The curse of “rational functionalism”

Writing for the Alban Institute, N. Graham Standish offers a diagnosis for what he believes is ailing the mainline Protestant churches. He calls it “rational functionalism”, by which he means “the idea that we can uncover the mysteries of life and the universe mainly through rational thought and disciplined investigation.”

He adds: “It is the tendency of denominations, their congregations, and their leaders to subscribe to a view of faith and church rooted in a restrictive, logic-bound theology that ignores the possibility of spiritual experiences and miraculous events.”

While I believe that the Episcopal Church undervalues its spiritual heritage, and values action at the expense of contemplation, I am also under the impression that “rational thought and disciplined investigation” are precisely the tools that God has given us to discern the divine will. So I have mixed feelings about this article.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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