Reason #4: My experiences with God have not been in church.

I don’t know that this is a reason to reject any specific religious tradition, but it has made traditional religion of whatever type seem extraneous. As I said in a previous post, most of my God-experiences have not been in church. The one exception I related in an earlier post happened in a Catholic church, but it happened while Mozart’s Requiem Mass, and I attribute what happened to the haunting yet soothing music, not the service.

Examples. One year when I was living in Laramie, Wyoming, I was walking down Grand Avenue. I forget where I was going, because I looked off to the east and saw a massive, ginormous, totally out-of-hand thunderstorm forming in the sky. (If you’ve been out west, you know how those big skies can be suddenly filled with thunderheads that seem miles wide and tall.) I watched this sky as I walked and suddenly I was blocks past where I had been heading, because it was so beautiful yet ominous yet powerful that I couldn’t look away. Somehow, it wasn’t just a thunderstorm, or just clouds, and I was overwhelmed by it, then felt a remarkable sense of peace afterward. I figure that’s God.

Another: I was driving south from Laramie to Colorado on Highway 287 with a friend. (Note the Wyoming connection. Start the pilgrimages!) We had gotten a much later start than expected, and it was both dark and cloudy by the time we got going. Now, there’s a stretch of 287 near the Colorado/Wyoming border that leads through a mountain pass, and all around you are cliffs, low scrub pine, huge boulders, and dropoffs of 40 feet or more right at the edge of the highway. (One of my friends went over one of those dropoffs in an ice storm. She survived, but I don’t know how.) Anyway, I had only travelled this passage in the light before. But now, in the dark, it was looming and strange.

Then the full moon came out from behind the clouds, and this eerie and threatening landscape became magical; bathed in silvery light, it hardly seemed real that we were just driving through it. When my not-overly-emotional friend stopped the car to get something out of her bag, I stood on the edge of one of those dropoffs I mentioned and watched the argent shadows shift over the rocks and trees and even the prosaic two-lane highway. I remember wanting to jump off, not because I was suicidal, but because the only thing this seemed to call for was flight…flight to Something, I don’t even know what. I didn’t speak until we reached Fort Collins, nearly 45 minutes away. I figure that was God too.

Do other people have experiences like this? If so, where and how?


9 Responses to “Reason #4: My experiences with God have not been in church.”

  1. 1 Gary January 31, 2007 at 7:48 am

    I have experiences like that all the time. The other day I was in Starbucks and was watching a dad read a book to his small son who was sitting on the couch next to him. And I felt this sense of being stuck in a divine moment. I was reading my Bible at the same time, and when all this was happening, imperceptably (spelling??) my inside head reading voice changed to another voice and it felt like I was being read to.

    On another note, I read your definition of your agnosticism earlier and pondered a question:
    How much of God do we need to know, in order to follow him?

    The reason that I ask that question is because, given your definition…I am an agnostic too…but I am also a pastor. I think that mystery is ok. There is so much about God that I don’t understand and don’t think that I ever will. But I still believe that I have enough to keep me going, and to point others in a direction.

  2. 2 Alien Drums January 31, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I’m scared. I think I’m too busy. I find myself longing for retirement (even though I like my job) so that I will have time for thinking, reading and writing.

    Writing is one of the ways God has shown Himself to me. It amazes me sometimes how, as I write, a clarity of thought or of question, seldom answers, comes upon me. Maybe it came from my brain, but it doesn’t feel like that; it feels like it came TO my brain.

    Gary, your comment was good also. I think a lot of people would like to have a pastor who thinks like you.

  3. 3 Andrew February 1, 2007 at 4:38 am


    Loved what you wrote. I too have had many experiences like yours – particularly in nature. I remember the first time I looked through a telescope and saw the rings of Saturn … I have never experienced God in a church service in the way I experienced him that night out under the heavens.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. 4 hdolezalek February 2, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks, Andrew, and welcome!

  5. 5 Jason February 3, 2007 at 3:38 am

    I must admit I agree in that “churches” are often thought of as buildings and organized religion, and I would say that if that is your view than good luck ‘finding God’ there…

  6. 6 yolanda ochoa March 7, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    when I go in my bedroom at night and lay down to pray,after prayer there becomes a white light of clouds floating around my body and sometimes enters into my chest it is an amazing feeling and i feel all my prayers have been answered. I can almost see this at will. Some times when I enter my room at night I will see this cloudy matter around my bed I know that I am having a spiritual experience becaUSE MY WHOLE FEELING IS EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE IS BEING HEALED.

  7. 7 kitchen herb garden June 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody?
    This paragraph posted at this site is actually good.

  1. 1 TheGeoffRe(y)port » Miscellaneous Missional Moments Trackback on February 6, 2007 at 2:35 am
  2. 2 Super Omlet: Sorry, Sin, Salvation, The Cross, Emotion, Friends, and Finds…. “Go Bears!” « re-dreaming the dream Trackback on June 27, 2007 at 3:54 am

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