the survey and census data about religion is significantly higher in Great Britain than it is in the United States. In Great Britain, the percentage of people who declare no religious affiliation has grown to nearly half the population. [2] Northern Ireland remains the outlier with only 17 per cent of the people identifying as “none”. [3] In the United States things look significantly different. According to the newly released 2018 General Social Survey from the University of Chicago, those identifying as “no religion” now equals the percentages of Evangelicals and Catholics. It is essentially a statistical tie between Catholics, Evangelicals and those declaring “no religion”, each hovering near 23 per cent of the population. [4]

With the US and Northern Ireland statistically lagging behind England, Scotland and Wales in what has been seen as the growing secularisation of culture, they have something to learn about this movement towards religious disaffiliation. It may be that where the UK and western Europe have already gone, they will be going soon enough. Yet statistical information and studies coming from the US may likewise give us a live read on how the UK got to where it is now, and how we might be able to adjust to the still-changing dynamics of a post-Christian culture. Lessons are to be had in both directions.

One of the more enlightening studies on this subject was recently released by Harvard and Indiana University Bloomington. The study highlighted what it called “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion”. Despite the fast growth in the number of people in the US who no longer identify with a religion, the research pinpointed more specifically than previous studies who these “nones” are. The percentage of the population identifying as strongly affiliated and devoted religious followers remained consistent from 1990 to 2015. Prayer, attendance and volunteering were measured. Those who showed the greatest devotion appear to be attending church as faithfully as always and their numbers have not changed. Unsurprisingly, the number of people who were less devoted in their spiritual practices, and yet still attended church on occasion, was dropping in equal proportion to the rise of the religiously unaffiliated. [5]

What we learn from this study is the same thing we already have come to expect about the politics of our nations: the middle is disappearing. People and their opinions are being radicalised. Just as the rise of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump signal a dangerous polarisation of politics, the disappearing middle on opinions about religion signals an intensified polarisation of the secular versus religious debate and a rising distrust of churches and church leaders.

Who then is growing, or at least not declining?

With the diminishing population of people identifying with Christian churches across the western world, the one group that appears immune to this drop in attendance is the Pentecostal movement. Wherever they are, they are growing. In developing countries this growth is often phenomenal, but even in the US and UK they are still growing incrementally while other Christian churches are losing members. [6]

Interestingly, Evangelicals and Pentecostals (who should be considered a subcategory of Evangelicalism) were way ahead of the game in their disaffiliation with “religion”. They appeared to reject “religion” in a group movement decades ago. Pentecostals were already rejected by the traditional churches in their initial appearance at the turn of the twentieth century. The Jesus People Movement (the late 1960s and 1970s charismatic hippie Christian revival) emphasised that they were not interested in religion, but a relationship with Jesus. This was a counterculture anti-establishment movement that ran hand in hand with the trends of the times. They supposedly found Christian spirituality without religion. Their emphasis on relational and often ecstatic experience was an insightful and timely prophetic act tracking with the rise of neopaganism and New Age spiritualities, which similarly began their wild revival in the late 1960s. The hippies did not do this because they were astute students of the cultural distortions of the time. Rather, it was a spontaneous activity of passion for divine experience. Now, over decades these hippies have melted into Evangelical churches.

If Harvard theologian Harvey Cox, and the late Boston University sociologist of religion Peter Berger are correct, it is not religion but secularisation that is on its last gasp of life in our world. Both men were early adopters of the secularisation theory of religion, but later turned away from this position as they watched the world become more religious. As Berger saw it, only western academia and western Europe moved against this trend. Peter Berger begins his landmark book, The Desecularization of the World, with a critique of a massive tome that was part of the Fundamentalism Project funded by the MacArthur Foundation: The concern that must have led to this Project was based on an upside-down perception of the world, according to which “fundamentalism” (which, when all is said and done, usually refers to any sort of passionate religious movement) is a rare, hard-toexplain thing. But a look either at history or at the contemporary world reveals that what is rare is not the phenomenon itself but knowledge of it. The difficult-to-understand phenomenon is not Iranian mullahs but American university professors—it might be worth a multi-million-dollar project to try to explain that!

My point is that the assumption that we live in a secularized world is false. The world today, with some exceptions to which I will come presently, is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever. This means that a whole body of literature by historians and social scientists loosely labelled “secularization theory” is essentially mistaken. [7]

Berger and Cox have highlighted the rise of Pentecostalism as evidence that it is not only Islam, but Christianity as well, that continues to grow across the world. Often, it is also Pentecostalism’s subversive little sister – the charismatic movement – that supplies the somewhat rare examples of growing churches in the shrinking mainline denominations.

In the UK, the British New Church Movement has experienced strong growth, and the Nigerian-based Redeemed Christian Church of God is reversing the traditional missionary pattern by planting new churches across the UK. [8]

What can we learn from the Pentecostals?

These observations are not meant to be an apologetic for Pentecostal Christianity. Yes, I was a pastor in the world’s fourth largest Pentecostal denomination for 20 years, and I have seen wonderful things happening in the spirit-filled circles, but I have also seen the dark underbelly of religion in the halls of Pentecostal power. Each Christian tradition has its strengths and its weaknesses. Consequently, there are positive takeaways from the continued rise of Pentecostal Christianity. Yet there are also warnings, and we would do well to heed both. I can only highlight a few points below, but I believe these are applicable to the developing spirituality in much of our post-Christian culture.

The first takeaway: people desire direct personal spiritual experience

A number of years ago, I met the late NPR (US National Public Radio) correspondent and pagan leader Margot Adler. I am fairly well known in pagan circles for a Christian pastor, due to my location in Salem, Massachusetts, and my work among witches, Druids and assorted neopagans. She asked what kind of church I pastored, and when I said that I pastored a church in a Pentecostal denomination, she responded enthusiastically.

“Excellent! People need ecstasy.”

Access to ecstatic experience has been part of the rise of neopaganism. When I first began to study the small but fast-growing movement, I identified many of the participants as what I called “mystical agnostics”. They loved this descriptor, because they did not have a definition for deity, and often felt that defining the divine was impossible, but this lack of definition did not preclude ecstatic experiences with spiritual power. It is not only neopaganism that grasps for ecstatic spiritual experience; even the well-known, and aggressively anti-religious atheist Sam Harris has recently written a book that is a guide to atheist spirituality. [9] Although he would deny it, he appears to be inching ever so slowly towards that even smaller category of pagans I met in my studies who were “mystical atheists”.

Burning Man, Electric Forest, Boom, Rainbow Serpent, and Sunrise Celebration in Herefordshire are just a few of the many festivals focused upon ecstatic experience and personal transformation. If this is a world giving up on religion, they are having a difficult time proving that they are uninterested in the ecstatic experience with the divine that has been the hallmark of religion since the dawn of humanity.

The churches and movements within Christianity that have emphasised personal experience with God have tended to be growing groups. They de-emphasised rules and formal liturgies and pursued ecstatic experience with Christ, and it appears the evidence is in – people are still finding God in those circles.

The second takeaway: passion is contagious

Pentecostalism has revivalist and reconstructionist DNA. It seeks to reconstruct the activities and the patterns of the early church as found in the Book of Acts, and specifically emphasises the Baptism with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as described in the second chapter. It is revivalist in the sense that excitement and passion for God is perceived as necessary to the experience of God. The Pentecostal believer is regularly called back to their passion for God. Without this passion, Pentecostal church life would be considered dead, because God is found when people seek with their whole heart.

The weakness of this search for excitement is that it too easily falls into the trap of becoming an empty show of emotion, and yet one cannot deny the inherent power of being passionate for something. Passion is contagious.

The Pentecostal experience describes renewed passion as “revival”, which is seen as the highest goal of our spirituality. When revival occurs, people begin to pray with passion. They are renewed in their obedience to God. Churches grow, and salvation begins to spread among those who do not believe. This is how Pentecostals view the world. It is a simple view of church growth and evangelism, but if proof is truly in the pudding, then they have been eating from the deepest dish through the twentieth century. A movement that started on the stroke of midnight coming into the last century now makes up, along with its charismatic counterpart, one in four Christians worldwide. [10]

No matter how we feel about the movement, or whether we identify with the high-octane emotional experience of Pentecostalism, the facts speak for themselves – people around the world appear to want their religion to be experiential, passionate, and simultaneously practical. This has been the hallmark of Pentecostalism. Even in more intellectual environments, where Christianity is perceived as a dying irrelevant holdover from backwards days, the passionate primal cries of our ancient faith are still drawing people into the fold.

The third takeaway: being prophetic does not mean either secularisation or hyper-spiritualisation

This point highlights one of the topics I struggle with most. There has been wild social distortion in our cultures over the last 60 years, and the response of the church to adapt appropriately has been clumsy at best. For this reason the topic of the prophetic demands both praise and correction.

Pentecostalism holds a robust view of the prophetic. It falls into both ecstatic and intellectual categories.

With the ecstatic, God predominantly speaks through individuals to individuals. This is similar to the words of knowledge given by Jesus to the woman at the well, [11] or the descriptions of church gatherings in 1 Cor. 14. The leadership of the church similarly makes prophetic annunciations concerning the life and state of the church – sometimes concerning the nation and the world. Traditionally the words directed to regional settings have been related to topics such as promises of revival among the nations. From time to time these parameters are exceeded, and the prophetic begins to resemble the dreams of Daniel.

In one focus of the prophetic, Pentecostal Christianity has tapped into the desires of the postmodern human. The personally prophetic element of speaking hope, love, life correction and reiterating the caring heart of God to seeking individuals cannot be understated for its power. In my work in festival settings across the US and UK, it is often the Pentecostal/charismatic Christian who seems to fit so well into the weirdest places. Burners, pagans, hippies, Dirty Kids, travellers and all sorts of people from all sorts of subculture groups, young and old, fall in love with these crazy charismatic ministers.

Of course, I cannot neglect the warning of falling into a cold reading-based, [12] platitude-filled gospel. Our airwaves have been drowned by the pretentious manipulation of TV evangelists. But with nonprofessional spirit-filled people simply wanting to serve God outside the church walls, I have seen crowds in the US and the UK fall in love with them. The cynics are surprisingly few, which gives anecdotal evidence for the fact that people are indeed remaining interested in spiritual things even as they throw off what they define as “religion”.

So, although the ecstatic approach to hearing God for other people carries the potential pitfall of looking like mediumship fakery, caring enough to seek God on behalf of other people represents the place of the priest or the shaman that people are looking for today. The amazing beauty of non-professional spirit-filled Christians serving in the festivals is that they encourage people to seek God for themselves, and thereby bring Luther’s call for a priesthood of all believers to fruition. Average Christians are being priests and prophets for seekers in the festival world, and they are passing that forward by calling others into a life of ministry.

Although personal prophecy carries elements of danger, the greater problem I see with the prophetic is occurring in response to politics and social change in our world. The US takes the lead for speaking about the political world and cultural movements while falling into hypocrisy when doing so. This hypocrisy is most evident on the right, but we would be remiss not see it on the left as well.

By the time we begin to speak to the social movements of our time, and believe that we are “speaking truth to power”, we are typically only joining or responding critically to already popular movements in secular culture. These are the moments when Christianity critiques itself for being out of touch with the changing social norms. Problematically, the critique often does not recognise the power inversion occurring in the cultural shift. Thus we become supporters of one group of people to the exclusion of another. One Christian supports progressive social movement to the exclusion of old-fashioned conservatives, and another supports conservatives to the exclusion of progressive or liberal thought. In a movement that should be a family for all nations, the fact that we create categories of exclusion and consider it prophetic annunciation is a discouraging development. Instead of turning “the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents”, [13] we are using the prophetic to divide houses. Perhaps Jesus would rebuke us as he did his disciples by saying, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of.” [14] In a season of polarisation, we have entered into the politics of separation rather than the ministry of reconciliation. This trend between secularising and conservative Christianity looks strangely familiar to the space between the religious and the spiritual.

The prophetic demands that we identify with the struggles of the broken, and yet are willing to critique the uses of selfish power, small and large, on both sides of every argument. This is the place Foucault’s observation on the uses of power challenges us to think beyond left and right to discover right and wrong on both sides of the polarising issues of our time.

Conservative Evangelical and Pentecostal churches have demonised the left and progressive churches have demonised the right, and there is no place in the middle. American churches show this divided tension with our presidential choices and UK church members are as divided over Brexit as the rest of the nation. [15] We are divided on issues of climate change, sexuality and gender, immigration, national identity, education, social programs for the poor and almost any topic that might require a vote. We have somehow lost the capability of merging the prophetic with the reconciling power of the gospel.

Ministering with the eyes of an exile

I was not raised in a Christian church tradition. The culture of American Christianity was unfamiliar to me. I was isolated by the world of competitive swimming that consumed many of the hours I didn’t spend in school. Purity culture, the revivalism of Pentecostal Christianity, the rise of the religious right and the tension of hippies coming to Jesus were all foreign to me.

I stepped into Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity in 1980 at the age of 21, and I entered it without the cultural trappings of someone raised with expectations of how one ought to behave in church. God was new and wild to me, and I suppose that meant I was new and wild to the church. I saw the culture of American Christianity through the eyes of an outsider, and somehow never lost those eyes.

Today I look back at 32 years of pastoring with the same outsider’s eyes, and I bring new eyes as well. Having spent almost 25 of those years as a friend to witches and assorted neopagans, I can see the church through their eyes. Having been kicked out of a denomination for befriending witches, [16] I also see the religious world through the eyes of an exile.

The eyes of exile may be the most important eyes any of us can bring to the prophetic table. We serve an exiled messiah from an exiled nation that rejected him. Christianity thrives in the cracks of exile. When it seeks to compliment and sustain the halls of power it soon falls into the trap of polarisation and hypocrisy. That is when it takes sides in our broken world and makes enemies out of the very mission field we are called to serve. But the position of the exile is able to look back at former dwelling places with the balanced combination of yearning and critique. Postcolonial theorist Edward Said thought of exile as something that provided someone with the eyes of a new perspective:

[W]hat is it that exile affords you…?… the essential privilege of exile is to have, not just one set of eyes, but half a dozen, each of them corresponding to the places you have been. [17]

The Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers hermeneutic

Along with my informal California insensibilities, I picked up a radical approach to Christianity that borders on the insane. I identify with the Desert Fathers and Mothers much more than I do with my adopted American Pentecostalism. I have found the ultimate exiled expression in their ancient expression of the faith.

My approach to morality is old-fashioned, but I want my approach to the other to come without judgement or expectation. If you are not a Christian, I do not expect you to live by the rules of the book I follow. And here’s the tension of living in this space of the Desert Father hermeneutics: much of the prophetic today tends to focus upon polarising identificational politics and expects me to pick a side. The Desert Fathers and Mothers, and even Jesus himself, did not identify with party politics. They appear to have been equal opportunity critics – praising and correcting all sides with equal fervency. Jesus shows his equal opportunity critical approach with his simultaneous condemnation of Herod, the Sanhedrin Jewish leaders with their liberal theology and a stranglehold on Temple life, and the Pharisees with their strict theology and the stifling of the common Jew’s spirituality.

Strangely, Jesus’ most severe critique appears to have been pointed towards those who were closest to his theological position. His regular mention of the Pharisees comes across as an insider’s house cleaning job. The Pharisees would later go on to save Judaism from complete eradication. It was these devoted men who kept the synagogue system alive in their centuries of exile. Jesus’ severe critique of those whose doctrine most closely aligned with his views is a model for church leadership and defines the political side of the prophetic ministry of the church. It should be self-correcting, and simultaneously reconciling towards disagreeing parties outside the faith in as much as it is possible.

Even though the growth of Pentecostal faith groups has been a model for all the church through the twentieth century, the trend is slowing and may be coming to an end in western countries. I would contend that this is due to the fact that they have moved away from their own strengths. The passion for God and the apolitical prophetic annunciations of love, healing and acceptance have given way to patronising the powers that be. Perhaps we have all come to the place for which the Apostle John reprimanded the Ephesian church in the Book of Revelation. Could it be that we have left our “first love”? [18]

This is the struggle for Christian religious experience in every generation. Every generation must experience God for itself. Every generation must cultivate its own passion for God, and every generation must find the balance between holding firmly to the ancient truths of the faith and adapting to the cultural movements of the times in which they live.

Christians living today have an added battle to wage in seeking to rediscover growth for the church: the struggle for defining “religious” and “spiritual” is a semantic battle that appears to have been lost. And now, even for Evangelicals and Pentecostals who were early adopters of this trend against “religion”, there is a growing sense among all Christians that the battle lines have been redrawn against us. People see us agreeing with them that “religion” is a bad thing. This draws them into the dialogue and elicits embryonic tremors of trust. Then we try to invite them to church. The contradiction is not lost on them. I believe that we must slowly regain a positive definition for “religion”. Until we do so, to say that we are “spiritual but not religious” while we invite people to our religious institutions will be an increasingly difficult tightrope to walk in the winds of powerful cultural change. No matter how hard we try to appear to be non-religious, we are still Christians, and followers of the messiah. People know this, and they will accept us for who we are, or they will live in the intellectually violent polarisation of our times. We may have shot ourselves in the foot decades back by adopting the anti-religious terminology for our faith. Fortunately there are people like William Cavanaugh and Karen Armstrong doing some of the hard semantic work for us. [19, 20]

The fact that the word “religion” continues to be viewed in a negative light creates a problem, but it also creates an opportunity for us. The opportunity is that it allows us to chase after the relational, passionate and prophetic elements of our faith without the historic trappings many people have rejected. But, along the way, we may well be in need of slogging through the trenches of the semantic battle for our “religion”.

Phil Wyman is a pastor, author, musician, songwriter, poet, wannabe philosopher, creator of interactive “blank canvas social art”. He is also the general instigator in a movement looking to become a revolution of Christians establishing micro-churches in festivals in the US and UK. As a pastor of 32 years, he spent 18 years as the pastor of The Gathering in Witch City (Salem, Massachusetts). He is currently travelling full time, speaking and ministering in festivals and destinations like Haunted Happenings in Salem, Burning Man, Glastonbury, and Rainbow Gatherings. He speaks Welsh, and when in the US travels with Priscilla – a 27-year-old Winnebago.

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Notes

[1] “Organised Church” (OC) is a term used by the house church movement to describe denominations and non-denominational larger church groups.
[2] Harriet Sherwood, “Nearly 50% are of no religion – but has UK hit ‘peak secular’?” The Guardian, 14 May 2017, accessed 1 May 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/13/uk-losing-faith-religion-young-reject-parents-beliefs.
[3] “Revealed: New figures on religious breakdown in Northern Ireland – Working age Protestants drop by 14%” Belfast Telegraph Digital, 31 January 2019, accessed 1 May 2019, https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/revealed-new-figures-on-religiousbreakdown-in-northern-ireland-working-age-protestants-drop-by-14-37769786.html.
[4] Neil Monahan and Saeed Ahmed, “There are now as many Americans who claim no religion as there are evangelicals and Catholics, a survey finds,” CNN, 26 April 2019, accessed 1 May 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/13/us/no-religion-largest-group-first-time-usa-trnd/index.html. Statistical information on Evangelicalism is lower than the actual percentages, because black Pentecostals are grouped in the Black Protestant category rather than the Evangelical category.
[5] Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock, “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research,” Sociological Science 4 (Nov 2017), 686–700, accessed 6 May 2019, https://www.sociologicalscience.com/download/vol-4/november/SocSci_ v4_686to700.pdf.
[6] Atlas of Pentecostalism, accessed 7 May 2019, http://www.atlasofpentecostalism.net/cartography/ item/0fd288150e92583bc9c1b4bd7ffeeaf9.
[7] Peter L. Berger (ed.), The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2008), Kindle edition, Kindle Locations 78–82.
[8] Ruth Gledhill, “How reverse missionaries built the UK’s fastest-growing church,” Christian Today, 5 June 2014, accessed 5 May. 2019, https://www.christiantoday.com/article/how-reverse-missionaries-built-the-uks-fastest-growing-church/37894.htm.
[9] Sam Harris, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015).
[10] “Christian Movements and Denominations,” Pew Research Center, 19 December 2011, accessed 5 May 2019, https://www.pewforum. org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-movements-and-denominations/.
[11] John 4:4–42.
[12] “Cold reading”, Wikipedia, last modified 30 April 2019, accessed 14 May 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading.
[13] Mal. 4:6.
[14] Luke 9:55 (KJV).
[15] Erasmus, “British Christians are as divided by Brexit as everybody else,” The Economist, 9 April 2019, accessed 5 May 2019, https://www. economist.com/erasmus/2019/04/09/british-christians-are-as-divided-by-brexit-as-everybody-else.
[16] Suzanne Sataline, “Befriending Witches Is Still a Problem In Salem, Mass.,” The Wall Street Journal, 31 October 2016, accessed 17 May 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB116225928137808417.
[17] Phil Wyman, Burning Religion: navigating the impossible space between religion and secular society (Createspace, 2015), Kindle edition, Kindle Locations 3896–3898.
[18] Rev. 2:4 (KJV).
[19] William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
[20] Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014).

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